I took a couple of days off of running on Monday and Tuesday this week. I just felt like I was over doing the running. I was horribly tired on Sunday. I know I had just run a very strong race and Sunday is also my busiest day of the week, but that is when I always run races and the busyness never gets any easier. I was just run down.
I did not even get out of bed on Monday to call my running partner and tell him I was not going to be able to make it. I left instructions for my wife to call him as I planned to sleep in. I rested Monday and had no desire at all to run.
Tuesday I thought about doing a very easy run, but just did not feel motivated.
Today, Wednesday, I met my running partner and he started into his regular diatribe about how he feels like he is not improving. He took a few weeks off while I was away on my trip to the US and he thinks that now he is not doing as well as he was before. (We have this conversation just about every time we run). I try to convince him we are running 20 to 30 seconds per mile faster now than we were before. He refuses to believe that running slower will also mean he can run further and longer. Because Ryan Hall runs marathons at 4:45-5:00 per mile, my running friend feels like he is being lazy if he does not do 6:00 per mile himself. As much as I try to convince him that he is not going to be able to compete with Ryan Hall when he has only been running less than 6 months, he just does not hear it.
But, miracle of miracles, he decided to keep a slower pace and run with me today instead of ahead of me. We ran at a 9:18 pace instead of the 8:40 he wants to run. When we had been going at it for 29 minutes he asked me how far we had run. I told him the time and that I thought we had run about 3.2 miles. He was surprised that we had run that long and far. It is one of the longest runs we have done in the last several weeks. And we weren’t even worn out. Surprise! Running a bit slower really is helpful.
Did he learn anything? I don’t think so. He will take this experience today and probably feel guilty that we ran so slow. I say this because he then pushed the pace up to a normal speed for the next 7 minutes to finish the run.
Why don’t I just let him run at his pace and I run mine? Often I do. We start together and by the time we are done I am many blocks behind him.
We are going to run a race together in 2 weeks. It will be his first race. I am going to go for an 8:00 pace and try to kill him at the end.
Thursday is normally my long run day or speed work day. I run alone on that day. But tomorrow will be another day off for me. I still need a bit of a break.
One thought on “Running break”
You’re so right about the slower mileage. Lydiard thought that the slower mileage gave a better base, that would help your running in the future.
I have seen that plateau before… my theory is that it’s the period where the body is making the change (i.e. shifting gears) to get faster. Unfortunately, it comes with a few “more” bad days of running and the greater potential for injury. But once you are through, you start to see an improvement.