Going Through the Motions: February’s Training Journal

Passion. Inspiration. Drive. Excitement. Motivation. Why do I feel none of this?

I have a confession: my running is not where it should be. During the last month, I neglected the little things like core exercises, sleep, a good diet, and flexibility work.

I enjoyed a few more beers than was reasonable and spent an unhealthy amount of time sitting on my ass. My motivation to train was low and I took the easy route with every sore muscle or inconvenience: I cut my runs short, skipped workouts, and just went through the motions.

That’s no way to train.

The launch of Run Your BQ definitely took its toll on my energy and ability to train. Starting a new website is a huge endeavor, especially with all of the content we provide. It’s not like a blog where you can add periodically over time.

But enough excuses. Let’s look at the training and see how my month went.

February in Review: Prepare to be Underwhelmed

I ran 247 miles in February, which actually isn’t that bad when you consider that the month only has 29 days and I took one of them off. My typical training week has no full rest days – instead, I do a short recovery run at an easy pace on Fridays. My average week was 59 miles, enough to get me over 3,000 for the year.

February’s workouts were a mixed bag – good, but not at the length or intensity that I was originally aiming for. Starting from the beginning of the month, I ran:

  • 13 mile progression run in 85′, splitting 44:50 out and 40:10 back
  • 20′ tempo run + 5 x 1′ hills at half-marathon pace (jog down recovery – trail hill)
  • 9 x 45 – 75″ fartlek (4 reps uphill)
  • 13 mile progression run in 89′, splitting 46:10 out and 42:50 back
  • 4 x 800m + 2 x 400m track workout @ 5k and faster pace

My goal in February was to follow a progression of faster workouts mixed with good old fashioned aerobic workouts. Unfortunately the  3k – 8k paced workouts took a hit because of my lack of motivation and a few days of being sore. I’m not as “fast” as I think I should be at this stage in my running and my race times in the coming few weeks might reflect that. Plus, I haven’t started doing hill sprints even though I’ve been meaning to for weeks.

I only did one real long run in February – a 17 miler in 1:56. Pushing the pace on this long run made my IT band tight and like an idiot, I trained through it. The following week I had to cut my long run a few miles short because it was uncomfortably tight. After a few days of running easy (sometimes, that’s all you need), I was back to normal.

There’s no harm in taking a few days of easy running – even when you have other workouts planned. It’s much better to sacrifice a few miles now than many miles later.

February’s Gear Review

This month marks a few changes: an updated ASICS Speedstar and my reintroduction to racing flats.

The Speedstars have been my main training shoe for years. They’re a great introductory minimalist shoe for runners who want to dabble with a less supportive shoe – with virtually no arch support and weighing 8.9 ounces, they’re a great starter shoe for aspiring minimalists.

I wear them for long runs and most of my maintenance runs throughout the week. After five revisions, the shoe still has the benefits that initially drew me to it: light but not too light, support but no bulk, and little arch support. The one update that the Speedstar 5 has that I love is the revised upper: a thinner tongue so the upper doesn’t feel as thick. I’d rate this shoe a 9 out 10 if you’re looking for a semi-lightweight, neutral trainer.

The next update: my training has lacked racing flats so that’s changing! I recently bought the Nike Zoom Streak XC (which can be used for road racing), a 5.5 ounce racing flat that I wore for the 2 x 400m part of my last workout. Running fast with minimalist shoes engages muscles that I forgot existed – plus, it reinforces better running form.

March will see a lot more workouts in racing flats in addition to races. The goal is to model my training more closely with what I did in college: flats three times per week in workouts and races. The Streak XC flats also have a waffle sole that works well on the track or road even in wet weather so I know I’ll get great use out of these over the next few months.

To supplement my running in flats (and potentially track spikes for workouts), I want to do at least one weekly session of barefoot strides. Rock Creek Park is not a good place for barefoot work if you want smooth grass. There are far too many rocks, acorns, and sticks to make them comfortable. Instead, I’ll use either local soccer fields or synthetic turf fields for my barefoot work.

Upcoming Goals and a Race!

My biggest goal for March is to get back my mojo and start running again. I mean, really run. But more important than just my mileage, workouts, and strength work, I need to get excited again.

I need to get jacked up about running. First, I’m going to inspire myself every day to get pumped. Here’s where I’ll start:

Yes, I realize it’s weird to read my own website.

Besides the daily pump-up, I need to start racing again. I typically put too much pressure on myself to perform well so I only race when I know I’m in very good shape. This Spring and early Summer, I’m going to change that: I want to race frequently no matter my fitness.

That starts on March 11 at the St. Patrick’s Day 8k in downtown DC. I finished 11th last year after going out fast in 5:03 for the first mile. In fact, my 5k split of 16:14 was only 12 seconds slower than my personal best from the track! I’m hoping for a solid race in the 26:30 range if things go well.

If you’re planning on being there, shoot me a note and we can meet up after the race!

Until then, stay excited about running and enjoy your training.

Maybe you need a fresh pot?

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