I guess I decided to take it easy this week. I knew I'd have Sunday off after Saturday's race, but I realize I needed to give my body a bit longer to recover than I typically want to. I dislike admitting I need more rest and I hate admitting I need more strength and flexibility exercise, but of course I do. Frankly, I think my greatest need is a training partner who'll push me to stretch, roll, and strengthen.
I did my typical eight miles down the river to the Upper West Side on Monday at a feel-good 7:44 pace. Yeah, 7:44 felt great the whole time, but it was careless to go out this fast two days after the half marathon. I trade on the fact that I've never been injury prone, but I know this will catch up with me eventually. I can't overstate how devastating it would be for me to get injured; I must keep that in mind when I'm itching to push myself harder.
To that end, I am forcing more structure into my weekly routine. For me, this means discrete tempo days, speed days, long-run days, easy days, and rest days. The logic of this is plain enough, but for some reason it's hard for me to shift from "run your tail off" to "run with the goal of getting faster." I already know I can run farther than I'll ever need to, now I need to set some training targets and work methodically towards them. I know a coach would help with that, but I kind of need to tackle this stage on my own. For all the miles I run and enjoyment I get out of them, I'm still basically just playing at training. I feel like I'll know when I'm close to doing all I can on my own; I can seek out a coach when I feel like I've implemented what I've learned from former coaches and experience. For now it just means being smarter about my miles. And I'm trying. I'm trying.
It was a fun week with the Inwood Hill Runners. Tuesday is designated speed-workout night and we played a movie-guessing game as we did our pole-counting laps around the field. It was collegial and fun and certainly added to the camaraderie in the group. NYC was walloped by another damned snowstorm from Wednesday to Thursday morning and IHR's typical Thursday loop was replaced by a sledding adventure in Fort Tryon park. I banged up my tailbone pretty good yesterday playing in the snow with my daughter and her friends, so sledding felt like some kind of crazy torture on my body, but it was fun to see the group just goofing around. (Some good sledders, by the way. Maybe we should form a toboggan team. I can provide cheering support.)
My goal today is to piece together a real training calendar for the next eight weeks. My next race of significance is the Colon Cancer 15k at the end of March. I think eight weeks is sufficient to set and achieve a moderately ambitious goal. I'll wait to set that goal until I see how this week progresses, but I already kind of have my heart set on 1:04 (pretty much a seven minute pace). I think I'll know soon how realistic that will turn out to be.