Tuesday, March 9, 2010

It Never Always Gets Worse

Last night should have been a very slow recovery run. I was still stiff from trail runs on Saturday and Sunday. It was one of those runs where within the first 5 minutes you are hurting and think maybe I should just turn back. There is a however a popular phrase in ultrarunning that you can say to yourself when it gets tough, “It never always gets worse.” On this night, it got much better. Somehow, in subtle ways, I started feeling better and better. 30 minutes later I am running in the muddy ditch on the side of the road, charging up a hill and feeling like I could go for hours. 5 miles later I was feeling much better than when I stepped out the door.

I had a breakthrough moment in my form on this run. I’m always looking for the most efficient form. When you really tune in, you can feel how different movements make running feel more or less effortless. I was envisioning a string pulling my head and spine upright. With a very slight lean forward, I felt my center of gravity being pushed forward and all I had to do was flick my legs forward with the help of my hip flexors. It was a total chi running moment. If you have ever had pain from running or been interested in a healthier form, check this out: Chi Running. The test will be to see if I can duplicate this feeling on my next run.

Because of the fast run last night, today really should be a slow day. Slow on the bike and no running was the plan. Recovery is as important as the workout. However, I noticed as I spun away from the house this morning that the pedals were turning far too easily compliments of a sweet tail wind. It’s hard to ride slowly when it is so easy to get up to speed. Then I found a truck just beginning to accelerate that I could duck in behind and draft. Then there was traffic that held him below 30 and let me stay with him if I just pushed a little harder. Soon my legs were burning and I was gasping for more air and I began quickly realizing I had turned another workout, that should have been recovery, into a full on anaerobic threshold test.

Maybe I’ll slow down on the way home tonight.

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