I don’t like new year resolutions for, I feel, they are doomed for failure; how many people have you seen joining gyms or starting running as resolution for a healthier New Year to then forget about it in little over a week?
But as year begins, it’s nice to sit down and look at a global training plan for the year, and with a tendinitis I can’t do more than that right now.
This year I’ll plan my training based on three points:
- consistency and speed
- more races
- no marathons
I was waiting for a friend somewhere near the Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris. I landed in Charles de Gaulle just a couple of hours before and, standing at the traffic light, I was reading The Marathon: A Race Too Far? on the July/August issue of Running Times. The subtitle is it time to get over the marathon? provokingly sets the motif and general guideline of the article: should I consider to take a break from marathoning?
For quite some time, I kept going back to the idea of taking a year off from marathon races. After the New York City Marathon, I was eager to get back to race a better and faster marathon and hopefully to qualify for Boston, but as training months were adding to training months I was beginning to think that something was amiss. The accent on marathon training is always (or at least often) volume and speed is sometimes added as an afterthought; also, marathon recovery is long, and despite knowing people who can run multiple races within weeks, I better stick with no more than a marathon per year.
If I think about it, my own approach to racing has been all backwards; elites and professional runners start with short races, 5k’s and 10k’s, build speed and then switch to long distance, half’s and marathons. Like many amateur runners who began racing in their 30’s, I started right away with marathons and then work my way down. In doing so I believe the risk of injury is higher and speed is sacrificed in the name of high volume training. These thoughts were coming back and again, and in a way not qualifying for Boston this year was a blessing in disguise; if I had, I would have started training and bumped the weekly mileage in the 50~70 range quite soon. Not having to worry to be able to finish 26.2 miles, I now can take much smaller steps, being more consistent and — once the Achilles is resolved — work on speed with more constancy and frequency.
Adding miles more steadily and linearly, I might also be able to race more often in shorter distances, and the area blossoms of local 5k’s and 10k’s. To non-runners shorter races sound easy, but they can be as exhausting (if not more) than a marathon, and recovering from them is no longer than a couple of days: they can be raced with just a week apart and don’t affect training much.
Let’s hope to resolve the injuries quickly to get back on track, both figuratively and literally; 2011 will be prime and it is prime.