Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Challenging Yourself

When I was playing rugby, my dad once told me that to be a good player you had to play with better players. I followed his advice and joined a very strong local team which made me work and train hard in order to force my way into the team. The end result was that I played representative rugby that I most certainly would not have if I had joined another less competitive team.

The same thing applies to running - if you want to get better then you sometimes need to challenge yourself. I do this on Monday nights with two of my fast road friends, and I do it on my Saturday long runs when I do 10-12 miles by myself and then run with my group and challenge myself to stay the pace (and sometimes bait them into running a few bonus miles). So far it works because I'm hitting negative splits from most of my long runs (finally, a useful application for stupid male pride) and getting plenty of practice at pushing it on tired legs.

Tonight I ran hills with my road group. I've really been knocking these back this year and did 16 repeats tonight (10 forwards and another 6 backwards). The funny thing is that these were hard last year, but I'm feeling very strong on them this year, in large part because I've been running hills for months (sometimes with Gavin on my shoulders). One of the big rules is to only do hill repeats once a week, and some of the other coaches castigated me for running hill repeats 2 nights in a row last week. But the truth is that they really aren't that hard, I'm not sore afterwards, and I'm not training for a marathon (in fact, I'm not following the RRFit schedule at all). I believe that you know your own limits and this is why I fall firmly into the trail runner's mentality. I don't like following rules just for the sake of it, and if I feel it's right for me I'm damn well going to do it. I have the 100k at Bandera in January and I may be pacing a mate at Cactus Rose in a few weeks so I need the hill practice. I think I may just go back and do them again tomorrow.

Finally, a big "thank you" to Jeff and Diana for recommending their local "Spiz" dealer. They were really friendly, I got a great price and I'm going to experiment with it this weekend. A second big "thank you" to Diana for rescuing the handheld I accidentally left behind at the Trail Twister.

1 comment:

johnt said...

Hey mate,

If you wanta pace me at Cactus, that would be awesome! I wanta run a 24hr race. Probably wont be able to do it alone. Your pops was right. And the "schedule" , I have been lifting weights for 17 or 18 years i didnt follow a "schedule" or training plan. Life, running, lifting, whatever, its about action. Do something, and do it either better, faster, harder, heavier every time.

You are on the money man!!