running, running. Everything seems to be about running right now. And here I am meandering through 45 min – 1 hour slooooow runs alternated with 1-2 our long walks. But I’ve been listening to runners podcasts, I’ve been reading runners blogs, I’ve been daydreaming about training.
Perhaps its time to get a little bit more serious about running. I need a training plan and something to train for maybe? But that’s difficult since I’m not going to be around for long. What if I just train..to train? I’ve been lingering at this beginner level of “runner” for a few years now and it’s been great. My hour long easy cardio jogs keep me sane and, more than that, bring me joy. But I want to improve and I haven’t seen much of that, simply because I haven’t really pushed myself. Since I began running the goal was simply to do it without judging my speed or technique or even distance. I knew, at the time, I needed something that was just good without any kind of achievement involved, something akin to a yoga practice. But now I want more.
Its true that the only way to run more is to run more and the only way to run faster is to run faster and in doing either consistently your threshold raises (or at least this is what seems logical to me at the level of amateur. If I were going to pay for a coach to mould me into professional runner status it would be more complex). So, to keep things simple for myself I’m only going to focus on one of those goals each time I run. I can either run faster or run more but not in the same run 🙂 Man, I’ve got to find a different word for “run”, it’s being way overused in this post. But you get the idea.
I call this the cave-man running plan, because really if it were any more basic it’d be in picture form:
1. run 5-6 days a week
2. 1/2 of those runs will be extended time runs = over an hour (I’m going to start with 1:20min and go up from there)
3. 1/2 of those runs will be speed runs = tempo runs of 30 min
4. 1-2 days a week I can do long walks instead of running
I used to think I ran and exercised because I thought I had to to be thin. I’ve worked out for as long as I can remember, in some form or other. Long slow cardio has been my thing since I was a kid. I can remember going on 1-2 hour long walks around the neighbourhood regularly as a kid also rollerblading and biking. Looking back I realise it’s been my form of therapy, my form of meditation and release. I wouldn’t say I suffer from depression but I’m pretty sure the reason I wouldn’t say that is because I do long slow cardio. I’m like Charlotte York – I don’t do therapy, I do exercise. It clears my mind, it slows down my responses to things, it gives me space to be in my head without people watching me (or if they do because Im on a treadmill, it gives me a false sense of being alone. I’ve been known to cry crocodile tears whilst doing some of my best runs at the 24 hour fitness in LA). And it’s true that I have turned to long slow cardio to lose weight ,particularly muscle mass that seems to cling to my body even if its not being used. I’ve burned calories for a number on the scale with masses of other women. Sometimes successfully, sometimes not. I’ve guilted myself out of rest days due to a “need” to feel skinny.
But yesterday as I was running and listening to The Rich Roll Podcast interview of Robin Arzon I realised something. She was describing her day (teach 5 spinning classes, run 5 miles for herself…) and in my head I said to myself “damn I want to do that! I want to be able to teach 5 classes and run miles and do it all again the next day. I want to run an Ultra – hell I’d like to run a marathon first! and I want to learn to bike and boy do I miss mountain climbing. If SHE can have energy for that I can. I’ve been able to do everything I wanted to in the past!” Um what? that means, ladies and gentlemen, that I don’t exercise to be skinny, I “exercise” to pretend like I’m training. I exercise because I want to be an athlete.
With that in mind, things have to change. The reason, I think, I only have energy to lightly jog 1 hour every other day and walk forever the other days and do easy yoga and do abs – is because I try to eat the least amount possible and burn calories without spiking my hunger or burning muscle. I have been exercising and eating to be skinny. and it’s true, i have issues and I really want to be 10lbs. butI guess what I want more is to do something amazing with my body, regularly and to progress that amazing. I want to be an athlete. I have to eat things that give me energy and I have to stop living at model level of fuel because I want to do more than model level of activity.
I guess my life doesn’t completely revolve around striving to be a size 1. Actually, it doesn’t at all.
and that’s not to say that I want to eat crap and I don’t care if I gain weight – I do. But an athlete can’t eat a bunch of crap because they need their energy, they need their fuel. and an athlete is conscious about their weight as it affects their performance – but not because of what it means they are as a person. No one should be worried about that. You’re weight and your aesthetic are just one piece of you and certainly not markers of your value to society (although explain that to my anorexic brain please).
This may all sound like “bitch please!” to you and if so, bravo. I’ve struggled with this for as long as I can remember. I went on my first diet when I was 9. So this is a big deal to me. I’m mentally celebrating my revelation right now – with champagne and party hats and maybe a rave that takes place in the gym after-hours, in the treadmill area..