Thursday, February 11, 2010

To Streak or Not to Streak

So I was debating ending my running streak.  I'm about to hit 40 days into a running streak (which I should add has included increased weekly mileage).  Thankfully, calling the streak's potential termination into question is not tied to injury.  The streak, if anything, helped me reinforce the need to stretch and ice routinely, make and attend weekly appointments with my sports chiropractor, and helped me learn to suck it up and do my first ice bath.

But a streak is only as good as it remains helpful to whatever the goal.  I inadvertently fell into the streak about 10 days into it, after the initial goal to increase my running mileage.  The goal was based on a thought that my half marathon finish time had hit a plateau because my legs were so tired in late miles.  The streak has taught my legs to adjust and adapt to a slight tiredness, while building leg strength.  My husband and I have noticed a marked difference in the leg muscle along my shin and in my calf muscles.  After completing three half marathons with a PR on one and then a fairly consistent finish time on the others, I'm feeling like my legs have caught up and are strong, but to continue getting faster I now need to get my heart and lungs back in the game.  I just don't feel right now like I can do speedwork while maintaining my health while running every day and at a pretty decent weekly mileage with half marathon races almost every weekend.

So I'm going to try a compromise and see how it goes... More speedwork and tempo runs during the week and inbetween runs will truly go down to 1 mile, max 2 miles, at a much slower speed, some days may be even just a walk.  That 1 mile will be beneficial as an active recovery exercise to help push fluid and other nasty bad things out of my muscles.

And if my body starts to tell me that I just need to take it back a notch, I'll reevaluate again and perhaps end the streak.  One big warning to newer runners is to remain flexible (literally is good too, but I'm taking figuratively) to what your body and soul needs at each moment.  But it definitely feels like it's time to change it up a little bit!

This Saturday: Surfside Beach Half Marathon - about an hour outside Houston. 650 registered in the half, another 250 in the full marathon.  Hoping the breeze coming off the ocean remains a breeze and doesn't become a cold wind.

3 comments:

  1. My opinion (not that you asked) is that if you find yourself running just to keep the streak going, but you really don't want to run one day, you should end it. I know you know this, but we NEED rest/recovery days. My performance increased dramatically during the fall when I finally learned to appreciate, and not stress over, rest. I agree that putting a few days of 1-2 milers is probably pretty close to taking the day off, so I like that approach.

    Good luck in Surfside, and maybe I'll see you at Cowtown in a few weeks.

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  2. Thanks, Joe, always happy for thoughts from others. I do feel like the streak is hitting that point of outliving its usefulness, but I think this will allow me a gentle transition while keeping me motivated to challenge myself everyday (it would be so easy with too busy days to get way off track). The streak will help keep me accountable to all of my training days, whether essentially rest (1 mile) or harder run day.

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  3. The streak sounds as if it has done good! Personally, I don't do well without 2 rest day per week, but sometimes I'll do active recovery (like walking, biking, yoga) so I think as long as you're making the effort to listen to your body and not wear yourself out, you're good to go!

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