So lately I have been thinking about how to approach training and racing from perhaps a bit of a different angle. After all, they say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result....so maybe I should stop doing the same things over and over and expecting a different result.
I keep training logs, and have since my sophomore year in high school. As incredibly nerdy as that sounds (I am pretty sure that as a sophomore in high school I was supposed to be writing in diaries about boys and aspiring to be a cheerleader. But I didn't.), it can be awfully handy at times. Not to mention when I'm feeling a little sentimental I can look over various entries and sigh and remember all those great (and sometimes not so great) runs and workouts and all the ups and downs and what lead to what and so on. But anyhow, I've been looking over the last four to five years in particular--since I would think of those as the years where I think I most developed as a runner and also experienced a vast array of differnt training approaches--to try and figure out where some of the glitches are and what I can do to turn things around and stop getting de-railed every three months or so by some silly hang-up. Since I always wrote down what I felt like and a lot times what I thought about, then it's easy to pick up on where the mindset was at the time too (that's the psychology degree talking right there).
In that regard, the biggest change has been that somewhere along the way there was a switch from basically having the willingness to charge headlong into anything without really wondering whether or not I could do it (which only occasionally proved to be not very advantageous), to having almost too much trepidation and hesitation and doubt in regards to being able to accomplish a certain goal or to tackle a certain training regimen out of fear of another poor outcome (which has never really proved to be very advantageous). Basically a mindset of feeling like that one greek guy Sassafrass or Sisyphus or Syphillis or whoever, who was in Hades doing all that work rolling that giant rock uphill for all eternity even though he knew it was going to roll down again as soon as he got it to the top, and he'd have to start all over at the bottom (I will accept compliments for that freaking awesome metaphor in the comment box below).
That's the first huge piece of garbage that has got to go.
As far as just looking subjectively at training, I'm no coach or exercise physiologist, but I think my main focus is just going to be mixing things up a lot more. More things at different speeds for the most part. I think I have kind of gotten it in my head that I can do less than I used to be capable of and don't do certain things well, so I don't do them. As the great Dr. Jack Daniels says, until you get old and start to decline the human body does not get worse, it only gets better. Well I'm not old so logically I'm getting better. Training though is always a process of trial and error, so I think those pieces will fall into place once things get back on track from where they are now.
As for getting back on track, things are going in that direction. I've gotten some okay runs in over the last week and a half, so hopefully I'll be able to keep weaning myself off of the bike/pool and get more solid workouts in on land. As for races, I've decided that if I can get at least four solid weeks of training in, then the Bix 7 Miler (U.S. 7 mile championships) will be next on the list. Anything in between will be icing on the cake.
Till then, best of luck to anyone competing in the Garden of the Gods 10 miler this Saturday! I'll have an eye on the results.