Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Meno’s Paradox

Plato once theorized that it is impossible to learn anything new. You simply recollect something already known and come to "enhancing" on this previously known knowledge. The same way you discover how that bright red burner on the stove is hot, common sense would tell you that not only the color but the sheer heat radiating from the top is probably near-hot enough to brand a cow. Fortunately for me, I haven't touched the burner in years, keeping my hands in tact to write this blog. Of course, many can dispute Plato's somewhat pessimistic approach to knowledge, though in reference to my training during 2011, and onward into 2012, I have to agree with him...

If 2010 was the upward-swing of my running career, 2011 was undoubtedly the downward-swing. Like the spirals "fictional" legend Bruce Dention talks of in the famed novel "Once A Runner", I'm in the momentum-gathering phase. Whether it be mental (it is now), or physical (it is, even more so now), I've finally come (back) to the simplicity of training required to attack that up-swing with a full force.

What I'm referring to mostly is old-school approach to training. Longer runs, longer workouts, running twice a day, every day, every week, every month, and so on. I had been training under a highly Lydiard-esque style since high school, cruising through longer tempos and thresholds, "strength work" to say the least. This quite literally formed the base work to everything I knew about training, and it worked. Though, during the down-swing of 2011, these simple truths were stored near the back of my mind, tucking themselves in the darkest corner, waiting to be sought out and re-found again.

In 2011, I had replaced what I had known with a much more anaerobic approach to training, consisting of incredibly short, and intense workouts, (which I guess could be considered the “original” old school). I’ll avoid elaborating on the rationale behind straying away from common sense, though, let’s just say that each agonizing black and white result after another begged to be scrutinized, analyzed, and ultimately answered (and yes, that’s a lot of “ed”s). When you’re finishing workouts about ready to empty the two bananas and that Blueberry Powerbar you ate for breakfast on the side of the track, sometimes the question isn’t “Am I running hard enough?”, it’s “Can I really get ‘abs’ in 7 minutes?”. The depressingly real answer is “probably not”. It’s going to takes days, weeks, months, and sadly years of long, hard, training to really get there.

Distance running is an endurance sport. Similarly, longer tempos and thresholds are workouts to be endured. The “Aha!” moment came over me in a Buddhist-like session of mediating while in hot bath of Mr. Bubbles and Epson salt. Anyone can survive 10 minutes of punching the air on the track, but when your race is three times the distance, stamina would be a much more friendly ally. Why not train the heart (literally) before the legs?

And now we have arrived in 2012, where ironically enough I have re-adapted the style of training first handed to me before I could even grow facial hair, well over a decade ago. At this point, I can’t doubt Plato’s theory, as the objectiveness of running and results will always hold as the Truth to where your fitness is, or isn’t. Now that I’ve shared something that everyone either A) Already knows or 2) Will recollect after reading this, I’ll stray to lighter tone to end this blog entry.

As a new member to the BRC-Adidas team, I’m extremely excited for the coming year. With training (finally - again) in tact, and an Adidas Christmas on the way, I look forward to hitting the roads, tracks, and cross country courses alongside the best Club team in the US, outfitted in the most stylish and sleek Adidas gear available. "Come at Me" 2012!

Stay classy Colorado!

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