I had to take an unscheduled rest day yesterday. I often see questions from runners about knowing when to replace shoes. The answer I always give is “You’ll know when it’s time.” For me “time” is when I start feeling pain in places I normally don’t feel pain – quads, knees, hips and lower back. Well, I started feeling the pain a couple weeks ago. But Sunday’s tempo run was the straw that broke the camel’s back. By midday yesterday, my lower back was so sore I had trouble getting in and out of my car. It is nothing serious – just pesky muscular pain just bad enough to reward me for being lazy. I probably *could* have rowed, but I’m of the mindset that with no goal race looming, I’d rather be safe than sorry. So, Monday’s rowing session is being moved to Friday. Things are much better this morning, and I’ll be on the track this evening with Cal Coast. By the way – I *did* get new shoes yesterday.
I’m also busy crafting my next training cycle. I’ve decided that even though I don’t have a goal race yet, I am going to progress on a marathon cycle. My thought is that this will help set me up for my eventual goal of running a 50K in the (distant) future. I’m not going to treat this plan as gospel, so there will be a lot of flexing and adapting to things that are important to me – things like intervals with Cal Coast and trails with the Trailheadz. I want to get the miles in the books.
I’m also trying a new plan this time. About a month ago, Jill (Run With Jill), turned me on to a book that I found pretty interesting. The book is called “Brain Training for Runners”. The upshot of the book is that our brains start shutting things down when it senses that our physical body might be harmed. For example, the author (Matt Fitzgerald) contends that fatigue isn’t caused solely by glycogen depletion (studies have shown that there is still plenty of stored energy left when we start fatiguing), but by our brain’s anticipation (teloanticipation) of falling energy reserves. The brain starts reducing muscle activation as a defense mechanism. Do I buy it? I’m not sure, but my history always has me shutting down pretty early in race situations. The other thing I like about the plan in the book is that they integrate a lot of strength conditioning and technique drills, something I desperately need.
So hang on kids. We’re about to begin an adventure…