So we're back into the XC season and so far, not so good. I seem to have forgotten how the long miles sap the strength out of one's legs. I shouldn't really complain as a) it has only been just over a week b) i only put in 50 miles last week and c) complaining now will set the stage for a lousy season down the road! Be that as it may, today's run was capped at 6.5miles instead of 8 because I was just not ready for the hills and billowing wind on top of Fort Henry hill (the site of the Queen's XC course).
The plan for this season: become an aerobic monster and work my way up to become comfortable at 80miles per week. How shall we do that? Long steady miles. And in that short sentance lies the problem. Coming off the track season, I am very comfortable and happy with the idea of short, sharp, fast efforts. I am struggling to run slow enough at the start of a run to be able to hold on for 60-70mins. I settle into a comfortable, abet too fast a pace, and then find myself gasping at 50mins. I need to chill in the first 20-30mins and then gradually increase the pace until the end.
Another means of increasing my miles is through morning runs. I did 2 last week and did 1 today, aiming for 3 this week. These are just 20min efforts; approximately 3 miles at an easy pace. Its quite easy to go steady in the morning because I feel terrible anyway from just waking up and having no food in the belly. As those who know me may correctly surmise, I am not a happy runner in the mornings! I am also planning to add strides and plyometrics (jumping bounding) to my morning runs which are intended to help improve my form and add strength.
As advice to help me overcome these early season blues, Kev has told me to "live like a clock", a quote borrowed from Jumbo Elliot, the coach of the Irish mid-distance legend Eamonn Coghlan. I take this to mean that I am to shape my life in a way that I can develop consistency in my training. This is the only way that I will get the miles in that I need to and be able to fit a productive life around my training. As a side note, Bruce Denton said this same quote to Quenton Cassidy in the fictional yet authoritative running bible that is Once a Runner. Therefore, this must be a legitimate gem of wisdom.