Showing posts with label enjoyment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label enjoyment. Show all posts

Monday, July 1, 2013

Considering a new concept: running fast

Comfort or competitive?
Today's run (treadmill): 3.1 miles

It was nice to put some speed into my running yesterday, after so many weeks of moderate workouts. It's easy to fall into the trap of running an equilibrium pace, something that I define as the speed I run when I'm not thinking about running. Enabling this behavior are all the articles I'm reading that challenge the long term health benefit of high intensity workouts. But if you want to be a competitive runner, you need to train fast every once in a while.

I envy people who have trouble running slowly. In the early '90's, I went out fast on every run and I think that led to my eventual disenchantment with running. When I returned to running in 2008, my strategy was to ease into my training, building my fitness over time. My enjoyment of running was tied to the experience of being outside and active, without suffering every time I did a run. That's possibly why I am perfectly comfortable running easy.

Every time I race, I want to race again soon. I'm debating whether to subject myself to a July race, or wait until the Dirty Sock in August that has always been the kickoff race to my busier fall and winter race schedule. 

This morning I broke from tradition and did a run the day after a race. I usually take Monday as a rest day, but an early day tomorrow prompted me to do the day trade. In deference to recovery, I ran easy, but the humidity made it feel hard. The wet weather kept me inside on the treadmill so at least I had the floor fan to mitigate the heat. I was happy when I finished.

Weather permitting, I'll be back on the road on Wednesday. My plan is to add some speed to my run, at least during some segments. Who knows, some day I could be one of those people who have trouble running slowly.

Friday, December 7, 2012

If running wasn't healthy would you still run?

Take your pick
Today's run (treadmill): 25 minutes

My wife mentioned a conversation she'd recently had with our son. They were talking about the motivation for working out. A question they'd pondered was, "If running wasn't healthy, would people still do it?" It's an interesting thought, because most people will tell you that they run for enjoyment. In my opinion, it's much more likely that most people run for the health benefit. Occasionally they'll enjoy  the experience.

Would I run if the benefits weren't clear? That depends on a lot of things. In this scenario, is running harmful or is it health-neutral? If we suddenly learned that running does not contribute to health, I know I'd mothball the treadmill in a second. But, unless it caused harm, I'd probably still run trails. The point is moot, because I've realized big health benefits from running 20 or so miles a week. While I sometimes dislike the work, I always feel great in the end.

There are people on the other end of the spectrum, those who run ultra-long distances or compete in Ironman competitions, who may actually do themselves more harm than good. I wonder if these people accept the risk and choose to run for hours because they love the experience. I suspect that many of these athletes view endurance sports with a distorted lens: if a little running is healthy, a lot of running must be even better. Unfortunately  anorexics tend to look at eating (or not eating) the same way.

I ran on the treadmill this morning and thought about the enjoyment vs. health question. I decided that the only reason I was running (while most people were still sleeping) was to fulfill the commitment I'd made to stay in shape. But this weekend I'll be viewing my running a little differently, with a planned trail run at Caleb Smith State Park. That's my definition of fun and it just happens to be a healthy thing to do.

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