Showing posts with label level. Show all posts
Showing posts with label level. Show all posts

Monday, November 26, 2012

A different perspective on running ability

Running strata as viewed by a newbie
Over the weekend my son and I were looking at some posts dating back to late 2008. That was around the time when I started to run in a dedicated way. Most of my early posts were about discovery and understanding. One post that my son really liked was an unscientific assessment of running abilities. The above graphic shows the levels that I'd defined at the time to differentiate between newbies like me, compared to long standing runners.

In December of 2008, I put myself between "beginner" and "intermediate", though in retrospect I should have used "advanced beginner" to describe my abilities. At that time, I viewed runners who covered distances between 16 and 24 miles as "established." My 20 mile per week average puts me right in the center of that range. I guess after four years I could claim to be at that level.

But distance (or even speed) aren't really the best way of describing a person who runs. Both of those measurements have as much to do with age and circumstance as they do with experience. Today, I'd characterize it differently and say that anyone who regularly practices the discipline of running (regardless of how fast or how far they go) is a runner. That's all people really need to know.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

You are here

In this case you is me and I need to constantly remind myself that despite a strong dedication to running I still fit somewhere between the blue and green sections of this chart. How much harder do I need to run to move up a level? I find that most established runners run about four times a week, four to six miles per run. That's certainly a stretch for me. I run almost every day but my distances are between 1.5 and 4 miles depending upon how much time I have. The idea of a 4+ mile standard run on weekends is at least six months away, perhaps longer. But it's a 2009 goal.

If I want to be able to compete in 10K events I need to be able to run at least 6.2 miles without a break. I'm not trying to rush it, really. I love how it feels to run 2 or 3 miles at a moderately brisk pace. There are definitely endorphins at work there. Many established and accomplished runners (these terms are mine, not tied to any specific criteria) tell me that they begin to feel stronger around mile three and can maintain a faster pace after that threshold. I'm beginning to see some of that now. This morning I ran 20 minutes at 8:40/mile which for me was challenging but for many established runners it's only a decent practice pace. I followed that with 20 minutes on the elliptical. Despite my daily focus I recognize that I have a lot of climbing to do on my chart to catch up with the other runners I know. But running is a sport that rewards dedication, especially at the beginning when measurable gains are more easily attainable. I wonder if established runners have more problems with motivation as progress becomes more incremental. Perhaps cutting five seconds off a 7:30 pace is as rewarding as cutting :30 from a 9:00-something pace.

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