It’s spring, and that means one thing: running. The weather starts to warm up. The sun stays over the horizon past 5 pm. The sap in the ol’ legs starts flowing again. I think it’s appropriate that I’m living in Switzerland, because I think deep down, I’m really a marmot. Winter ends, and I feel the need to get moving again. I need to get out on my rock and squawk, run around on an Alp somewhere.
The races start to approach: the 20 km of Lausanne in late April. A 10-miler in Bern in May that’s advertised as the “ten most beautiful miles in the world.” Then, June 24th, the Aletsch half-marathon, touted as “Europe’s greatest half-marathon.”
(I know. It’s all uphill. That’s why I want to do it so badly! Just look at that picture! Don’t you want to do it, too? How can you suffer with that as a backdrop?)
Then, the pièce de résistance… the 31-km Sierre-Zinal on August 12th. Another run I want to add to my life list, despite the wicked horrible downhill finish. It doesn’t claim to be the greatest anything, but the “no high heels” image on the website speaks volumes. This is my kind of thing.
This year, I tell myself, I’m really going to do it. Which is why I’m dialing back my training a notch.
Yeah, you read that right. You see, one of the dangers of Spring is overenthusiasm. I get all psyched up, put a load of 85-90 bpm songs on my iPod and start hammering. I feel great! It’s spring! boy, I’m really in shape this year, I’m really cranking out the miles, maybe this year I can be a real runner again… plus, it’s warm enough to wear shorts! Next thing you know, something hurts. I’m limping.
I’m sure this has never happened to you. You’re probaby very careful and analytical about your running, never going out for an impulsive 10-miler just because it’s such a beautiful day that you just can’t resist the temptation to just chuck everything and head out the door. Oh, I envy you.
Not this year. This year, I’m not focusing on running fast, but just on showing up. And to do that, all I need is some basic training, nothing extreme. I don’t need to run every single day, no matter how badly I want to. In fact, if I feel that overwhelming urge, I might on occasion even do the unthinkable and — drum roll please — go for a walk instead. Don’t gasp. I already tried it twice, and it worked out just fine.
The weather has complied recently, which has helped me enormously. It has been windy, cold, spitting rain. Much more conducive to staying inside, curled up with a good book. So I’ve only run every other day, at most. (That and a grueling workout last Wednesday at a Crossfit box from which my arms are still not fully recovered. Folly, thy name is Crossfit.)
Do you have any tips to prevent overenthusiastic spring training? Do you want to come and run any of these races with me? For FUN?
Sure, I’ll join you at the 20 km de Lausanne (but I’ll quit after 10) and maybe the Grand Prix de Berne!
My training has actually slowed in the spring. In the winter, I was all about proving that I was going to stick with it and was out running four times a week, sometimes in ice, sometimes in snow or freezing rain or a bitter cold wind. Now that it’s warming up finally and everyone else is out running, I’m like, Eh. I have nothing to prove.
See and you won’t get injured, either, since you’re not going from zero to 60 in ten days. Kudos for your perseverence! I also ran in some nasty weather but could NEVER have done it without my running buddy. nothing like a rendez-vous to get your butt out the door.
Those are serious runs, not courses to be tackled without extensive preparation. So be careful, or your enjoyment may be curtailed by the soreness and nagging injuries that tend to occur as the body tires and your gait loses form. Oh bugger, I’m nagging again. Just thrill to the terrain and that amazing scenery.
Winter will soon be with us here; I’ll be back to slushing through creekbeds and running along trails wet with slippery red clay, while my shoes are covered in mud so thick that I have to stop every so often and scrape the bloody stuff off. Love every minute of it!
After 40+ years of running, I’m neither careful nor analytical about it. My running gait just happens, like putting on an old favorite pair of shoes, and my body tells me what I will do on the day. I don’t have the pace or endurance of days gone by, but still have the easy stride and that sense of inner well-being that comes with all the freshness and enjoyment of running a trail in the early morning air. Not that I have your mountain scenery; more eucalypts and tea tree scrub, giving way to wheatfields. Huh, I’ll bury the envy and think of you climbing those gradients. Then when you’re sore and sorry for yourself, maybe I’ll send some goanna oil for those aching leg muscles.
I was hoping you’d chime in! You’re right… I am setting myself up for injury one way or another, probably. But at least this way I’ll make it to the great scenery for a bit, before I crash. I’m also doing some cross training to work some muscle groups that have been sorely neglected over the years. Maybe that’ll help me maintain my form when I’m really tired.
I’ll take a pass on the goanna, but how about writing a guest post (with pictures) about running in all that lovely mud?? I’m sure my readers would love it. I can already almost smell that eucalyptus and tea tree on a rainy wet morning… squelch squelch. Happy trails.
Luna and I would like to offer our support via lunawalks.