Monday, May 4, 2009

Today in Run-Tardation


In hopes of purging these obsessive thoughts about running, I prevail upon the patience of my eight seven readers to endure a detailing of them:

  • I'm running too fast. On Saturday, I did a 15-miler at my goal marathon pace (actually, one second faster, but who's counting other than my OCD?); today I did a 9-miler at about 15 seconds faster than my goal pace. These were supposed to be easy runs; The Coach demands a considerably slower pace for these runs. So I could just slow down, right? And yet I'm terrified of slowing down. What if I slow down and train my body to run at a pace that's below my goal pace? Wouldn't the universe explode? Wouldn't the Bush-Cheney junta re-seize power? Wouldn't Neko Case lose her voice? Wouldn't the terrorists win?
  • An ambiguity in The Coach's demands fuels the above. The Coach spits forth a detailed training program based on data I provide (see screen image above), which includes time of a recent race (fine - speaks to my current fitness level), what I'm training for, schedule length, etc. But I'm not sure what to make of "how hard do you want to train?", nor is it clear what to make of the absence of the blindingly-obvious-to-me question, "what is your goal?" How hard I want to train should be a result of this algorithm, not an input, right? That is, shouldn't The Coach be telling me how hard I need to train based on what I give as my goal (along with the timetable, current level of training, distance of race I'm training for, etc.)? As a result, I'm not sure what the resulting training plan, as interesting and credible as it seems, is promising to produce. Does it represent the training plan that just gets me across the finish line medically alive? Does it represent the training plan that will get me the finish time generated by The (same) Coach's Training Calculator, which relies on similar data inputs? I am tempted to think so, but surely that can't be in light of the fact that I get to specify how hard I want to train. I have verified that the selection of "maintenance," "moderate," "hard," and "very hard" produce different training plans. So how, pray tell, do these differing training plans map to foreseeable results on race day?
  • For what it's worth, my answer to "how hard do you want to train?" is "effortlessly," but that's not on the list.
I am going to work on slowing down when The Coach tells me I can. If Neko Case loses her voice and the terrorists win, you'll know where the blame lies.

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