Life in the slow lane

October 22, 2006 on 10:08 pm | By | In Training | Comments Off on Life in the slow lane

I’ve never been, nor will I ever be, a fast runner. There were races in my early 30s where I averaged 8 1/4 to 8 1/2 minute miles, but the timing is suspect as it was before chip technology. These days I’m lucky if I can average 8 3/4 minute miles; 9+ minute miles are more the norm. However, even though I’m running slower than I did a decade ago, afterwards my body feels like it’s been run over by a truck, especially on my long runs. So it was with great anticipation that I try Jeff Galloway’s run/walk training program as it promises a more enjoyable run with a faster recovery.

Last week was my first on the new program, but I didn’t feel it was a true test as my long run was only 6 miles. But this week it increased to 12 miles — a much better indicator of whether the program will work for me. As an even greater test, I ran the same trail as my 12-mile training run for the Seafair half this summer: the Snoqualmie Valley trail starting in Duvall. It’s a wonderfully flat, soft and wide trail that winds through some beautiful countryside. At one point during our summer run we stopped for a water break, only to see a couple of deer scamper across the trail.

The weather that day was unbearably hot — upper 80s or possibly even the low 90s — and although the trail is lined with trees, they don’t provide much respite from the sun. I hate running in hot weather, and while we brought along a bunch of water and sports drink, we both felt a bit dehydrated toward the end. We averaged a 9- to 9 1/2-minute mile, and by mile seven I was ready for a break. I managed to run another three miles and then hit the wall. We walked one mile, but then I rallied to complete the last mile running. We finished in 1 hour, 50 minutes, although I’m not sure if that included our time walking. I do remember that my thighs were screaming in pain, and I could barely hobble up the hill for our burger ‘n beer lunch.

Fast forward to this past Saturday. We awoke to an amazing day: clear blue skies and crisp cool air. Perfect running weather in my opinion! I fortified myself with a bowl of whole grain cereal, a bagel and a banana, as well as plenty of sports drink. For the run I packed three water bottles on my sports belt, as well as a Balance bar and a couple of Lara fruit & nut bars. I was determined not to hit the wall this time due to dehydration or lack of food. I also packed a healthier apres run snack — spicy Chex Mix rather than our typical Flamin’ Hot Cheetos — since we’d been a bit lax in our policy of not snacking on junk food unless we’d run eight miles.

The fall colors really stood out against the blue sky, but as we descended into the Duvall valley the fog hadn’t yet lifted. Not a problem, considering we both packed jackets for cool weather. As Jeff suggests, we kept our pace about two minutes slower than what we could actually run in the half marathon (or should I say, what I could run in the half; my darling is a much speedier runner). I not only found myself enjoying the run more, I could actually engage in conversation.

Although many runners enjoy running with their I-Pods, both my darling and I love the serenity of allowing our thoughts to wander. We use the time to reflect on how our day went, or to just revel in the fact we’re doing something a lot of the population can’t. My darling is much more able to talk during our runs; I tend to limit my conversation to one-syllable replies (or grunts) since I’m trying to catch my breath. But by running so much more slowly, I had no trouble carrying on the conversation. We talked about our plans for the house, our trip to France next year and where we’d like to see our businesses go. We took a 1-minute walk break every 7 minutes, and the time seemed to fly right by. Not only did the walk breaks provide relief to our tired legs, we also used that time to fill up on water and food.

After the half-way mark I allowed us the option of taking our walk break after 6 minutes. It was more of a mental game; just knowing we COULD take it if we wanted to was enough of an impetus to continue with the 7:1 ratio. Although we were indeed feeling sore toward the end of the run, I was able to pick up my pace during the last 1/4 mile for a strong finish. So what that we finished 22 minutes behind our summer run, at least we weren’t hobbling!

After a Cobb salad lunch at the Duvall Grill we took a leisurely drive home through Carnation for more fall colors (by then the fog had lifted). By the time we got home we were pretty tired; I collapsed on the couch while my darling chose the bed. After each taking an hour-long nap we awoke refreshed, albeit with a couple of aches and pains. We took today off, but I think we’ll both be up for another run tomorrow.

I’m liking this new program!

No Comments yet

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress and Nifty Cube with Recetas theme design by Pablo Carnaghi.
Entries and comments feeds. Valid XHTML and CSS.