Now that we are moving into 2015 I'm going to move away from reflecting upon last year and get ready to jump into the New Year with both feet.
I have a few goals for 2015 and plans pertaining to their success.
Last year I decided that it was in my best interest both physically and financially to race less, and to try hard to make every race count as a competitive goal- not a practice session.
These were good and honorable intentions and while I feel that I made the best use of these guidelines I decided at year's end that I did miss something that is still important at my stage of running.
Not literal mileage, but the kind that you can only get on race day.
One thing that I find interesting is how my two sports manage to relate to each other in many ways- even though one requires the cooperation of a 1,000 pound beast and one does not.
The need for mileage parallels the horse world in such an accurate way that I gave it some thought over stall mucking time one recent morning. (I do my best thinking over stalls)
I have been competing in the horse world for so long that I am able to adapt my show day plan to flex under a huge variety of variables (they are endless) Weather, footing, conditions, strange situations, things out of my control, ornery horse, horse who doesn't remember how to act, show running late/early, judge has the wrong test sheet, me being sick, or injured, judge totally misses a movement and wants you to show it again, a tent gets loose and rolls down the hill at you. Ya know, The usual. While I am no Olympic competitor I literally have ice running thru my veins and shit simply doesn't mess with my day. I might grouch around a bit if it is pouring dumping rain yeah, but I can get past it after a good moan. Years of practice made me this way, I have put in a ton of work to become a confident competitor and it took a lot of time, mistakes, learning, and MILEAGE to get here!
I feel rather differently about running.
My goal last Spring was to "bulletproof" myself so that not hills, or speed, or a water stop could slay me. I ran hard, yoga-d myself into relative flexibility, worked out my squashy bits and did any number of squats which I don't enjoy. I thought I had it in the bag.
But was I in any way experienced enough to re-work my plan for weather? For taking off too quick and being able to make a snap decision to modify my pace? Was I self aware enough to monitor my hydration levels? Nope. And that, in the end has everything to do with my amateur status in the running world. I simply do not have enough competition miles in the saddle (oops, on the road) to be able to adapt to what is happening on that day in that moment.
With the horses, my students and with myself on my training runs I try to simulate the day of competition. From the beginning of the day, to the practice itself I try to recreate things that might happen on race/show day. How does your show/running kit feel? Was your warmup effective? What happens if we have an audience? (this pertains a bit more to horses possibly...) Can I eat and not barf? (while this only affects my running I know a few people who have needed to work on this on horse show day..)
At the end of the day, the bottom line is that no matter how hard you try the only way to get competition mileage is to get out to the damn show/race and take a crack at it. Something about having an actual judge, or actual running participants really changes the dynamic.
So (if anyone is still here after all this musing.)
My plan leading up to Boston is to run a series of races in order to get some real race day practice but with NO intention to "race" these events.
This will be very hard for me- I tend to get a bit overexcited at the start and my competitive nature doesn't like to hear about how we are doing a progression run, or a few miles at tempo on a race course.
|Well, I'm certainly never guilty of THIS!|
I'm looking at these races as being the "schooling shows" of the foot race world. A place to try things out, gain experience, learn and improve for when I get to my "A" race of the season.
I have the Horrible Horrible 16 miler of Hate, in Derry at the end of January lined up as practice race number one. There should be absolutely no problem taking it rather easy, as I am most certainly not tapping out high mileage right now. (unlike, apparently, the rest of the population I won't start fussing over Boston training for a few more
|Well. If my boyfriend says so....|
So, perhaps 1500 miles for 2015 is a better plan!