run, rest, eat, bitch, buy things, cross-train, blog, repeat.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Quality over Quantity?

I mentioned that I made a "Race Schedule" for the rest of 2012 (and some of 2013) recently. I used a sharpie, wrote neatly, and hung it on my fridge. Motivation for the upcoming weeks/months!

The next day, I fired off an email to my coach with the entire schedule typed out. There were a couple of races that I KNEW she wasn't going to like. But everything else, I felt pretty good about. It was ambitious, but doable.

And then I got her response which was essentially along these lines:

Bitch, please! Are you shitting me?

Instead of getting defensive and stubborn I listened to what she had to say and then looked at my schedule again. And you know what? This is EXACTLY the type of thing that I would have done a year ago. I would have gone through Marathon Guide and the Strider's Website and found all these races that I wanted to run and crammed them into a short period of time. And from there, I would have continued my streak into running mediocrity (at best). Quantity over quality. It's the American way, right?

Can I do all the races? Of course I can. Can I do them well and have the finishes that I want? Most assuredly not. I'm in a phase now where I want to improve. I want to be a faster, stronger runner. And that definitely comes with some hard decisions. I have to be smarter about picking my races, I can't just do a race because my friends are doing it or because I've done it for 3 years in a row or because it sounds like fun. If I'm serious about becoming a better runner, I have to choose quality over quantity. This is a pretty big deal for me. Shying away from races just because I'm training for other races isn't something I'm accustomed to (e.g. Stumpjump 50k and Chicago Marathon in back to back weekends. Remember how spectacularly awful that turned out?). But, it's something I'm going to have to get accustomed to, if I want to reach certain goals.

So, I've got some editing to do to my schedule. And I think I'm okay with that... 


Meredith said...

That was my love/hate relationship with my coach. I wanted to race more...she knew that I couldn't race at a high level with multiple races. Now that I'm not working with a coach, I'm racing more but I'm also finding races that will fit in with my training schedule for my "A" races and enhance my training.

Carina said...

Any way to integrate some of the races at easy training pace? I try to keep my streak races to a minimum (and fortunately none of them are longer than a half), but I hate breaking streaks.

Pre-Boston last spring my coach finally agreed to let me run my fave 5k -- if I started at the back, pushed a stroller and ran easy (he didn't trust me to just run easy). So I pushed my godson and had no choice but to run easy, but the streak is alive.

But yeah, to race well, you need to be targeted, so listen to your coach. But make a strong pitch for easy running some of your fave races if it will make you happy and keep the running love alive.

chacha said...

I think that you can do more quantity if the races are short - i.e. 5K and 10K. But longer ones take a huge toll on the bod if you actually *race* them.

If you just do them for fun and run them slow, then I think races can be a tool in training. But the hard part is actually holding back in a race.