Baseline running-Not one second faster than necessary. Huh?

I never have been one to embrace the rules.  My wife calls me a rebel, defiant and sometimes disrespectful towards authority.  Sometimes is the nicest word I can use here.  Ultimately, though, the root cause is that the presenter hasn’t done a good sales job and justifying why I should change my behavior.  My wife reminds me that speed limit signs don’t seem to negotiate…..

Anyway, I am in need of some selling when it comes to event preparation.  When I read that the best way to prepare for an event like this is a spend 12 weeks developing a strong baseline, I had to question what strong baseline meant, decide if I agreed with the evidence presented and agree to modify my own behavior.  Behavior mod is the hardest part of this equation.

Strong baseline means that I can do either a run or a bike, without any negative effects.  Greg MacMillian shared that if you train at 100% then you won’t have anything extra to add on race day.  I am choosing to believe him. Sales job #1 is complete.

On a more philosophic note, another running coach added a claim that justified a 2nd take.  He said, “Your goal is to create the least possible stress on your body that produces the maximum physiological benefits, not maximum stress to accomplish the same benefits.”   In essence, he is unwinding a long-held belief of “no pain, no gain.”  To sort this out, I had to take my long-held beliefs out of the equation and check them in at the door before investigating the evidence he presents.  To be succinct, my gut says to throw this guy’s idea out the window.

His fundamental one sentence training mantra is “don’t run one second faster than is necessary.”  For sure, that appeals to human nature and the desire for mediocrity that permeates every culture that I have ever lived in. Come on…who doesn’t have areas of their lives where we don’t do the least amount necessary to achieve the desired result?

When I weed eat the yard, I do the least amount possible to get all the loose grass cut.  I am not trying to get better at weed eating.  Git R dun!  However, I am trying to get better at cycling and running.  I am on the edge of disbelief that the mindset I use when I weed eat should be the same as the one I take when I go out on a training run.

Reminder to self-I checked my preconceptions at the door.  Time to get back to the evidence.  Back to reviewing the thinking of the author.  After all, the author already trusts their thinking.  I am the one with the issue here, not them!

Finally, near the end of another attempt to relay their message, they used a language that was nice to listen to and a light went on in my head.  “Runners always want to finish a little faster,” says Vince Sherry, a Flagstaff, Arizona-based coach and cofounder of The Run S.M.A.R.T. Project. “We reach a race goal, and then all of a sudden it’s not good enough.” It’s easy to think if you can run a workout—or even a portion of one—slightly faster, that you’ve stepped things up. But a good day (or moment) doesn’t necessarily translate into a new benchmark. For example: You’re supposed to run six one-mile repeats at 7:30 pace. Instead, you nail the first two repeats in 7:15. The resulting fatigue causes you to run the last four in 7:40. Result? The too-fast start makes for a slower workout.”

This guy broke the no pain, no gain mantra, justified his thinking, and he gave me something that I could relate to  and validate in my heart.  I have had experience doing the very thing that he has talked about.

I am getting in 4 runs a week and three bike rides.  I have at least one day off, and sometimes two.  Running remains a joyful event, and any tingling from Saturday’s race in my left ankle are gone.  I will no longer feel guilt over a slow run and that is on the schedule as I add miles to my weekly pump.

No pain…gain.

I have absorbed this now.


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