Okay, so I haven't hit the taper yet - usually when the real musing begins - but Michelle's most recent post got me thinking about running (although it doesn't really take much to get me thinking about running...).
More specifically, about HOW I run. I've noticed, now that I have a Garmin, I tend to go out with a general idea of how far I want to go, but really it's more about how much time I have. "Oh, I think I'll go about an hour this morning," I might think, knowing that'll probably give me somewhat over 5 miles, close to 6 miles, perhaps, if I'm feeling really well. Or maybe if I feel like shit I'll tell myself, "C'mon sweet thing, you can do 2 miles. Just get out the door for 20 minutes and see how you feel once you're out there." (Yes, I really do use terms of endearment for myself on a regular basis when I'm coaching or encouraging myself through my runs. Is that really weird, or are there others out there who do that?!)
I don't have specific speedwork on specific days. It's more like, "Oh, this is a good song. I bet I can speed up a bit to make my cadence match the beat. Oh, look at that! I'm running 9-minute miles! Woo hoo!"
I don't have specific elevation gains I'm looking for necessarily. This winter, I knew I needed a lot and I needed to work it up gently. I just looked up the Tucson Trail Runners' schedule and see what I'm running on Sunday - and see if I need to alter it! (They have a tendency to go much much farther and higher up than I'm in shape for.) Sometimes that means I end up with a lot more elevation gain than I was expecting!
In past training cycles, when I pushed myself hard because I thought the schedule called for it, or because I thought that's what I needed to do (must! get! faster!), I got injured. This time around, I'm running slightly less, cross-training more, climbing WAY more elevation (another injury trigger in the past), and yet - knock on wood - I'm not injured yet. I've pushed myself beyond what I've done before in terms of single runs (not weekly mileage), and I'm doing okay. In fact, I feel stronger than I ever have before.
Which brings me to what I was thinking about in the shower this morning (my favorite place to think) - how to maintain this fitness level that I've gained. Really, what better way to prepare for my third decade than to whip my ass into shape. Now I want to keep that - and improve upon it! I LOVE being able to go out for a Sunday jaunt and climb from the desert to the pine trees. I LOVE thinking four miles at lunch is an easy run - it's nothing, just four miles. Really, it should be five or six. I LOVE seeing how my quads look and how my face looks and how my calves look. I LOVE thinking that two hours of working out a day feels great - an hour for running, an hour at the gym.
I don't want to lose this fitness - I want to use it as a base to catapult me into a realm of lifetime fitness. Of lifetime running. Of being able to pick up and run up Mt Lemmon if I want, because of course, I'm in shape to do so. I want to be able to pick off 50ks as training runs, and not be so intimidated by them.
I'm sure I'll be pursuing this train of thought over the next month or so as I finish preparations for Zane Grey and start thinking about how to capitalize on my current fitness in the months following....