I’m not cheating on the plan, but the plan feels like cheating.
Some of it has been challenging. For instance, I haven’t been a five days per week runner since I was seventeen. But it’s summer and I teach for a living, so I have enough time to run and do a bit of research (“rhetoric” is still part of the title to this blog) and spend time with my daughter and wife.
The real adjustment is that there haven’t been any fast runs or any particularly long runs. My high intensity days are focused on circuit training, and my longest day has been six miles. No intervals. No tempo runs. No mile repeats. I’m either running a hundred meters from one workout station to the next, or logging a recovery day run at a leisurely 8:30ish/mile. In fact, yesterday I was beginning to wonder if I could still push the pace even a little bit so I added in a mile or so at 7:30 pace. It felt strange.
Obviously I understand the nature of the plan (I put it together myself!): strength first, then speed and distance. And I am getting stronger; the circuit training is getting easier already.
Still, I have a 5k this Saturday—my first since I got over the bronchitis and mostly over the leg injury—and I’m having a hard time going into that race with so little speed work under my belt. I have a great fear that a first mile at 6:30 pace is going to blow up my legs and lungs. I suppose I’ll have to think of it more as part of the plan: a particularly hard workout with an unusually large running group.
I know the fast runs are coming, and when they hit I’ll look back on these days with a fond nostalgia, but for the moment, it sure feels like I’m cheating.