insomnia and night owl tendencies, though I'm still sometimes visited by sleepless nights. Last night was one of those nights. I say all this as a really long introduction to the fact that I am running on four hours of sleep today, so that by the time I hit 6:30 p.m. running time, I was pretty beat. I had 4.5 miles on the agenda, but it was all I could do to lace up my sneakers and get outside. I ended up only doing three miles, and not a stellar three miles at that.
However, those three miles got me thinking. I was glad I got out there. I was proud of myself for actually getting outside and doing some mileage, rather than giving into fatigue and the siren call of the couch. I wasn't so tired that I didn't want to get my heart pumping and my blood flowing, and I think I am better for having gotten the workout in. This past weekend, I was reading through the latest issue of USAT, which is focusing this issue on speed - in the swim, the bike and the run. One thing that it warns about in the run is the tendency for those mid-week miles to become "junk miles." We get out there, we bang out our 3, 5, 8 mile runs, whatever mileage, just to do it. And maybe we're tired, our form isn't so great, but we just want to be able to fill in our Daily Mile report. The article, which had some wonderful points, was written by Matt Russ, and argues that it's useless to do those miles, that grinding out those distances is really hurting us because we are letting our hard work with our form and our stride go to seed, plus out of all the triathlon disciplines, running breaks down your muscles the most; better to take rest where you need it. That's not to say that mid-week mileage is a waste, but it was interesting to think about.
Mostly I found it interesting because I am still contemplating a marathon and realized that it makes me think of my current training from two different perspectives. If I am training for one half, with a fair gap in between, then I think about the fact that I maybe have a break to decrease my mileage and perhaps get in some speed work, some more strength training, etc. If I do go on to do a marathon, than I am now a quarter of the way through my marathon training, which is kind of crazy. Mentally, it's one thing to think "I can get through 13.1 miles, and if this first one is terrible, I can make up for it with the second." The other train of thought is more along the lines of a great running (no pun intended) joke amongst our athlete friends, from an exchange we witnessed at a race between two brothers, one older, one younger. It was just a 5k, but the older one looked at the younger one and said "C'mon, Ricky! You gotta run, Ricky! I don't care how bad it hurts, you gotta run, Ricky!"