October 4, 2015 by scratchtype1
12.26 miles today, after 11.62 miles yesterday. First time ever that I’ve run back-to-back days of 10 or more miles. 57.8 miles for the week, a new high. Over 180 miles last month, 3rd straight month of 180 or more miles. September also completed a years worth of of consecutive months of 100 or more miles of running.
September had started off rather poorly. I felt ragged. Maybe it was because it was still hot. Maybe it was because the running streak had reached 140 days then (175 days after today’s run), maybe it was the aftereffects of Lyme disease. I had come to almost dread running, feeling heavy legs and a lack of good energy. But in near desperation I remembered the stories I had read on the internet before about low heartrate training such as in the style of Hadd at letsrun, or Phil Maffetone, and others. So I calculated my MAF number and since then, have pretty much run exclusively under my MAF limit.
It took about a week, but running became pleasurable again. My legs began to feel better. My heart, physically and emotionally, began to feel better. At first I had to mix in a fair bit of walking with my running, but I’m doing that less and less now. The first week of MAF running saw a 10:35 pace in 31.1 miles. This past week I ran 57.8 miles at an average pace of 10:16. Yesterday’s run was at 10:06 pace and today’s was 10:04. Of course, it was cooler this past week than 4 weeks ago, but I’m pretty sure that my base aerobic fitness has improved a lot.
That was the remarkable thing about today’s run. I never really felt strained during it or gassed by the end of it. I could have kept running and it would have been fun to do so, but I had some things to get done and of course I want to be careful about not increasing mileage too fast and too much to new unprecedented levels for me.
Also towards the end, I thought about things which I had proven myself to be wrong about:
1. I can’t run barefoot. I think now after 26 months and more than 3200 miles of running either barefoot or in Xeros, I’ve been proven wrong at how crazy I thought that was when I first heard about back in 2008.
2. I can’t run every day. 175 day streak now, with today’s run capping off my highest mileage week ever, and with 2 consecutive days of 10 or more miles. I just needed to learn how to run really easy, so thank you, Phil Maffetone and thank you, Lyme disease, for putting enough extra stress on my body’s system to make me try Maffetone styled training.
I was wrong in those beliefs, although I once earnestly believed them to be valid. I once thought that I could only manage 4 days of running per week — more than that and I would run myself down or injure myself.
Most of us are pretty fierce about thinking we are right and I think, on balance, most of us hate to be wrong. It’s a hard thing to learn or accept, but there are opportunities sometimes to learn more and become a bit more than what you once were if you allow that you might be wrong.
Running barefoot and minimalist taught me that I could love running. That will not be true for everyone, but for me it provided the fundamental connection of sensation, connection to the earth and my evolutionary roots and feedback to teach me about love of running. That love then drove me on trying to run every day, trying to find time each day for that, trying to find enough energy even when Lyme disease left me struggling to find anything extra in the tanks.
I was wrong. It seems it’s not so bad to have been wrong and learned.