First of all, I am almost a year into trail running and blogging about it. Last year at this time I was reading blogs and just getting myself healthy from a sore hip/ITB. I was so new and still am. But the blogosphere has given me a peak into this other world that's online and the insight therein that we find so cool, even sickenly so (I can see how people could spend their whole lives online) has certainly given my running a little electricity. I wonder if it's truly made me a better runner?
I have to kinda parallel the blogosphere and the trail running since the two have been side-by-side so to speak, at least chronologically. My emphasis with the blog has to do with those whom I've met, the feedback and insight I've received that has helped me develop as a runner, at least a student of running discourse. So let me summarize the blobbers I've come to know.
1. I have to start with JW. From this guy, I've learned a lot about dedication and the importance of maintaining a playful attitude while immersed in such devotion. I started following his blog in. . . 2006? Yeah, I think so. It's been a while. I've been along for the ride. In fact, an old friend of mine used to train with him and I remember him talking about JW, how new Walsh was eventhough his road results were pretty sick. You can absolutely trust that the guy has maintained a very keen focus on his goals, been very committed but the work never gets goon-like. He's been a great model in terms of how to stay level-headed, healthy and successful. I don't think those of us who read realize the work he does day-in-and-day-out. I can only imagine. He's the champ.
- Focus on training and diet
- Be consistent with the regimen
- Sacrifice for the goals (develop short term that will long term)
- Have fun
2. Beth, James' twin (I bet they'll have twins some day God willin') is another freakin inspiration. Her skills are crazy. Like JW, I've learned a lot about staying focused and having fun. They're food blog is not read enough. I'm lame. It's a great resource. Given her recent marathon effort, I can only imagine where she's headed. Oly trials? We'll be watching. One of the things that sparked my approach to this review (summarizing my favorite blogs) was what she said in her marathon race report. I paraphrase, but she said it's time to take a break from running and be gym rat for awhile. As I will explain in my own initial approach to 2009, that's what I need to do. Thanks, Beth.
- Be a foodie
- Be a gym rat
- Be focused,
- Sacrifice and
- Have fun!
From GZ I'm learning about focus (the guy has "Pikes on the membrane") and consistency. His family values are awesome, so he's an all-around great read. I was drawn to trail/mountain running because of that kind of spirit. GZ embodies it all, pure of heart and a little nuts. He's definitely keeping it real. He makes his own ale. Are you kidding? He's got the mountain spirit in a bottle. Ask for some and he'll pour.
- Consistent mileage
- Train to run (these work-outs are going to be big in my approach to 2009)
- Training (GZ talks a lot of running discourse. He's got a plan. He's tinkering)
- Just do it!
His blog provides readers with a ton of info. His new lay-out is exceptionally helpful. He is a talented writer and thinker. He's a generous coach and friend although I hardly know him. Based on the conversations that go down over yonder, you can tell his generosity and character are big with the endurance efforting community.
He's taught me a lot about training. About HR training. I rebelled last summer. I got frustrated. This week I'm strapping the monitor back on for some weekly runs. I didn't really get injured this year, my first year of trail and mountain running. Sure I wasn't running 50 milers, but I was consistent and did a handful of half marathons on very hilly terrain aside from a lot of mountain trail running. I'm pretty sure the MONTHS of aerobic training had a lot to do with that. I wasn't cross-training. I was just running. I've never run that much in my life. I averaged 50 mile weeks for a few months in a row. Didn't get injured. I owe a lot of that to Lucho. Thanks. Reading his blog can be a regular lesson in exercise physiology/science. Indelible stuff.
And the man's family values are impeccable. He's got it (and I think my favorite post of all was that one about his favorite things --the boots, the tatoos, the lotion. . . .)! Lucho has style.
- Study the science (read the Noakes book you checked-out you idiot. Read a chapter!)
- Push the training (Tim talks a lot about the stress of over-training, the benefits)
- HR training. Especially at the beginning, in Base. Nail it. It pays-off down the road
- Family values. Get them, keep them. Build on them. Perfect them.
ChuckieV, Kerrie, Trevor, Simon Whitfield, Scott Dunlap . . . and many more.
The blogosphere has been killer. Now what about the running in 2008?
I remember talking to Tim about 2008 back in the early spring. I was in the midst of my HR training with Temecula Xduro on the horizon. He said just train right through it. He asked me what my goals were back then. I said I turn 40 in Dec. so being competitive as in Masters would be cool. He responded that 2008 should then just be a base for that. In other words, my entire 2008 season should just be laying down a base from which I can build in 2009 and beyond.
When I think about that, 2008 doesn't seem so unsuccessful. Ironically, I won my age group at Temecula and probably decided to run Hawaii based on that. I don't know if I would have run Worlds if I hadn't qualified. I felt a little justfied. With the way things turned-out here at season's end, I felt initially like 2008 was a bit of a let down. BUT if I remember what Tim and I talked about, 2008 was simply an extended training period. I'm going to go with that.
- Consistency - I demonstrated that I can consistently put together some weeks of decent mileage. I fact months.
- Durability - I was never laid-up because of running injury. In fact, I was never really sick until this last month. My ability to train consistenly can not be overlooked. Like I said, I think the MAF (base building) running was key to this health maintenance. Jump-roping helped too, as did some days on the elliptical and the stair-master (actually I didn't hit the s.m. really at all). Lucho and ChuckieV are pretty much the Base masters. I don't think one can deny that approach early in a season (on a side note, I noticed Angela is doing some hiking these days). In a world where anaerobic efforts seem to pay the most, the aerobic work-out can be hugely beneficial.
- Enthusiasm - I definitely want to train and get better. I want to travel and race. I went to L.A. a couple of times, Vegas, and Hawaii this year, not to mention Temecula. I will put in the planning and set aside the time to race. This is a life-style I only want to improve, refine, grow. I want to meet more people involved, build those relationships. I've already met a bunch of folk. The community and its goals drive me to train and become better. This is a good thing.
- Discipline - Although I was consistent, so I got the work-outs in each day/week, I still wasn't very disciplined. Discipline touches on a several fronts.
- I need to get to bed earlier. I'm writing this post at nearly 11:00 at night. I'll be asleep at 12:00 just because. I have to stop that. I have to be under the covers by 10:00. Even though that seems late for some, that's a start. I have to do that. Which will address another aspect of my life that needs discipline: training.
- I need to train in the early a.m. According to my diet plans, my first meal is affected by my early morning work-out which I have to do. Even if it's doing core work in my living room, I have to get work done in the a.m. (ideally before others are up!) GZ, JW, Lucho are all good examples of that. That's part of the dedication and sacrifice that have to be present for this work.
- My diet is horrible! I have to be much more focused and CONSISTENT on what I eat. I'm going to post and querry feedback on this front. I need better snacks (Beth and JW). I need easier mealing so I don't fall back on some plate of crap! Come on now!
- Core and strength work. This is a huge focus for me early on. I'm following Beth into the gym-rat mode. I have to get more "fit." I don't mean fit as in, hey you're running well, you're fit. I need to get more fit, as in, wow, Matt, you actually don't fit those jeans anymore because they're too big. I am not being weird. I am pudgy, which is a really nice way saying I'm fat. I am. Even if I'm carrying 8 lbs. too much. Go for a run carrying an 8 lbs. dumb bell. I ran Hawaii about 15 lbs. over-weight I kid you not. I was eating like I was 10. I threw in the towel. Just ask the mud pie at Duke's on my birthday (my wife ordered it without my knowledge, the staff sang, and we all dove in.). My point: get in the gym, lift, do core work, and get ripped. I have to look like a runner. I look like a beer soft-ball league guy. Mountain running? You're kidding. This is my biggest peave right now about myself. I am a gym rat starting now.
- My other weaknesses which include speed and climbing, a refined training program, etc., will be addressed if I'm more disciplined. I have people to model, to whom I can ask questions, etc. I have books to read, and training plans to download. What I need is discipline. Going back to JW, the guy is nails on so many of these fronts. And the results speak volumes. It's D-day.
Right now the focus is Long slow distance, and core and strength work. That's it. Races? I'll post later about that and more specific thoughts on food, etc. Good night.