Monday, March 25, 2019

How To Train When You Have No Race

2019 is an interesting dilemma for me.

Quick background story. 2016 was the best year of my running life. 2017 I badly overtrained. 2018 I had to work my way back. There were some ups and downs, but a top 10 finish at a very competitive Oak Bay 10k and winning the Texada Island trail half marathon led me to believe I was on the verge of breaking through once again.

But in 2019 I really have no races. My vacation time has me going on great adventures in the American desert and the Mediterranean, and my daughter is getting married. Now I could sneak down to Vancouver on a weekend maybe in November, or I could try to squeeze in Prince Rupert's Cannery Race as a goal race, but in all likelihood I am waiting until the spring of 2020 before I race again. And maybe the fall of 2020 before I can truly breakthrough, if all goes well.

It's kinda tough to keep that feeling of breaking through for that long. And training at the level necessary to breakthrough is dangerous. Extended base training is better than pushing too hard without the goal race to measure your progress.

It's also tough when your closest running friends are training at a higher level than your maintenance training allows. It could be a lonely running year.

So how does one train like this for a year or more?

Firstly, I'm embracing the opportunity. Not only do I get to go on some amazing trips (did I mention we're going to Italy and Greece!), but I will get the opportunity to do much more hiking and camping. Those outdoor activities I have always loved in the past, but had to put on the backburner to get key training runs. I will also get more trail running in, rather than pounding the roads all the time. I am greatly excited by this.

Secondly, I'm going to integrate opportunities to improve on a weekly basis. Hopefully by the next true training block, I will have turned these into positive habits.

Last week, I began a conscious effort to hydrate better. Not just for runs, but at all times. More water. It will help me with my heart rate training and with my recovery. I have a bad habit of not drinking enough water, and that changes now.

This week I have begun to focus on flexibility. I specifically have focused on the loosening my hips so that I can get better leg lift and leg rotation. I am terribly inflexible, and often my hip flexors ache. If I can loosen them up, I can run more efficiently.

Next week I will have to find a new focus. But if I can consistently work on these opportunities to improve, I will be so much further ahead when I finally do get to start training for a race.

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