>> Wednesday, October 13, 2010
In the past, I've considered myself to be "self-coached." For the 8 weeks leading up to the TC 10 Mile (which was 10 days ago) I worked with coach Jen Harrison. Now that I'm training "on my own" again, I realize that in my pre-Jen days, I was NOT "self-coached." I was "uncoached." And there's a big difference.
Let me explain.
Here are a few thoughts from my "pre-Jen" days:
- In the past, if I were going for a hard tempo run, my thoughts while running were "just go fast."
- Intervals on the track were just to be "hard." No specific time goals, just "hard."
- If I was headed out for a 35 mile long ride, I could be part way in when I'd say "I'm going pretty fast, and I'm a little short on time - I'll turn this into a 20 mile hard tempo ride."
- If I wasn't holding a fast speed on the bike, I might say, "Oh, you can stay out here for another 30 minutes to an hour - ease up a bit and call this a 'long ride.'"
THIS. WASN'T. RIGHT.
Those things made me UNCOACHED, not SELF-COACHED.
If I were self-coached, I'd be saying something like "Today's ride will be a tempo ride. You'll WU for 5 miles. Then sustain an average pace of XXmph for 25 miles which will include 4 x 5:00 all-out efforts. Then ease it home for a final 10 miles." I would NOT veer from that plan mid-workout.
If I were self-coached, I'd be saying something like "Hit the track for 4x1600. Start at 5:45 and drop 5-10 seconds for each interval. Last one is ALL OUT and fastest by 10 seconds or more. Stretch well afterwards."
If you are SELF-COACHED, take a good look at how you train yourself. I bet more than 50% of you out there will find holes where you are just UNCOACHED. I'm not trying to be an ass - I'm not trying to say "You're all FOOLS and I've got this ALL FIGURED OUT!" You read my blog - you know that I'm full of shit and have NOTHING figured out. ;) I'm just trying to highlight the fact that all of us self-coached people could probably be better coaches for ourselves. And I'm a prime example.
This idea of me previously being UNcoached instead of SELF-coached popped into my head on Monday evening during my first long run since the 10 mile (and my first workout with any effort since I stopped working with Jen). I started by being SOOOO proud of myself. In the past, I'd just go out and run 9 miles hard. That led me to some major over-training issues a year ago, even though I was only running 15-22 miles per week. So I was going to do this run RIGHT: I was thinking like Jen, and I told myself "WU for 2 miles, HARD for 5, and CD for 2." That was NEVER something I'd do on my own in the past. I thought Jen would be proud.
Super! I was being my own coach! Right?........
No. Not quite. When I hit those "hard" 5 miles, I had not previously defined what "hard" was going to be. Was I to build and keep getting faster? Was I to maintain sub-6s? Sub-5:50s? Just run "hard" and see what the times are? I NEEDED TO DEFINE THIS AHEAD OF TIME, NOT DURING THE WORKOUT.
So during that workout, I just ran "hard," and felt a little lost as to what I was doing. I realized I REALLY need to better define my workouts to be able to get the most out of them. I ended up running WU miles of 7:59 and 7:44, followed by "hard" miles of 6:10, 6:01, 6:18, 6:20, and 5:45. That super fast last mile is "old Steve" coming out to play. That's me taking it TOO easy in the middle for fear that I won't have enough left in the end. (Remind you of this post?) I CAN'T revert back to that. On hard runs, I need to define my pace in those middle miles to get the most out of the workout.
So here's my plan:
I need to WRITE DOWN my workout plans ahead of time. I think I'll work backwards from whatever races I plan on doing and define what I want to do (roughly) each week. I'll try to well define the 2-3 months before next year's "A" races. Then, before each week begins, I'll nail down the specifics for each workout.
Note: I won't be THIS structured on ALL of my workouts. I don't want to burn myself out. For my run tomorrow, I'll just do an easy-ish medium distance run. So don't think I'm going TOTALLY "Type A" on my training. Many of the thoughts above will be for workouts a few weeks before a race - NOT for everyday winter training.