Hola amigos! Long time no talk! Is Halloween really here already? Have I already been in Eugene for two months? What year is it?
Life continues as always, but as my workload's increased I've had less and less time for blogs. I'm able to read a few on my walk/bus to and from school (so, about my bike... the piece of junk derailleur broke off, which I took as a sign - along with my hate for biking - that I needed to find a new means of transportation. Bus it is! Eugene's bus system puts New York's to shame), but I'm currently rocking a 232 unread count. Whoops. That's what Christmas break is for, right?
The fall colors have been killer and it's been a joy to run in them, although running on leaf-covered, uneven sidewalks can be unnerving.
The UO website makes campus look incredibly ugly, which I don't understand. Take a picture in any direction this time of year and it's beautiful!
Hike to Blue Pool. Bluest water I've ever seen, not that you can tell from this. Let's play "spot the human in a red shirt!"
In hobby jogging news, I hit 30.5 miles this week! This surprised me as a busy schedule forced me to do a fair amount of run-juggling, something I'm still trying to force my anal-runner-self to be okay with. I'm typically a "run now, work will hopefully get done later" kind of person, but I've realized that in grad school, it needs to be "work now, running will hopefully get done later." I should turn that into one of those motivational Pinterest pictures.
I also completed my longest post-marathon run yesterday: 9 miles! On the one hand, it's depressing that it's taken four months to get back to that distance but on the other hand, the run itself was not physically taxing at all. It's nice to see I haven't lost all my fitness!
My higher mileage this week reminded me of something I wanted to share with you guys: don't forget the importance of slow, easy miles.
Some people think slow mileage is "junk mileage." They believe that every run should have a purpose, and from what I can tell, that's code for "every run should be hard and/or fast." I suppose that could work well for someone who only runs three days a week (these plans are typically of the "run less, run faster" variety), but I think that easy miles are every bit as important as tempos/intervals/what-have-you.
The Hansons taught me this. Did I even need to tell you that? The Hansons taught me everything I think I know about running. And under their tutelage, I became the queen of slow, easy running. The majority of my runs were done 1-2 minutes slower than my goal pace (9:44). At first, running 11:38 miles seemed insane, especially since I had always (stubbornly) considered 9:30-10:00 to be my "easy" pace. Yeah right, Jeano!
As my mileage increased and I hit one new running milestone after another, I realized that none of it would have been possible without my slow runs.
The Hansons talk about a lot of physiological adaptations that result from slow running, such as the recruitment of slow-twitch fibers, using more fat (and less glycogen) as fuel, bigger mitochondria ("does this training plan make my mitochondria look fat?"), capillary development, blah blah blah. I'm no scientist so these things are largely meaningless to me. I was most interested in the structural changes that occur, namely tendon and joint development that assist the body in handling the higher-impact forces of fast running. This is important for everyone, but I felt it to be especially important for my minimalist-ish self.
If you want to know more about the benefits of slow runs... Google it. Or go ask Coach Holly. She's all-knowing and all-seeing.
Wait, why am I talking about slow running again? Oh, right, because I had forgotten how important it is. For the past few weeks, I've rushed through the majority of my runs, either because it felt awesome or because I had shit to do. I ran much faster than usual for many of my runs for two or three weeks, and was suddenly shocked (shocked, I tell you!) to find that one day, my body just ached. A lot. Apparently, feeling great immediately following a run doesn't mean you're in the clear. Eventually, it will catch up with you, as it did me. The past few days all of my runs have been done at a slower than 11:00 pace. My ego's a bit bruised (it's much harder for me to run slowly in Eugene than it was in Anchorage, probably because there are so many runner studs here), but my body's back!
Question: thoughts on slow running? Do you run a lot faster when you run by a lot of people like I do?