Obsession

Sometimes a coach will throw us a puzzler. Particularly if he’s in a book, and you cant grab him and gently ask “What the heck is THIS?”
This weeks puzzler was a workout from Brad Hudson, grandly entitled Specific-Endurance Intervals. After running easily for an hour, I was to run at marathon pace for a minute, then easy pace for a minute. Repeat 15 times. I didn’t need to count them of course, just keep doing it for half an hour. Then run home at an easy pace, thinking “That was so easy, did I really get any benefit?” The realization came much later that it was really a pacekeeping exercise and I’d flunked it badly. I had run the MP portions way too fast, and the intervals too slowly. I should have been alternating between 7:30 and about 8:00 pace, instead of 7:00 and 9:00. Which the is what the Garmin dutifully reported later. We live and learn. I’ll do better next time. Friday’s run has an 8-mile segment at marathon pace. OK, I know how to do that!

Now for a digression into Obsession or, more generously, Dedication. Some would say that running a ton of miles every week, with the ostensible objective of knocking a little bit from ones race times, is a little obsessive. It would be, if that’s all it was for, but of course the task itself has it’s own rewards. I was reminded of this when we went to the movies at the weekend. “Julie and Julia” is about obsession/dedication in the field of cookery, and some of it looked quite familiar to this runner. Early on we see Julia Child (Meryl Streep) in a Parisian cookery class full of men, all of whom can chop onions with intimidating efficiency. So she goes home and chops her way through a sackful of onions. At the end of it she’s still not too stylish, but she’s fast, and satisfied. That struck a chord. We train, we get better, we gain satisfaction. And from time to time we go racing.

Speaking of which, I’ll be doing some racing soon, never fear. And then there will be race reports, which is what you want to see, right?

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3 Responses to “Obsession”


  1. 1 Flo September 15, 2009 at 6:23 am

    So true about the pace-keeping idea, that’s why when people on the forums proudly admit to running their MP runs appreciably faster than their goal pace, I want to grab them and not gently ask “don’t you realize you totally lost the whole point of the workout?” But for those Hudson fartlek type things, I’m sure it doesn’t matter so much. Just be good on your bona fide MP run, ok? 😉

    Looking forward to those race reports!

  2. 3 ESG/Ron September 23, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    Nice blog, and great insight into a coach’s puzzler. Learning accurate pacing in 1-minute intervals can be very, very valuable come race day. Keep training strong, as you have been. -ESG (aka, Ron)


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Race PRs

5K20:43 (LMJS 6/28/09
10K43:44
12K54:36 (Across Bay 3/21/10)
15K1:09:51 (LMJS 19/27/09)
Half1:31:28 (Kaiser 2012
Marathon 3;13:14 (CIM '11)

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