Training Smarter, Not Harder

In one month I will be running Canada’s Army Run for the second time. I haven’t kept a journal of this training, but looking back at what I had to say last year makes me realize just how far I have come. My first full year of “official” training has created a monster, but this monster has begun to figure out how to push when it’s time, and to back off when necessary.

Goals – Last year, to finish. Arbitrary time goal of 2:30, which I blew away with a surprise 2:08 finish. This year, no surprises. I have been crafting my time goal using heart rate and pacing. Working goal is 1:55 but that might be optimistic 😉 – and this time I know I’m being realistic!

Form – Last year I spent most of my training trying not to be injured – I had a nasty case of posterior shin splints as a result of my forefoot landing (which I thought was my midfoot). Over the year, my body awareness has improved to the extent where I can tell when my pelvis is out of alignment because my inner left thigh feels slightly tighter. And that’s only one year! I feel strong, solid, and comfortable when I run. Some might say I could be pushing harder but since I want to do this until I’m 100 I’ll focus on my goal to run injury-free.

Pace – On average quite similar, but the way I approach my pace each run is dramatically different. Every time I add a new element, most recently my Heart Rate Monitor, the difference in pacing between LSD/Easy and Speed sessions gets wider. Looking back, my pace was pretty consistent, I don’t think I ever did any real “low intensity” runs. My ego used to drive me to shave seconds off every run, but I now understand the meaning of “train smarter, not harder”. It doesn’t feel like I’m warding off injury all the time. I am still making progress speed-wise, but also building capillaries and blood volume on slower runs.


Distance – Also on par with last year’s training plan. Using heart rate as a guide I actually do “recovery” runs on easy days. Perceived effort level over the distance is off-the-charts lower than last year, for a few reasons – namely the recent full marathon, running at 6am to avoid the heat, and spreading the miles over 5 days instead of 4.

Fueling – Perhaps I have achieved a higher threshold of glycogen storage (thank you full marathon!), but I rarely take gels or even water with me. I did a 11 mile run last Sunday and didn’t take anything with me. Some people would say that’s absolutely crazy, but I had a great steak dinner the night before, and a Vega Pre-Workout Energizer shake before I left, promptly chugged a glass of water after, and chowed down on some serious eggs, steak, and bacon when I got home.

Each goal race is an opportunity to experiment with a training plan. I’m flexible enough to consider almost any plan, but once it’s decided I am completely dedicated to what I create. When I cross that finish line I will know the result of all this experimentation. I already have my next experiment lined up, and I am looking forward to next August when I can see what has changed in another year.


About Fjola Melody

Yogi, DJ, runner, cat lover, coffee drinker! Oh ya and the occasional beer. Life is good!

Posted on August 26, 2013, in Running Journal. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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