“I need to pick a different day for my speedwork,” I told my coach Wednesday night.
My current training consists of a Saturday morning long run, the PR Fitness Wednesday night run, and one day of ‘speedwork’ – tempo run, intervals, hill work, progressions, or similar torture, which has usually been Tuesday. All well and good.
Except that with my cutback in Aikido due to my hurt shoulder, I’d added a Tuesday session of strength training at Body Specs. So I’d put off the tempo run until Wednesday afternoon, and here I was that evening, putting in my second set of six miles. (And they’d thoughtfully started without me, resulting in more, unassigned, speedwork.)
“So,” Coach said, “what do you want? To get stronger at the gym, or get faster on the road?”
Well, that was a no-brainer. “Both, of course. I want it all!”
She ought to have expected that response. When I first hired her, right about this time three years ago, I’d outlined my goals; a marathon in 2011, then in 2012 a 500-mile bike ride and 50K ultra. Oh, and I wanted to get faster, too, and win at least one age group award. (I can’t remember if I mentioned my Aikido training, too.) “So what do you think?” I’d asked her. “I think you have a lot of goals,” she’d replied. Yet I accomplished them all, and more.
I know there will come a day when I stop getting faster. But as the sign says, today is not that day. I don’t think I’ve peaked yet, so why not give it a try? Coach has no problem with that, but points out that by trying for too much I could get injured. And in just over a week I will turn 52 – by no means a barrier to improving, but I shouldn’t expect my body to respond the way it would have at 22.
So is it realistic to want to have it all? I’m a baby boomer – isn’t that what we were about? Readers of sufficient years may recall the 1980s Michelob Light commercials that said we could. They reflected that age pretty well, I think. We were free of the 1970s “national malaise” and the economy and Wall Street were booming. Today, in the 20/20 vision of hindsight, this former Yuppie can look back and see the developing attitude of entitlement which, I believe, has led to some pretty reprehensible conduct in today’s corporations and our government.
Sorry. Back to running and exercise. I do them to keep my body and mind fit, and for self improvement. Is it unrealistic, or even unhealthy, for me to want or expect improvements in both strength and speed at the same time? I don’t think so, not yet at least. I explained this to Coach Marie, after stopping to tie a shoelace and catching up yet again.
“Everyone says that,” she said, shaking her head. “That’s the trouble I have with all my clients. Sometimes I think I just need to create an extra day in the week.”
“Good idea,” I said. “Get to work on that.”