May 14, 2011 § 1 Comment
Recently, Mighty Mur Lafferty talked about Leveling Up in her I Should Be Writing podcast. She talked about how one of the things that troubled her in her writing career is that there are not clear-cut mile posts that show you are getting better as a writer. She contrasted that to Dungeon & Dragons-type games where there are distinct and clear levels that characters can achieve.
Running does not have that problem–there is a simple and clear way to measure our progress and status.
This week, I leveled up. I am following Jack Daniels’ training program found in Daniels’ Running Formula. Daniels recommends that runners use the time from a recent race to establish their VDOT (an approximation of your VO2 Max). The paces you run for your work-outs are determined by your VDOT. My paces were based off of a race I did in the beginning of February.
Thursday, I was scheduled to do a three-mile tempo run. I did not look at my watch until I had run a half mile–I was running 45 seconds per mile faster than I was supposed to be and, more importantly, feeling strong. When I went through a mile still running significantly under the prescribed pace the workout shifted into a time-trial. I pushed reasonably hard for the entire 3.1 miles and ended up running about 30 seconds faster than I did in February.
Nearly enough to push myself up two levels in Daniels’ VDOT calculations.
And this was in Practice; “we’re talking about practice“.
It is nice to know that the training is having an effect. Some days, when I’m trudging through an allegedly easy day much slower than my target race pace and feeling awful doing it, worry floods in, “if I can barely run this 6-miler at this slow pace, how am I gonna run 13 miles faster?”
Confidence is nice to have. To have an authority like Daniels or Eric McMillian say that my 5k time predicts that I should be able to come close to my goal time and to have used their predictions in the past and know they are reasonable, removes a burden.
Helps prevent panic.