12 Step Recovery For Mileage Junkies

My name is Scott, and I’m a mileage junkie.

The first step is admitting you have a problem, right? It feels good to say it out loud…like a weight off my chest. Now if I can just get some weight off the rest of my body.

I’ve been reading “Be Iron Fit”, and while it’s mostly a collection of the same advice and information I’ve read before, I think I’m actually letting stuff sink into my thick skull this time. I’ll chalk that up to the author’s effective way of preventing the material.

The mileage junkie aspect of my personality is just the tip of the iceberg of training mistakes I’ve made, but it’s the only one I’m trying to address right now. If you don’t know, a mileage junkie is someone who focuses their energy on racking up miles in training. This indirectly makes you a “pace junkie” by my estimation, and that’s a much more accurate description of me.

I like to tell myself I’m running on heart rate and not feel, but that’s not true. The truth is I usually try to walk a thin line between feeling ok and pushing my pace, and then pay attention to my heart rate…afterwards, when filling out my log.

I justify this by telling myself I’m training to throw caution to the wind for the running leg on race day based on feel and guts. That may not be an altogether horrible idea for sprints and olys, where my biggest fear is finishing with something left in the tank. But for 1/2 and full iron distance I’ve finally decided to give in a listen to what the science has to say about things. In most other areas of life, I start off by listening to science first, but in this case I’m going to blame my superstition and stubbornness on previous marathon training programs that specified mileage and tricked me into obsessing about pace.

I’m generally more disciplined about heart rate zones on the bike during training, at least for 80% of the ride. The trouble is, I end up looking at my computer and getting worried about average speed. Then I spend the last 20% of the ride jacking my heart rate up to see if I can squeeze out another .2 mph for the ride. Again, probably doesn’t hurt me much for shorter races, but it’s just not workable for 140.6.

I’ve done one 70.3, and the program I used referenced specified HR training and runs based on zone 2 minutes instead of miles. Of course, the first thing I’d do is figure out the number of miles I need to run based on “my pace”, then proceed to go out and try to run even faster than that. I ended up veering off of this schedule to suit my own needs. It worked out…for that distance. That time anyway. But I know I’m going to have to humble myself to the actual data and listen to some people much wiser than me to get where I want to be for 140.6.

I will train in zone 2.

I will train in zone 2.

I will train in zone 2.

I will train in zone 2.

I have much more to say on this, but I won’t spill it all it into a single post. I haven’t finished the book yet anyway. Right now I’m focusing on re-wiring my brain before I start training for a 70.3 the way the schedule says. That’s the second step.

Training for a 140.6 in January 2013 will be steps 3-12.

I’m glad this 12 step program doesn’t call for me to make amends.

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