We all have different analogies about training and racing. For some people, the image of a warrior resonates. For others, that of the tortoise, patient and stalwart. Yesterday, we were stretching with some of our girls when Will offered these words of wisdom (or some iteration of these), shared with him by his college coach:
“At the beginning of the season, you build a base, like a block of metal about to be forged into a knife. You’re solid, but without edges. You work through the season to refine those edges, to sharpen down and sharpen down until finally, you’re a blade, sharp, cutting, but also fragile.”
We were talking about this in the context of us nearing our peak race, the State Cross Country meet at the end of October. Our girls have been working incredibly hard and are pushing through huge workouts on tired legs because we haven’t tapered off volume or intensity yet. Most are doing well, but some are starting to feel tired or even fragile, and this was Will’s way of letting them know that this is part of being a runner. You are always teetering on the brink between excellent fitness and injury.
I’m not even a block of metal yet. The double hit of the summer of organic chemistry and the unexpected onslaught that has been VTResponse leaves me far into the Fall with a limited base, despite the fact that I’m a mere 6 months or so from Vermont City Marathon. (By the way, don’t worry if you haven’t even committed to VCM; I have goals that require a much more significant build up than the traditional 16 weeks.)
For the next 6 weeks or so, I’ll work on continuing to build my base, getting my average miles per week up to between 65 and 70. Besides playtime with the girls, there won’t be much speed work during this time. Instead, I will focus on being strong and uninjured, steel-like if you will.
What’s your favorite part of the training cycle? What’s your least favorite part?