In my old life, most projects began with a SWOT analysis. Strengths. Weaknesses. Opportunities. Threats. As I was out for a recovery run the other day, I started to think about my running SWOT analysis. I’m a bit cynical by nature and often focus on my weaknesses, but it occurred to me that acknowledging my strengths might have some value too.
- Running Easy Runs Easy: I’ve never been one to race the easy days. Unless my run is a workout or a race, I don’t worry about pace. My long runs are easily 90 seconds slower than my race pace. I wear a heartrate monitor on key recovery days and don’t fret if that under 135 pace is 8:30 or 10:00 pace. I still recall an article from before I loathed Ryan Hall where he talks about running 9 minute miles on recovery days. If it was good enough for Ryan Hall in his heyday, it’s good enough for me.
- Eating Good Food: I’m not perfect. I love anything gummy and most days, salt can get me too. That being said, I eat a mostly excellent diet with enough energy to power my day. I eat more carbohydrates than most people need because of my training load but balance that with high quality protein and good fat. I always refuel within 30 minutes of my runs. For long runs, I have almond milk with protein powder and a whole wheat wrap with almond butter. For shorter runs, I go with water with protein powder.
- Basic Strength: I’ve done the same strength circuit before bed since I was a freshman in college and I reflexively do squats when I brush my teeth. What was once an attempt to maintain beach abs is now a habit. It includes Jane Fondas, crunches, bicycles and pushups. When all else fails and my schedule gets crazy, at least I get a little something in.
Weaknesses (so tempting to go on a roll here)
- My head: I am working on this, but I am the master at mentally defeating myself in workouts and in races. By the time I hit the start line, I’ve already assessed who I’m going to lose to. Not a great way to go.
- Sleep: Medical school is kind of ruining this for me, but my sleep has been subpar over the past months and I’m starting to feel it in workouts. I really need a solid 7 hours to feel human but often hum along on 6 and coffee. I’m using SleepCycle to try to reign this in. Although I’m not sold on the science, it is a very good measure of what time I got in bed and how many hours I’m sleeping. I’m often amazed at how much I overestimate my sleep.
- Weight Training: Right now, our gym situation just isn’t that convenient. Because we walk or bus to school, we don’t have a parking permit which means we can’t go to the gym until 3:30 and since one of us coaches through all seasons, this limits our available hours for the gym to about 6 pm til 8 pm, exactly when we eat dinner.
- Our new house (we’re moving in July) has a HUGE basement which means that I can get a treadmill!!! I know no one has ever been excited for a treadmill, but with our schedule, it offers me the opportunity to train regardless of my call schedule. It’s also a half mile jog to the gym, which will hopefully improve my weight lifting weakness from above.
- A surgically repaired foot
- A new PT that I’m really jiving with
- The explosion in interest in Olde Bones and training partners that provides
- Medical School
- Father Time
What is your running SWOT analysis?