Sunday, June 20, 2010

Natural and Extraordinary

I finally started reading "Born to Run" this week. Chris McDougall does a superb job of playing with seeming conflict - whether it's between crazy characters, business interests, and scientists/doctors or the natural act of running vs the extraordinary accomplishments of the greatest runners.

One of the more interesting ideas explored in the book is that distance running is something that seperates us from other animals as much as language or the knowledge of our eventual death. If you compare us with our nearest genetic cousins all the physical differences can be explained through running. Why do we have less hair than a Chimpanzee? Stand upright? Even have bigger butts? It's all related our ancestors who were biomechanically advantaged to running longer distances surviving in greater numbers. Most likely it was related to our ability to chase prey for long periods of time. A gazelle might be able to out run us over 400 meters or even a mile - but, give us a day to track an animal over 10 or 20 miles and the animal will collapse - becoming easy pickings for the human willing and able to push long enough.

Remember - many generations of your ancestors survived only because they were able to do something extraordinary every day of their lives. The experience of those long lost generations lives in our bones, our veins, our lungs, our muscles, our tendons, our feet. Don't kid yourself that you will ever test your body the way that some long lost family member did in pre-history. We aren't besting them when we run, we are merely channeling them.

As I enter into my hardest summer of training ever it's a great reminder. Instead of focusing on grinding through the hard miles and heat - hoping for everything to come together on a Sunday in early October - I should enjoy every mile listening for my body to show me the way. Or as Caballo Blanco says - Easy, Light, Smooth, and Fast.

Last Week
Monday: 7 miles
Tuesday morning: 6 miles
Tuesday evening: 10.5 miles
Wednesday morning: 4 miles
Wednesday evening: 13 miles 8X1200m 3 min rest (3:50, 3:48.7, 3:47.5, 3:46.1, 3:47.1, 3:45.7, 3:45.8, 3:43.9)
Thursday: 13.5 miles
Friday: 10.5 miles
Saturday: 18 miles 7 miles tempo (38:07) probably a little short
Sunday: 12 miles
Total: 94.5 miles

This Week
Monday: 8 miles
Tuesday morning: 4 miles
Tuesday evening: 12 miles 5X1 mi I pace 800 rest
Wednesday: 13 miles
Thursday: 10.5 miles
Friday: 6 miles
Saturday: 20 miles 5X1 mi @ T pace with 1 min rest
Sunday: 10.5 miles
Total: 84 miles

1 comment:

PR said...

I just finished the same book last week. It's a lot better than I thought it would be, and not as preachy, either. My favorite takeaway is exactly the same one you just described.