Another week of 80, but this time I only 6 days. Although I didn't have any workouts because time constraints were often high, I did have some really good aerobic runs. I felt really good this week, the slowest run I recorded was 6:14 pace, and there were a good 4 or so runs at 5:50 pace or faster.
I've been thinking a good bit about mileage lately. It's always surprised me how I was able to run 80+ miles a week the summer after junior year having never done more than probably 20 mpw before, and last year when I was running 90-110 miles a week I was able to run 26's and 27's for the 8k on virtually no speed work, no tempos, just going out and running easy every day. There are people like Cam Levins, Gerry Lindgren and Jim Ryun who had drastic improvements, far surpassing what anyone thought they could do, very quickly. The method? High mileage. The price? Short-lived careers(here's to Cam having a resurgence). Most people who desire to do well in running really enjoy it, and want to do it for as long as they can. People that want to break records, turn pro, etc, they, for the most part, want to be involved in running for the rest of their lives, whether it be akin to Lagat still running pro at 42, or continuing to coach runners or do workshops, like Salazar or Hall.
I've stated many times on this blog that, while I do enjoy bettering myself and pushing my limits, running isn't my life. I've always been top of my class while giving my attention and effort to things like running, student council, clubs, friends, etc. I like to think if I was ever inclined to give my full attention to academics, the sky really would be the limit. I've never struggled to learn something(knock on wood), I can miss days of my most advanced classes and show up and not miss a beat, and I really am excited to see what I can do in the real world and put my mind to it.
But then there's running.
Something I'm passionate about, but I've never felt like I've got what I've put in. And I've never had trouble with things like high mileage, I never really suffered any real injuries, I had to take a couple days off here and there due to a niggling injury that's never reared its head since(knock on wood again), but if you're doing 100's of miles a week on nearly exclusively concrete and asphalt, it's just about impossible to expect otherwise.
So, there's the dilemma. To boost one's career and fitness past what anyone expected, but to accomplish it you must pay the price of having to hang it up sooner because the brightest candle burns the fastest.
I love running because I love pushing myself as hard as I can to be the best that I can be. Even if that means a shorter time doing it due to burning up, I prefer it to wondering what could have been. So if going back to 100+ mile weeks means I'll do better than I ever realistically thought, at the price of only being that good for so long, I'll take it. I'll obviously be smart about this so I can actually reach that level of fitness, running on dirt roads, grass, and track, for the most part, actually doing workouts, not bumping up the mileage too quickly, and only running a couple races this season(2017-2018) to establish fitness to Coach Waters. I think the team standards of 4:05 and 15:15 for the 1500m and 5k I could reach at less mileage that I've been doing, so I'll dedicate this year to accustoming my body to this kind of workload, and hopefully have a spectacular few years before I hang up the shoes to pursue higher education at Oxford. Anyone who actually read this far, you're a real one if there ever was one and I'm glad I could have met you these past few years(not quitting the blog yet, fyi).
It's grind season!