Following the Prime Directive

20 06 2016

Starfleet General Order 1 states: “As the right of each sentient being to live in accordance with its normal cultural evolution is considered sacred, no Starfleet personnel may interfere with the normal and healthy development of an alien life and culture. Such interference includes introducing superior knowledge, strength, or technology to a world whose society is incapable of handling such advantages wisely.”

Basically it means you should leave well enough alone.  Sage words on any planet, I’d say.  But when it comes to running, it is a thought process I have often failed to follow.   The normal evolution of training progress and healthy development of greater endurance have been so thwarted by my fantasies of superior knowledge (mine over the coach’s) and strength I didn’t really possess, that I’ve spent part of every one of at least the last 5 years somehow injured. This year I decreed I was done with that cycle and gave myself a Prime Directive: follow a training program from start to finish and deviate from it only to do less when necessary but not more –not ever– no matter how easy and harmless it may seem.

I actually started the year with a flare of the left plantar fasciitis that I’ve battled since 2015 August (the last time I let my brain overload my ass) but decided it could heal while I trained.  Oddly enough, it has just about done so.  A couple of times the chronic right Achilles tendonitis that has long plagued me also became an issue but the days off directed by the training plan allowed that to stay in check as well. With the half-marathon coming up Saturday, only one more training run left and no disabling aches or pains, I will proclaim “so far so good” as of now.

This go-round I’ve been using the PEAR app for heart-rate based coaching and following Matt Fitzgerald’s “New Rules” at the Beginner Level, which I chose not because I’m a beginner but because it had fewer total running days each week.  With its standard tempo runs, long runs, speed play, short intervals, long intervals, mixed intervals and basic foundation runs all based on my heart rate and coached in real time, it was the closest to a live trainer I have ever come (and probably ever will).

Level 1 provides fewer Foundation Runs which Fitzgerald defines as “a steady, moderate-intensity run to build basic aerobic fitness” but my long-time favorite trainers from FIRST/Furman Institute label “junk miles” in their book Run Less Run Faster, a  regimen I’ve previously employed but not faithfully followed because of all the planning and mindfulness it requires.  Honestly if Furman had an app that talked in my ear to tell me “go faster” or “go slower” I would have used it instead, but they don’t so I went with PEAR and have not regretted it.

In addition to following a training schedule with 90% compliance from start to finish, I have also done weekly weight training on a 3-day split and some, but not enough, flexibility work.  Taking the longest Long Run up to almost 12 miles for the first time ever is another necessary step I made sure not to shortcut this time, since I plan to continue training for a full marathon in the fall.  I don’t want Saturday’s half to cause an injury for lack of thorough preparation.  I’ve done 13.1 in the past on as much 10 miles max and as little as 7.5 , but this year I was not taking any chances.

Fitzgerald’s training plan is based on his book “The New Rules of Marathon and Half-Marathon Nutrition,” which I’ve read at least twice.  I have not adhered to the nutrition portion over the past 16 weeks, but will do so in the next few days until  the race.  As counter-intuitive as it may seem for a runner, I don’t do well with the higher carbohydrate diet he and others espouse. For me, a lifelong carb-sensitive endomorph, a 40/30/30 carbs:protein:fat ratio akin to that of The Zone Diet works best.  I strive for that on most days because it helps me avoid food cravings and thus control my weight better.  Three days of carbo-loading before and some energy gels or chews during a race have gotten me through everything over 10k up to now, so I haven’t considered changing.

Along with training, I enjoyed some races around town over the past few weekends and posted a few highlights below.

MAY 28, 2016 – Soldier Field 10 Miler:
an old favorite that I haven’t done in a few years.  Because it was 10-mile Long Run day on my calendar, I took it very slow and just enjoyed being out there in sweet home Chicago.



June 4, 2016 – Sweetness 8k in Aurora IL:
honored Walter Payton of the Chicago Bears and supported charities sponsored by his family. I WON MY FIRST EVER AGE GROUP AWARD!

sweetness collage

June 11, 2016 – Foodie 5k at the Joliet Speedway:
It was hot as friggin’ hell!  I was slow as hell.  No coincidence, that.

Foodie 5k Collage


June 18, 2016 – Minooka Summerfest 5k:
I WON SECOND IN MY AGE GROUP!  But I didn’t even know until later in the day because I left right after the race to go home and clean the kitchen.  I walked away from an actual trophy to do stupid effing housework.  How crazy is that?!  I’ll never leave a race early again!  Now that I’m in the 60-64 age group, suddenly I’m “fast?”  I LOVE IT!  Little ole 12:00 miler me.  Hahaha!



So that’s it.  I did a 45 minute tempo run this morning and have 25 minutes of speedwork on Wednesday, and then I’m done until the half.  As long as I continue to follow my personal Prime Directive, I believe I will remain uninjured when the miles get longer and training progresses all the way up to that 26.2 in the fall.

Next up:
American Fork Canyon Half Marathon, Salt Lake City, UT – June 25, 2016





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