Denial is often viewed as a negative word – one that implies that someone is hiding from an apparent truth. We’ve all been there. If you are a special needs parent, you know exactly what I am talking about – that stretch of time when you kept telling youself, no, not my kid…not my child…he/she doesn’t have XYZ!!!
We’ve all been in denial about our jobs or our relationships.
Denial, typically, is not a good thing.
But I’ve found a new way of using denial in a positive way. A while back I started using the Furman FIRST training program for my upcoming marathon (3 weeks away as of the day before yesterday – YIKES!!!) and I have come to the conclusion that denial can be good.
A regular reader of this blog will know that I went through a bit of burnout throughout the second half of 2011. Sure I ran the Vermont 50 (as in 50 miles) in September and then New York in November, but the truth is, I did both of those runs on almost no training whatsoever – we’re talking a total of 180 miles in the 12 weeks leading up to Vermont (that’s 15 miles per week for a 50 mile race!) and 120 miles in the 12 weeks leading up to New York. That’s 10 miles per week before a marathon. No runner can expect to do well at the 26.2 mile distance on 10 miles per week. Like I said, I was burnt out.
The training programs I had followed required five to six days of running. I just couldn’t get myself out of bed to do the runs. I would skip one, thinking there’s no harm in missing a run and before I knew it, the week would have gone by and I would have maybe run once. Staying in bed, doing laundry, cleaning dishes, preparing dinner – all of these activities were much more appealing than dragging my butt out the door for the required run of the day.
Then I switched to the Furman FIRST program. The first thing that struck me about the program was that I was only allowed to run 3 days a week. That’s it. 3 DAYS ONLY. And like anything that you are told you can’t have, I suddenly wanted to run more.
The program allows for one interval based run, one tempo run and one long run. I mix in two days of cross training, be it swimming, biking, rowing or ellipting (is that the word?). Throughout the program (I came in on week 5 of the 16 week program) I have regained my speed and endurance. My race times have dropped and my legs feel relatively fresh.
So with my last 20-miler done this past Sunday, let the taper begin…sorta. Funny thing about this program, because you only run three days a week, each run is done with a lot more intensity, particularly the long runs – which are generally run at 10K Race Pace + 60 to 75 seconds per mile. That’s a good 30 – 45 seconds faster per mile than typical programs. So that being said, despite officially being on my taper, I still have two interval sessions (one 7 x 800m at 10K – 45 to 50 seconds and one 3 x 1600m at 10K – 35 to 40 seconds), two tempo runs (a 4-miler at 10K pace and an 8-miler at 10K + 30 to 35 second per mile) plus a 15 and 10 miler.
A lot more intense than my past tapers.
Despite the increased intensity, I’m enjoying running again.
And I credit denial for my revival.