Friday, April 23, 2010

Warm-Up Bleg

I just came back from a run in Rancho Penasquitos which was a perfect example of a problem I've been having for a year or so, which is that it takes me forever to warm up. Pardon the bitching, but if you run across this post I'd be glad to hear from you.

I haven't been able to find much online about my "syndrome". What happened tonight is typical: I start, I feel bad. I run a mile, I feel worse. I run two miles, I feel really bad; it's all I can do to keep from walking, even on the flat. I basically give up on having a decent run. After an hour and 7 or so miles of this I get back at the car, at which point I realize I'm effectively sprinting and feel great. So I've had an hour of miserable running only to open up to feeling like Superman for the last five minutes, at which point of course I'm done. I know from experience it's not in my head, i.e. that if I turn around and run for another hour, the Superman feeling stays. Unfortunately I usually don't have time to run for more than an hour, and if my one-hour runs continue to be this un-fun I don't know what I'll do. What's wrong? How can I fix this?

I have several theories, none of which are mutually exclusive, and none of which seem to explain the problem (or suggest a solution):

Over-adaptation to long distance. That is, have I after 20 years of distance running effectively converted all my muscle fiber into slow-twitch? This is probably the most flattering and least likely of the three alternatives.

Bad condition, worse workout schedule. I'm not putting in the mileage I could before med school. My workout schedule is awful and may actually cause more damage than good. Typically: 12-15 miles Saturday, 12-15 miles Sunday, both hilly if I can help it. After this I'm sore, cranky, unfocused and peeing orange for 48 hours (and needless to say not running). Maybe Tuesday or Wednesday I'll finally got around to doing 4, which will as mentioned above be awful. Maybe Friday I'll do 5 and push really hard to punish myself for being weak. And then another huge weekend, and I'm back to being worthless. But if it's just injury that's the problem, why is a 2 hour run better than a 1 hour run?

Old age. I'm no longer 25, which when I could get away with my self-flagellation workouts. If this is it, same paradox as above - why is the second hour better than the first?

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