The Joy of Short Runs

Things changed a bit for me after last Wednesday’s long run. Because of a busy personal/work schedule, I didn’t run at all on Thursday and Friday, and only did short runs on Saturday and Sunday.

The outcome of that change was pretty good, though.

With my new take on “unstructured” training (i.e., running for that sake of running, not as a means of “goaling” a race), I didn’t worry about the gaps in my running schedule. Because I didn’t worry, I didn’t get stressed. Because I didn’t get stressed, I was able to be a little more creative about the runs I did on the weekend.

On Saturday, I did my usual 8K run around neighbourhood side streets. It’s normally the only run I do all week that’s on pavement rather than sidewalks. So I usually take it easy, checking out people’s flower and vegetable gardens, looking for lawn sprinklers to run through, just running along at an easy cruising pace. This time, though, I was rested and rarin’ to go. So, quite uncharacteristically, I mixed up a strong, steady pace with a few fartlek sets. Worked hard at them, coasted back down into the steady pace, and found myself smiling through it all.

On Sunday, I had to do another short run, as I had to leave for a (non-running) commitment early in the morning. So I did the 8K route once again, but this time at a strong, quick, and steady pace. I ran much more quickly than I thought I would, even through the heavy rain that came near the end of the run. Sometimes I have added “tingliness” at the end of a hard barefoot run, but not this time. Everything was good.

Today, I was back to my easy-paced barefoot commute to the office. I’ll do it again this afternoon to go home, and will repeat the set tomorrow. Then comes Wednesday, which is normally another long run day. Given my experience on the weekend, though, I may try something shorter. Perhaps some hill repeats? Does that sound like fun?

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6 comments

  1. Why haven’t you run for four months? When last we spoke, you were a regular machine for training and racing.

    Not really sure. Sort of lost the motivation for it. Last year wanted 100% attendance winter and summer league races. Goal achieved. Did not set a new goal. Sort of looking at a super sprint triathlon and starting agian on the run front. This time totally bare. Tonight marked a small but significant step in the right direction.

    Jason going bed. 1/2 midnight UK

  2. Short answer. Yes. Hill reps are speed sessions in disguise. When wearing my run club begineers group assitant hat, that is something I try try hard to communicate to folks. Building up a base fitness is important,
    but once you have it, do not be afraid to mix it up. Do not get fixated on going further and further. Go shorter but go faster do some hills, play with fartlek (speed play) lamp post to lamp post for instance..
    Whatever you do, do not get bogged down in, increase by X % each run, week or whatever. Treat the run as practice, not training. Most of al,l whatever you do, enjoy it! Many beginers ask “does it get any easier?”
    I reply. No. As you get fitter your expectations increase in proportion to your new ability. Therefore, you are constantly chasing your parameters.

    I have not ran for four months but tonight I went for a two miler. Whoppe do. To me it was, because tonight I was able to practice the many things I have read in Barefoot Ken Bob Saxtons book. I have conitinually
    had issues with friction below the 2nd and 3rd toes on the left foot. Not tonight. When I felt the form going I bent the knees more and hey presto, sorted. Simple things, such as think of counting knee lifts rather
    than foot landings. Mental imagary works. Many have heard the phrase “practice makes perfect”, not many have heard “training makes perfect”

    I may well come back and edit this Tuesday as I am 1/2 a bottle of wine and Cava to the good.

    Jason sans friction soreness

    1. Glad to hear of the lack of friction soreness, Jason (And the half bottle of wine doesn’t sound bad, either… )

      Thanks for the feedback. I agree about mixing it up. But it does, I think, depend on what you’re after. You’re much more of a racer than I. My goal is simply to run a lot. The occasional races I do are entertainment and nothing more. Therefore my daily runs are ends in themselves, rather than practices for something else. And running has, in fact, become easier as I run more. That said, I recognize that, if I wanted to improve my times for a particular distance, I would need to mix it up more and work harder.

      Why haven’t you run for four months? When last we spoke, you were a regular machine for training and racing.

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