Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Solo Training

Before I talk about going solo let me first take a moment to review the ING Miami Half Marathon that was this Sunday. That's right I'm going to review a race I didn't run.

Well not really review it. I mean after all I didn't actually run it. I did go pick up my bib and shirt and flit around the expo. Which by the way is much more relaxing when you know you aren't running the next day.

What a difference 10 years makes
This is the 10th year of this race. I ran the first race 10 years ago. I was one of I think 2000 people who toed the line that year. I wasn't trained but I wanted to run to support a local race. I was hoping that it would stick because I think a strong local marathon is a cool thing. And I still think that. In fact, as a point of further reflection 10 years ago I only knew of one local running store and now I know of 6 local running stores. The whole running scene appears to really be growing.

Another fun 10 year metric. When I ran my first marathon my running store (Footworks) had two training groups one for Disney and one for Grandmas because there was no local race. Now they train for ING Miami and now our summer race will be the Key Biscayne 1/2 Marathon or Seattle  if  you want to travel. I think if you tried you could do a local 1/2 marathon almost every month between here and Orlando. That's a pretty great thing if you're a runner.

10 years ago I got a cotton t-shirt and the expo had like 7 booths. This year I got a bright orange female cut tech shirt and the Expo was great. I was especially thrilled about the huge Footworks Village which brought together all their vendors including a Garmin stand complete with Garmin rep.  A full show at the Miami Beach convention center. Of course, this year there were 25,000 runners. 19,000 1/2 runners and 6,000 full runners.

While I wasn't able to run this year (I was at my daughter's gymnastics competition). I did run last year and I didn't love it. The reason was that the start was HORRIBLE. And therefore the course was too crowded. Also, I had a cold. I did hear through the grapevine that this year the start was much better.  I did hear a rumor that perhaps there was no GU on the course... if that's true that's not a good thing. But I wasn't there ... it's just a rumor.

I'm glad the race continues to grow and be successful.

Now I will put on my advisor hat and say that runners continue to review this race as a great 1/2 and a crappy full course. In my humble opinion the race directors need to address that or they leave this open to another company coming in and besting them.

Now onto things I'm actually doing.

While everyone else was tapering I ran 8 miles solo on Saturday morning. Sunday morning I did a solo 60 minute bike ride. It's all good. Because in my opinion triathlon training is a solo endeavor.

Last year I trained for Trinona solo. It wasn't hard to keep focused because I knew I had that giant swim and giant bike coming up and my brother was going to be there to kick my butt so I had to do my thing.

This year even though I know other folks who will be participating in both the Nautica South Beach Triathlon and the Haines City 70.3 I will now be doing most of my training myself. I think that with all the variables of tri training probably the only way to do it is alone because everybody's schedules are just too different.

My pros and cons list
The really good part about this is that I can do whatever I need to do without worrying about others. The only down side is that without the group it's a little lonely.

Now, to be perfectly honest sometimes the group is what keeps me training. Because I know that my group is waiting for the long run I get my weekly runs in. Without the group committment I have previously tanked the training for one event. That was the Big Sur Marathon in 2003. I registered and then didn't run the race.

In order to keep me honest with these longer races I am taking the old fashioned approach ... I'm paying somebody to keep me honest. In other words I've hired a coach and starting tomorrow he'll be hassling me to keep me going. At least I hope that's part of what he'll be doing.  His name is Frank. He administered the recent threshold test ... did I write about that?

So I'm embracing the solitude ... really, I am.

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