After a lot of thought and consideration -- I have decided to retire One Foot in Reality and leave it as an Archive. I will still monitor it to keep the trolls at bay, but will not be posting here any longer.

If you are looking for my new posts, please go to www.haroldlshaw.com .

Thank you for all they years of following One Foot In Reality.


Sunday, January 4, 2015

Reading A Lot and Thinking Training For This Old Fart

After a lot of thought I have decided to move some of best of my old posts from Aging Runnah and A Runnah’s Story blogs, primarily the old reviews, maybe a few of the better posts and race reports that I have written over the years. I have a feeling that at some point, my WordPress.com blogs are simply going to go away and I want to still be able to go back and read some of the stuff I wrote.

If you are reading this blog post, that is why it is has been re-posted here.

Originally posted on: January 4, 2015

Over the past few years I have read a lot of books on running and training. You know the popular ones by: Hudson, McMillan, Fitzgerald, Abshire, Romanov, Dreyer, Jurek, Wilk and many more.

Not all of the books that I have read are just laying around the house, I read a lot on my Kindle and have given away a lot of the ones that didn't work for me.

Yeah, some of the better running and books on training to be a better runner of this era.

I have even been reading and re-reading some of the older more obscure texts from authors that you don't hear so much about anymore: Lydiard, Cerutty, Fixx, Parker and others.

Some "older" authors

I have a feeling that the answers to my training questions and the direction I will go as a 57-year-old runner are more in these books.

What Does it Mean?

What does all this reading and research mean to an aging 57-year-old runner, who is still trying to improve as a runner?

That I have learned a LOT about running, training theory and planning over the past few years.

That I have tried many of the things in these books, things I have learned from online running sites, blogs and nothing has really felt "right" for me.

I seem to always keep coming back to Lydiard. I will say that Hudson's book was close, but there were from my perspective as an old middle of the pack runner that I...well let's just say it wasn't the direction this old fool plans to go.

What is Improvement to me?

Sure, I am like every other runner out there whether they are élite or middle of the packers, we all want run faster, farther, possibly be competitive in our age group and not get injured.

The other thing is that I run for reasons than just competition (even if it is mostly with myself) - I run because I love to run and I believe it makes me a better person when I do run. I know that my wife believes that I am a LOT easier to live with when I am running more.

Yes, getting to be an old fart is the reason for some of the physical changes that I am encountering and enduring - just the way it is, we all decline physically as we age, all we can hope to do is slow the decline.

Yes, I am pretty realistic about this fact of life and I know that I have to do things differently because of my age, which includes the dreaded word cross-train (I have always lifted weights a little and consider that a part of being a runner and it is not cross-training to me).

I know that I am nothing special as a runner, that my best times are far in the rear view mirror and the biggest problem with my running is me and the mistakes that I make with my training - I know that.

However, a quickly growing second fact is the negativity that is put in aging runnah's heads by others.

I know that I am seeing (or at least now noticing) more and more articles, comments and things that attempt to limit or discourage older runners from even attempting to see if they can do more running.
Oh, the words take the guise of cross-training is better for you, junk miles are horrible, "you'll ruin your knees", you will not improve unless you are running x pace for x miles or you gotta at HIT, etc., to be a better runner.

Which I imagine goes together with the latest scientific research and the vast amount of experience that many of these authors, coaches and journalists, have coaching and training old farts who were/are not and will never be élite athletes and have different motivations for continuing to run than they are used to.

Yes, there is a bit of sarcasm in that statement, because does what worked for élite runners, always work the same for those of us who are not and will never be at that level?

Honestly, I do not believe it does.

Maybe I have had too many dreams of sugar plums and put together too many model airplanes when I was younger, but why are so many “experts” recommending that older runners limit their running, especially their "easy" running. I thought that the current research showed that running does not damage (you put in the body part) things, as the medical and other people previously thought/believed?

There is so much of a negative focus on what older runners can no longer do, compared to when they were younger or in comparison to today's younger runners, that there is a media bias, to what they believe we should be doing versus the things that we still actually can do - if we let ourselves go for it.

Or maybe I am just one of those damned "baby boomers", who expects that the aging process will be different for him than it has been for past generations. Maybe so, but I do have other expectations for my life as I age, than sitting in my easy chair watching life go by and fading away to die.

However, my observations are just based on my own personal opinions and biases...Like "they" say "opinions are like assholes, everyone has one".


None of the modern training programs, I have looked at really fit the direction, I want to take my running. They have some great workouts, that I will add to my training routine, some other ideas and methods that are common sense additions to any runner's training plan, but they all seem to be lacking something for me.

A guiding philosophy on and about running and a belief that we can keep running at higher levels than we thought possible even as we age. However, that we still have to do the work, but maybe at different intensities or distances than in the past and add in more rest. 

But I am still looking for a philosophy that doesn't limit us needlessly.

I know that I am never going to be a champion runner, I have the wrong mentality (honestly, I don’t give a shit enough, to be that committed to competing at the highest levels and I am unwilling to go too far into the hurt locker - that even an above average age group runner needs to do to be successful in larger races).

However, I do know that I can be a better runner than I am now, maybe not that much faster (since age and injuries have taken too much of my speed), but smarter and better prepared for my runs or races and what I want to accomplish in them.

Yeah, I have done a lot of reading, weighing the different ideas, and putting the jumbled puzzle pieces together in my mind.

To find what works for me.

What Am I Going To Do

To be honest, I am an experiment of one and I tend to do things differently than someone else might.

Limiting my running and adding more cross training doesn’t feel right to me.

I am no expert, so don’t do as I do or even listen to what I am saying, but I love to run and run for reasons more than simply competing against other runners, myself or the clock.

So I plan to keep running 6-7 days a week with Bennie for as long as we can and take time off when I feel that I need it, versus some keeping to an artificial schedule, that may or may not work/be right for me.

This means that I am going off on my own, ignoring the advice and recommendations of today's experts who are basing their ideas on their experiences, the scientific research that has been done and the recommendations to run less as I get older.

In other words, I am going to run more according to how I feel and listen to my experience as a runner. It is a direction that I have moved in for a couple of years and the more research I do, it seems to be the best direction for me.

Although I will still have an over-arching plan and idea of what workouts I need to do, to successfully meet the goals that I have set this year. The daily plan is going to be very much in pencil, versus being set in stone, which I never have been able to follow for more than a couple of weeks.

That means I will probably follow a lot of what Lydiard, a little of what Cerutty, Shapiro and others say in their books as I develop my training plan/routine.

Their ideas, philosophies and recommendations resonate with me and seem right for the way that I want to run.

Yeah - lots of hills ;-). Which is good, because where I live there is no problem finding hills.

Although I will probably keep my weekly treadmill intervals during the winter, more because I enjoy doing them, because they really don’t fit into either Lydiard's or Cerutty's methods.
The reality is that

The newer books and today's authors have some great workouts and ideas on fitness for runners that I will blend into my training plan, but some of the subtle negativity/attitudes towards older runners and recommendations that some authors seem have in their writings for this old fart to run less and cross-train more are limiting to me. I will pass-on them since they are not the direction I want to go.

I will close with something that Cerutty said in his book Athletics: How to Become A Champion:

In conclusion, and to repeat, the belief, adamant in my teachings, is that the athlete must be developed in the end, so that he be entirely self-reliant, self-dependent, able to know instinctively and understand his nature, personality, trends and his requirements in exercise and training, from day-to-day, month-to-month.

I would like to think that I am finally heading down this road to being much more self-reliant, but still willing to listening to others and adding in ideas that will work for me, after too many years of going from the "next" hot training idea/plans, to the next one. The constant belief that the perfect plan is out there for me to find, when in reality, it is already there inside of me, waiting patiently for me to start using it.

After all I am an experiment of one and the mistakes I make, will be the mistakes I make.

Getting old is not easy, but we can do more than others think we can and often more than we think we can.

Did you notice that I changed the name of my blog back to Aging Runnah II, it just seemed right and like Popeye said "I am, what I am".

What do you think?

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