No, it's not really normal for someone that has trained and raced for nearly 39 years to actually be able to compete at age 60 with the results they were running 10 years earlier. But I have been told I am not quite normal in many ways. So, how am I doing it? I'm not quite sure I understand it myself but I have some ideas that I will share with you.
For those of you that follow or know me then you are aware that this really began in mid to late 2012. After struggling to show any improvement for a couple of years I was resigned to the fact that I was really getting slower and no more pr's were coming and I wouldn't ever touch the times from my early 50's. About that time I decided to make another attempt at qualifying for Boston which would require me to run another 5 minutes faster than I had two years earlier.
I never was able to run that time due to some bad luck with weather and injuries but it was what set things in motion. With that training I was able to shatter my 50 mile pr in 2013 and then in 2014 I shattered my 100 mile pr and also ran my fastest half marathon since 2006 and my fastest 5k since the late 80's !
Ok, so here is what is causing all this.
Desire. Attitude. Confidence. Belief. Motivation.
Before anything training wise would work I had to have an attitude adjustment. The desire was already there because after all these years I still love working hard, training , racing and competing. But now I had to put the hard work first. No excuses.
Success breeds confidence and with each success I began to believe that anything was possible.
Motivation? I still don't even understand what it is exactly inside of me, something from my past that drives me but whatever it is I have learned to embrace it. Of course many outside factors stoke the fires inside even more but I'll keep them to myself.
Ok, Joey, we get that but can you give us some more specifics in what changed ?
Well, to start with almost 3.5 years ago I began to add body weight exercises and core work to my routine working up to 6 or 7 days a week for about 30 minutes a day. Soon after I began adding free weights a couple of times a week.
I cut back on the amount of races, especially the ultras which allowed me to recover more fully and put more into my quality workouts. Most days I run easy and don't concern mysef with pace but if I have a scheduled hard run it is going to hurt. Going back to belief for a second one of the biggest factors as I have said many times before was when I started running with Laura Frey. She believed in me more than I did myself and pushed me harder than ever before and I learned so much and gained even more confidence. Even though it has been 5 months since we have been able to run together she still keeps me motivated to get the most out of my workouts.
Less is more. Along with not as much racing I am not trying to pad my mileage just to be looking at big numbers in the logbook which keeps me fresh. And I don't overdo the speedwork. I have found that just doing a few pickups in the middle of some easy runs helps keep the legs ready to turnover when the time comes without wearing me down. When it is time for real speed work I am prepared.
And finally Bikram Hot Yoga. Once again thanks to Laura, because I can say with 99.9% certainty that I would never have set foot in a Bikram studio the first time if not for her and seeing the results she was getting. I will probably post more about the yoga soon but for now I will say that my stride has gotten longer, my posture is very much improved and my breathing is stronger and more relaxed than ever after 5 months of regular practice.
Any questions? Feel free to ask.