Preparing for a Running Comeback


I'll never say I'm a running Yoda, but a running Obi-Wan Kenobi is an apt description.

"To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift." -Steve Prefontaine

I ran the Scranton Half Marathon and the Steamtown Marathon without wearing a watch. Survival was the main goal, and I succeeded at that.

I didn't train at all for either race and still managed to beat people who put their heart and soul into their training. That goes to show something for my skill set. I truly believe that if I train hard for next year's races, I could once again become a legitimate threat in my age group. Besides overall place, most road races categorize finishings by gender and age just to see how one does against one's peers. I have quite a nice collection from my 30s. Now, it's time to add on.

I already told my wife that I want a new GPS-driven watch to keep track of my time, pace, and distance for Christmas. Pace will once again become an issue of great importance starting in 2015. Right now, my only concern is to restore my aerobic base to maximum efficiency. I was in very good cardiovascular shape for the race, but there is always room for improvement.

While I was thrilled to finish Steamtown at all, since I didn't train, a 5:26 for somebody of my former abilities is pretty unacceptable. I won't allow myself a time like that until at least age 85. I gave infinitely less than my best regarding my training over the past year, and I therefore sacrificed the gift of running. I also paid for it in spades at Steamtown. It will never happen again.

I'm not trying to take 1 hour off of this year's time; I'm shooting to take off 2 or more, if possible. To do so, I'm going to have to run hard and smart. Quality of mileage will take precedence over quantity, and there will be a lot of cross training. I'd say that if I’m not running more than 50 miles a week, I'm doing something wrong.

I'm sure you’re wondering where this newfound motivation is coming from. I have a protégé whose name is Samantha Snead, and she took second place in the Steamtown Marathon. Twice. She can post times that I can't even comprehend, but she sought me out to be her speed coach. While I could never run as fast as she can, I’ve taken about 5 minutes off of my mile pace over the years, and I know how to build fast. She's only 26, which is almost too young for a long distance runner.

Not only do I think that she will win Steamtown within 5 years, but I also think she'll run an Olympic qualifying time of 2:39. She'll need to pick up about 7 minutes over the distance, which is roughly 16 seconds per mile. Piece of cake,

I'll never say I’m a running Yoda, but a running Obi-Wan Kenobi is an apt description. Obi-Wan trained Anakin Skywalker. Stick around, folks, because this is going to be fun to watch.

Jay Sochoka, RPh, just dusted off his Bubba Gump hat.

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