Monday, November 07, 2011

Walkers vs. Runners

Let me start by saying I think any form of exercise is great exercise. Luckily there's many to choose from to fit each person's likes and needs. I think walking is great exercise.

I enjoy the ten minute walk each morning and evening from work to the bus or train stop. Or taking a long walk and taking care of a few errands.

When I trained for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day (60 miles), I counted every where I walked, not just training walks. I thought I didn't need to walk as far as the schedule said since I'd run a few 5K's. Truthfully, the main reason I didn't train completely for the 3-Day: walking gets boring. Followed closely by reason number two I didn't train completely: I liked to sleep in and stay out late. As I side note, I was not monitoring nutrition or the amount of sleep I was getting. When I did train, it started whenever I felt like it. I walked until I got bored and then I went home.

That was me. I was not smart then. That's not every walker.

Distance walking seems to get short changed on training compared to, let's say, half marathon training. 

This is where walkers and runners are so different.

When I started training for my first half marathon, I did a lot of research. I consulted known running greats like Hal Higdon and Jeff Galloway. I read up on nutrition, stretching, cross training, recovery and form.

I printed out the chosen training schedule and had it taped in my office at work and at home on the fridge. That way, I could never forget how long I needed to run that day. I went to bed early every Friday night so I could complete a long run early Saturday morning. I started each mid-week run from my condo after work.  I logged every mile in a running journal. I played out my iPod.

That's when I started make running part of my life.

For the last five years, I've thought nothing of giving half of all my Saturdays to running - Up and running by no later than 8am each day, going anywhere from 5 to 20 miles. But in order to keep a routine like this up, you're forced to become a little O.C.D.

My running friends are all* the same way. They have their routines. Their routes. Their plans. Their special shirt or socks. Their pre-race meal. Their power song. I know Sara has to have Apart Pizza for breakfast the morning before a long run. I know Kim always wants to start a run running into the wind.

When my friend(s) say 'Let's meet at 5am on Saturday to get 16 in before it gets too warm,"  I agree, even though this is an hour and a half before our training group usually runs. Whether it's two people running that morning or six, we all arrive on time and ready to go. We have a plan. We execute it. Then we eat. There's no questions or gray area. We're all the same that way.

Every once and awhile, one of us does a walk for charity. Inevitably, we come back with stories of how other walkers aren't taking training seriously. They aren't punctual. They lack focus. As this conversation plays out, I'm reminded of my training walks.

We're just different that way. Maybe the walkers are smarter?

(* except for Brian)

No comments: