Friday, September 17, 2010

overdosed on lsd

long slow distance makes long slow runners -seb coe
i've heard that so many times, yet always pawned off the excuse that you need "time on your feet" and "long slow runs are good for marathon training". yes, those are both true in moderation, but too much lsd* = lsr.

running has not been all cupcakes and sunshine for me since about october of last year. i've been slogging around for almost a year! this is pathetic. i've tried to do some analysis to see why this enormous rut was formed but haven't really pinpointed anything. i still don't think i was overtraining, but maybe all my nyc training plus the stress of life-on-the-road got to me. i've also had those random health issues (constant nausea/lightheadedness/feeling of malaise/inability to sweat/constant pain) that i am sure didn't help either. my training was slack before boston/kentucky derby and then i really slacked off from april to august. some weeks were better than others, but there wasn't any consistency. my easy pace kept getting slower and slower, and the speed work became less frequent non-existent. finally, i granted myself a few weeks of guilt-free laziness in july. if i ran, fine; if not, that was fine too.

after cutting myself some slack i actually started to want to run again come mid-august. now, not all days have been omgiwanttorunforhoursandhours, but i was enjoying it again. it's still a little frustrating because i seem to be getting slower and slower. yes i know i haven't done regular speedwork, but why is it so hard to get back to my cruise pace of 8:30-9:00/mile? (i've been seeing far too many 10:xx splits lately, what gives?) why do my legs feel heavy and slow; why does my form feel awkward? i've been running regularly, about 5x/week, for 5 weeks now. maybe i'm jumping the gun here, but i think after 11 years of running it should come back easier than this.

on my extremely slow "run" wednesday, i thought about the past almost-year of crappy running and all the ups and downs. i tend to be overly ambitious, and i probably went overboard trying to plan out the rest of the year to squeeze in as many miles as i can. yes, i used to run 60-70 mile weeks, but that's not something you can just hop back into (a lecture i've been having with myself). i'm living in the past like a former high school quarterback.

back in early august, i created a training plan for the upcoming 50k and (hopefully) a december marathon. i scheduled myself to be running 60-mile weeks again by the end of september... you know, 0-to-60 in 8 weeks is plenty of time, right? it's time i get realistic and focus on the big picture (running for life) instead of just my 2010 mileage. so what if i don't beat my 2009 mileage, it won't be the end of the world. i'm revamping the training plan so that i will still get miles in for upcoming fall/winter races, but with a new focus on base-building for bigger things (/better running) in 2011.

i think ice cube put it best --
hear me banging down these back streets
bumpin blackstreet, fiending like an athlete
life aint a track meet (no)
its a marathon

*just for clarification: i can barely make myself do lsd runs, and i certainly do not/have not/will not do lsd drugs.


  1. I usually get freaked out at how easy it is to go slower and slower. But for me I find that slower means longer and longer eventually means faster. it's some kind of weird math

  2. thanks for the clarification there. Lol.

    I am by no means an expert in anything other than slackimg off my planned run schedule BUT I think the speed will come back. Somehow it always does.

  3. I love my LSD runs. I find that I need LSD and some fast short runs in the same week for marathon an ultra training. I always have a long term goal (running for life) or bigger picture and never forget about that. I know what my running goals are for the next three or more years.

  4. Just wanted to say Happy belated birthday!

  5. The trouble with fitness/speed is that it comes by so hard and it goes away so quickly. It amazes and surprises me every.single.time.
    I think your new plan is good. Enjoy running without expectations of speed. Build the miles slowly. Do the track workouts without expectations that they will make you faster. I thinks LSDs are fine to build up endurance, but maybe throw in a few harder miles at the end?
    Also, just remember that you ran a 6 min mile recently. That is NOT easy and few people could do that.
    I have no doubt that your speed will come back and some. It just takes a lot of consistent months of miles and miles, as you know.

  6. Well, Sebastiab Coe was a mile runner specialist so I understand why he said that. LSD is the way forward for marathoners.

  7. I've found that it's so hard to make myself go slow and hit a certain pace. I always just go. It's pretty much the same way with speed: when I plan a workout to be a certain pace it's practically guaranteed to not happen hahah

  8. I have had a similar problem this year - I'm blaming it on the heat - my pace has been disappointing, but I'm going to hang in there with the running. It's not like I can just give it up. I'll just have to be content going a little slower. I have done some track workouts - 400s - that has helped break up the monotony of the long runs nicely.

  9. so i definitely thought of save the last dance when i saw the song you posted.

    i don't do very much lsd... okay none. any "lr" i do is usually part of a specific workout, and my lr's aren't more than 10 miles. it's kind of a relief not to be training for a marathon. but at the same time it puts more pressure on getting faster and going harder cuz you're going shorter. not sure if it's completely logical. but there's always a balance. i totally agree with taking extended breaks, as long as you are somewhat on top of annoying things like eating less b/c you're not working out (so annoying to me, lol). having a plan for training + running is definitely comforting and can be helpful for getting/staying "on track." what about other parts of your life? how are those things going?

  10. Earlier this year, I thought I hated running again. Then I was tri training, so I gave myself permission to just run whatever was on my training schedule. After a bunch (maybe 3) of 15-mile weeks, I started doing speed work again and found I was enjoying running. The cross-training had put me in shape, and I was back to enjoying all kinds of exercise again. It was just such a huge mental break. And now I'm in love with running again. So you'll get there--just be patient and don't be afraid to build from nothing. It's really hard on the ego at first, but it might be just what your body needs. Now I'm (maybe) running faster than ever--I'll let you know how this weekend goes ;)

  11. LSD has its place in a runner's tool bag, right next to tempo runs, speed work, fartlek, hills, etc. All are important for the body and for the mind (providing variety, confidence, etc).

    Of course that's easy for me to say but in reality I've been in a massive slump since this spring too. I've gotten back to running though even the paces that I want. Just real short runs.

  12. Be patient, grasshopper! But you have been consistent enough lately that if you want to throw in some speedwork to your schedule, go for it. Just don't get carried away. You'll be back...

  13. Lindsey, I have no doubt whatsoever that you will be back stronger than ever!
    We runners have a tough time with down time, losing fitness and all, but it's needed, and often is forced on us!

  14. Maybe the lsd drugs would make your lsd faster?? I have no clue - I'm in the exact same boat. I can't believe I'm running a 10:14 pace for a "long" run of 9 miles with a HR @ 160, good lord we lose our "stuff" so fast. But now you have the right frame of mind and soon, it will all click. It has to, we can't lose hope. I truly believe that you have to build a lot of base miles at pathetic slow paces to get the body used to it again and THEN the speed comes. It will. And dangit, M&M's aren't seeming to help :(. Maybe when we get to our 10 lbs wt loss we'll be super speedy again!!! Yea, that's it!!!!! Happy Friday, Girl (btw, my weight is back up again, I think I'm going to have bypass surgery!!).

    How's that for randomness???

  15. i def have a love/hate relationship with lsd. i love that it's a chill run outside. i hate the time it takes. i do feel most accomplished after i finished them.

  16. first thought when i saw lsd...uh oh sorry never heard the runner lsd term. thank you for enlightening me.

    im pretty hard on myself and only recently found a balance where i dont hate running so much an dim not putting too much pressure onmyself and over exerting myself when i go out for a run. im my own worst enemy and when i can get over my own unreal expectations, i can actual do better, which is what i discovered yesterday. even though it was just 3 miles, it was one of the most effortless runs ive done. i really just need to get out of my own head.

  17. " it's time i get realistic and focus on the big picture (running for life) instead of just my 2010 mileage. so what if i don't beat my 2009 mileage, it won't be the end of the world."

    I'm seriously so proud to see you say that. Running for life IS the big picture and races are nothing but short term goals along the way. Good girl! I feel like once you come to piece with yourself things will start steadily improving. Always remember that your "slow" runs are other people's PR race paces, your "low" mileage months are other people's peak months. It's all relative and sometimes you just have to sit back and be thankful that you're out there running at all. Chin up girly, things are going to turn around soon enough and then you'll be back to wowing us all with your insane stats that make you look like an athletic machine! Do you know how many times I looked at your runs/stats/races and thought, man, someday I hope I'm as fast as her...

    Always live to run another day! (Fast, slow or otherwise.)


  18. I once heard that when you don't run for a while due to illness or whatever, your running fitness does not go away, it just fades away a little. I am sure that with a good program, you WILL get back into that cruising speed again, and even probably faster. What I do with my LSD runs is add a little crack into them as well. For instance, one of my sessions on a 15 miler is this. warm up 1 mile, then run 30 seconds slower than marathon pace for 4 miles, then 5 miles 1.5 minutes slower, then 4 miles @ marathon pace, then 1 mile cool down, or you can just do 5, 5, 5, 5 fast, 5 slow, then 5 faster. There's your crack induces LSD's. I think so many runners get caught up on the whole LSD thing a bit too far. Yes, it does help your stamina, but you are extremely right, LSD"s = LSR's. It's weird, but I find that the longer I run the faster I get, like a snowball. Just call me frosty. Have you been to the track yet? Sorry for the long comment, but your post brings it on. As for Ice Cube, he needs to find a glass of water to hop into and melt away. lol

  19. Your attitude seems to be in the right place with this. Chalk 2010 up to a rebuilding year -- which DOESN'T mean a year wasted, but a year to regroup, reevaluate and come back stronger, focusing on long-term gains rather than short-term performance.

    Your mystery medical issues sound enormously frustrating and I wish you lots and lots of luck in sorting that out, whether it's nutrient-related or hormone-related or autoimmune or what...

    I struggled quite a bit with my athletic performance in the two years after my thyroid surgery, tinkering with thyroid replacement hormone + vitamin D stuff. It was just a "long-term" type of hormone and took me awhile to zone in on dosages that helped me not feel like a zombie. Things as basic as chronic nutrient/vitamin/hormone imbalances can destroy your athletic performance if you're sensitive to that stuff like I was... and probably any endurance-sports addict might be...

    Obviously you probably know all this already. But just sayin'. Feeling tired / crappy / general malaise is NOT always "just in your head;" you may just have some underlying thang going on that's messing with you...

    In any case. Long comment FTW! Good luck sorting it all out. You rock.

  20. I love my LSD runs too, but I have been trying to make then a little quicker lately to help with my time goals for upcoming races.

    I do find though that by running longer, slower, I get faster over shorter distances...odd

  21. You're married now, so you're slower - it's the marriage tax. Also, Coe was a sprinter not a distance runner so you can disregard his advice. Though he was a hero of mine growing up.

  22. It's funny you say this... we actually had a guest speaker last night who said "Long slow distance makes long slow marathoners." Heh.

    Glad you've been able to step back and look at things from a different perspective. Baby steps and you will get there again!

  23. You're not alone.
    So many good responses and thoughts.
    You know yourself best - Listen to what your body is telling you, be patient, hold the course and get past this wall. Focus on late year races, and use this as a building block for 2011.

    LSD - Trains your endurance aspect. Just as important as weekly speed work, tempo runs, and recovery runs. Each plays a key part in your overall performance.

  24. I totally do the same thing, super confident I can just ramp up my mileage to some arbitrary number. Just starts the countdown to an overtraining issue.

    You're due for a great 2011 and it's right around the corner.

    As for the former HS QB's, I think they all work at The Home Depot. That's probably as satisfying as mesmerizing a packed stadium on a Friday night under the lights.

  25. Loved the title. We can not only do the "dieting" thing together we can also not hit last year's mileage together. This is the first year in awhile I won't be increasing my distance!

  26. I feel the pain of your slump! I've kind of hit one too since my RKC in June.....time to pull up the boot straps and get back to what I know I need to do!

  27. Patience, patience... it will come back. Keep up that biking, add in some speed work, and you'll be faster than ever!

    I am moving my training focus from tri-training to more running and I am looking forward to the LSD. I've done a few medium distance runs and can't wait to run long.

  28. I feel your pain. I've looked back at my logs and the LSD has become a norm. I attribute some of mine to age, and I'm sticking to that!

  29. Ooooh girl- I wish I had read this post earlier- I needed it!!! I was just lamenting about my sluggish'ness and unwillingness to do anything! I have no idea where it is coming from...fear of injury, burnout..who knows! But you are so not alone!

    I do think when we choose to just run, without thinking about numbers or distances, we are so much better off!

  30. unfortunately training for ultras I know all about getting longer and slow. Good thing is that your speed will build back quickly once you hit the track

  31. You'll get there! I am sure!

    Thanks for the link to the yoga site, I think I will use that today. I am very sore from the relay!