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April 5, 2006

Two in the Rain

OK, stop me if this sounds familiar – but when I picked up my son after school for our scheduled 5K workout, it was raining.

It wasn’t falling too heavily, so we stood under the eaves of the school library for a few minutes, then decided to give the workout a try. It was a mutual decision – and to my son’s credit, he didn’t seem overly concerned about getting a little wet.

It’s funny, but there’s a concept of psychology called “conditioning” that describes how we respond to what is presented to us in our environment. The same term is used for physical training. With that one decision to run in the rain, my son demonstrated progress on both fronts. (Honestly, I’m just trying to help the kid run – I’m not trying to go all Pavlov on him.)

So we ran again, and we were lucky to catch a brief break in the storm. We even saw the sun peek out a couple of times. Here is his workout:

1200m jog – 200m walk – 600m jog (last 100m fast) – 200m walk – 800m jog (last 100m fast)– 200m walk – 400m fast jog – 200m walk. Total distance 3800m.

And now here’s my question: when do I get to count this mileage toward my own training? When we first started, it wasn’t even a consideration, but now he’s going more than two miles total. That’s too much to just write-off, isn’t it?

I ask for a couple reasons. First, my mileage totals are always approximate. I’m not (yet) a GPS guy, and I do so many miles on trails that I’m always estimating my totals instead of knowing for sure. I typically err on the conservative side, but still I wonder sometimes if my 70-mile weeks are really more like 68 or 69. Which really wouldn’t matter so much if I weren’t so neurotic about these things. But if I could count the two extra miles yesterday, that gives me some margin of error. And who knows, that peace of mind might even help me sleep better (Did I mention I’m a bit neurotic? Just checking.).

Second, I mean…a mile is a mile, right? If I cover 2 additional miles with the kid on top of my 70 for the week, that should add up to a 72-mile week. Sure, we’re going at something like a 15-minute pace - but I’ve done slower miles than that in ultras, and you better believe that those miles count just as much as the faster ones.

At any rate, with less than 4 weeks until his 5K, I think the kid is coming along quite nicely. Yesterday’s workout was the farthest he has run, and he definitely showed signs of fatigue at the end. But he bounced back pretty well afterwards, and is developing a sense of confidence that he’ll be able to complete his race.

We’ve even come up with our own slogan, after two weeks of running in the rain, doing workouts that stretched his ability in ways he was unaccustomed to. Walking back to the car, he repeated the same words I told him after last week’s workout: “Running isn’t for sissies.”

He’s right. And I’m counting the two miles.


stronger 4/5/06, 11:08 AM  

Count 'em. Reward yourself after Big Sur with the forerunner.

Downhillnut 4/5/06, 11:24 AM  

Oh yes, they count. You just reminded me that I need to sign my kiddos and I up for the Mother's Day 5k.

Love that slogan!

Kim 4/5/06, 11:26 AM  

I'd count them! Totally. :)

And, btw, this rain has to stop before Big Sur. I'm not a sissy. But I don't know how many more rainy outside or dry treadmill runs I can take.

olga 4/5/06, 3:11 PM  

Definitely count anything over 2 miles, so here you go, you're in!
Good luck to Kid!

robtherunner 4/5/06, 3:35 PM  

I count anything 2 or more. I say that because I have started to run on the treadmill or the track and after a mile I quit, but never count the mileage. If it was 2 miles though I would have counted it.

backofpack 4/5/06, 6:17 PM  

You are becoming so used to running in the rain that the next thing you know, you'll be signing up to run Seattle...

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