March 22, 2014

Who Needs a Log when You Have a Blogger Account?

I've never been one for note taking. Not in grade school, high school, or even college. Truthfully, I never took anything at all to class. Not books. Not a binder. No notebooks. I'd remember what I read, remember what the teacher talked about - except when I didn't. In any case, that was the extent of my academic aspirations. It was a good enough strategy to get me an "A" average on my major (English) and minor (philosophy) both, so, aside from studying English and philosophy (useful!), I guess things mostly worked out.

I don't say this as any kind of endorsement, however. My academic laziness was probably some sort of failing, perhaps indicative of a deeper issue I've never bothered seeking out, much less fixing.

And so it is a very familiar sensation, really, when I read everywhere that one really must keep a training log. I heard it in school, and again, when I was more focused on lifting.

How do you know you're getting stronger, if you're not tracking what you did last week, last month, etc?

I'd always respond that I simply did the most I could on that particular day, and didn't worry about the numbers. My concern was the stimulus. Getting to failure, which felt so much like success. Breaking myself down, touching exhaustion as often as possible. If I felt like doing max effort weighted dips for ten days in a row, then that's what I'd do. If a particular area didn't feel destroyed, I kept going until it did. Then, when it felt better, I went back.

Simple. Probably a little stupid. Maybe a lot stupid. But I'd be lying if I said I didn't love it. And, hubris aside, it worked pretty well. When, sans needle, you get frequent steroid accusations from fellow gym goers, things are good.

Or were good, right up until they weren't. But that's a longer story that, oddly, I've never really told here. Now isn't that time, though.

The point is, that was five to seven years (and about 25-30 pounds) ago. I was young and naive.

Now, as a 25-year-old, presumably a genuinely functional adult, I ought know better. I wouldn't possibly have just switched targets, but kept the same perspective? Would I?

Well, of course I would. And of course I have. As then, I do read vigorously on my athletic endeavor of choice. And I do use that knowledge to loosely implement something that one might call a "plan". But, reduced to its essence, that plan generally is: Do as much as I can today. Do I have time for three hours? The legs for it? Then go. Hilly too, if I'm up for it. And as fast as I can manage. Don't write a damn thing down, because, as ever, I'm looking for a stimulus (physical and psychological), not a progression of data points.

And, as ever, this is not an endorsement. While there is quite a lot to be said for listening to one's body, and training accordingly, I'd never argue that my implementation of said philosophy is optimal. Not for you. Not even for me, really. It is, however, as before, "working". And, despite what may seem a somewhat confessional tone to all of this, I really do enjoy myself, every day. I'm not injured. I don't dread runs. And I haven't lost any organs in several years! That's a good sign, you have to admit.

Tomorrow, I'm going to do a long run. How long? It depends. So does the course. And the pace. It will be as easy as it has to be, and as hard as it can be. Sunday is nominally a recovery day, which is to say, as easy as it has to be, and as hard as it can be.

How does this fit in with what I did a month ago? Excellent question. I have no idea.

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