What We're Running for Thursday, July 23

Plus 4 principles for training from Meb Keflezighi

Good morning, my running friends! ☀️ Just a couple of quick items before we head out for our 5 miles this morning — or afternoon, or evening, if that’s when it works for you.

First, I wanted to share this amazing video my wife Meredith passed along to me of what’s known as “Strandbeest” (or “beach animals” in English), a series of amazing wind-powered creatures that appear to move like animals, designed by the Dutch sculptor Theo Jansen:

Also, this week I heard back from the race organizers at the Monterey Bay Half Marathon and learned this:

  • Registration for the virtual race is scheduled to open on Wednesday, Aug. 19

  • You can complete your miles anytime between November 1 - 15

  • Or, you can run them all on the original race date (Nov. 14), which is what I’m planning on

As soon as I have more info (including pricing and a link to registration), I’ll pass it along to you. 👍

If you remember this issue from May, we discussed four things new runners can learn from Meb Keflezighi, the Eritrean-born American distance runner, Olympic medalist and winner of the 2014 Boston Marathon and the 2009 New York City Marathon.

He has so many great insights to share. So, now that we’re underway in our training for the Monterey Bay Half this fall, I thought I’d share some of the training principles he highlights in his well-known book on running, Meb For Mortals, which I try to keep in mind as I train:

It’s better to be under-trained than over-trained

“As runners, we tend to think more is always better. We all want to be known for going the extra mile. At times, that used to be me, but not these days. In my own running and that of many elite and recreational runners, I’ve seen more problems arise from going one mile too many than one too few.” — page 42

When I ran full marathons years ago, we never ran 26.2 miles in any of our training runs before race day. The longest I remember running is 22, in fact.

Why? Largely the risk of getting injured and never making it to race day. And if you’d like to make running a part of your life, taking care to avoid injury — primarily by not over-training — is something to always be aware of.

Not feeling doing 5 miles today? Don’t push it. Run 4 miles, or 3 miles. Even if you don’t finish what’s on our plan for the day, that’s always better than zero miles.

Progress patiently, with small steps

“Always base your training goals on where you are now. Don’t try to mimic what you read or hear others are doing — you don’t know how long it took them to get to that level. By regularly aiming a little higher, you can keep progressing. Over the course of just a few training cycles, you’ll significantly advance what you’re capable of.” — p. 44

When I first got into running, the marathon distance was the distance everyone I knew wanted to run. And if they can do it, I can do it, right?

At the time, I was just 25 years old and in relatively good shape before I started training. I was single and had plenty of time to train the right way. But would I train for 26.2 miles today, in my late forties and with two young kids? Um…. no. I’m just not in a place where that’s realistic for me. And that’s just fine with me.

Consistency is king

“When I tell people you don’t lose much aerobic fitness in 3 weeks off from running, I don’t mean that’s how you improve. Perhaps more than any other sport, running rewards regularity. Implicit in patiently making small amounts of progress is training consistently.” — p. 44

For many of us, staying motivated is a challenge. And there’s no reason you should feel bad or guilty about that, because even the best of the best in running experience that too:

As Meb says, sometimes the solution is just putting on your running shoes. “You’re almost always going to be happy you ran, and you’re almost never going to be happy you missed a day when you planned to run.”

Variety is the spice of running

“If you want to run the same distance at the same pace over the same course on every run, I’m fine with that. But you’ll make greater gains in fitness by mixing things up, with different days having different emphases. More well-rounded training is essential if you want to race anywhere near your best. And if you’re like most runners, you’ll find that variety in how far and how hard you run keeps things more interesting, meaning that you’ll be more motivated to be consistent.” — p. 47

I’m not sure I can say it any better than Meb. 😃

— Terrell

👉 P.S.: I wanted to share with you all a newsletter that I love called Drawing Links by Edith Zimmerman, who’s part of our running group here. In yesterday’s issue, she draws about her experience in learning to become an athlete. Check it out, I know you’ll love it.

A song to run to today

Are You Gonna Be My Girl” from the album Get Born by Jet.

Want to hear all the songs from our newsletters? Our full playlist contains 7 hours, 16 minutes of music to run to.