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29 December, 2009

Okay, this post doesn’t have much to do with sinews, I just like the word. And what the hell is wrong with the word sinews, anyway? Nothing, but it never gets used. Just try saying it though, and, like me, you will no doubt be looking for your chance to use it in a sentence at every turn. I mean, I realize that it has little by way of anatomical significance these days, but the time still arises when nothing else will do. For example, yesterday I did a lower body and core workout in the morning, including two miles warmup on the treadmill, followed by four-and-a-half miles in the evening via Granville and 16th. Then I made the mistake of not stretching. How to describe the feeling of my legs during my six mile morning run today? I’m not in pain exactly, but my quadriceps feel like stretched canvas, my hamstrings like so much jerky left to dry out a bit on a car dashboard in summer. Consequently, the SINEWS around my knees feel brittle as glass windshield. See what happens when we neglect perfectly good words? For want of common currency, this unfortunate, lost word finds itself dropped awkwardly into a shoddy, mixed metaphor.

Last night, however, my legs actually felt bouncy (anybody who has seen me run will attest to the fact that I don’t really bounce), and I averaged under seven-minute mile pace, which is really too fast for easy pace. From the literature around running that I’ve read and advice that I’ve received, it seems there is a gap in useful training paces. For me at this point in time this ‘non-training’ zone is between 6:30 and 7:05 per mile, give or take. Of course, there is still the benefit incurred by a slower paced easy effort, but there is also an additional risk of injury and fatigue that carries no additional benefit. Why does this zone feel so good, then? My ‘predicted’ marathon pace (based on performances in shorter races) may fall in this range of paces. I should probably point out that all these numbers come from the McMillan calculator(warning: turn your sound off, the jingle on this site is quite annoying] . Now I could maybe understand it as some kind of unconscious rebellion against the masterplan of my training schedule, an expression of freedom. However, in my first year of running, when I aimed to run the way I will as an old man (that’s to say, never faster or slower than I feel like running), my records show that I consistently ran in a similar pace zone for my performance level at that time. It’s a mystery I’m content to leave unresolved.

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