Thursday, August 20, 2009
A "Run More, Think Less" Style Defines Marathon Contender Kara Goucher
An article in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal [The Africans are Hearing Footsteps] outlines the differences in training strategy between Kara Goucher, America's best hope in Sunday's marathon at the World Track & Field Championships, and the majority of American distance runners over the past 20 years. This quote from the article basically sums it up:
"In a bold move aimed at catching the Africans who have owned this event, Ms. Goucher has taken all the tactics generated by U.S. running experts in the last 20 years—the charts, the mileage recommendations and high-tech motion-sensing computer readouts—and stuffed them in a dumpster."
I was totally and utterly thrilled to hear this. You mean I don't have to track, record and analyze every mile? I don't have to worry about heartrates and lactate thresholds? YES!
One of the reasons I have always loved running above and beyond all my other sports is its simplicity. Running just feels good. It feels natural, and it doesn't require all the gear of sports like skiing and rock climbing. Just lace up a pair of shoes and head out the door.
But sometimes I feel lazy for not having a more serious training plan and committing to learning all of the latest research on training techniques. I don't have a subscription to Runner's World, or Trailrunner, or even Ultrarunning. I just want to run.
It's not that my workouts have no structure. They definitely do. It's just that, these days, that structure doesn't completely define my running.
The article quotes Deena Kastor:
"'For so long, people here were focused on figuring out the exact science behind setting records,' Ms. Kastor says. 'But there is no exact science.'"
And that is where things stand for me right now. While I do think it's important to learn, understand and apply training and racing techniques, I think it can be equally important to feel comfortable letting it all go. Running, at its most basic level, is more art than science.
I can't wait to see how Kara does this Sunday!
I'll leave you with a Pre quote (not from the article):
"Some people create with words or with music or with a brush and paints. I like to make something beautiful when I run. I like to make people stop and say, 'I've never seen anyone run like that before.' It's more than just a race, it's a style. It's doing something better than anyone else. It's being creative."