I just read a study showing that 99% of a half marathon or marathon is aerobic, while 1% is anaerobic. Which makes me wonder why so many magazine training programs like speedwork as part of a marathon training program.
The teams are looking... alright. We race at the Woodbridge Invitational tomorrow, a flat and fast meet that will host more than 13,000 competitors. I like to remind myself that September doesn't matter, because it's the silly season of cross country. The teams that do well at Woodbridge are not always the teams that do well at State. My boys look solid but they haven't raced as a team yet. My girls are also solid but we've had a little illness here and there, a few injuries, a few detentions that mean a missed practice, and so on. I fuss and fret over all this stuff, trying hard to see the big picture and relax. If I make every meet life and death then no one has any fun, me included.
But it's hard sometimes. Man, is it hard. I'm an adrenaline junkie. I love that burst of euphoria that comes with the sound of the starting gun. Let me tell you, it's easier and more fun to hear that gun when you're a coach. Back when I raced, nothiing made me want to vomit more than the mere sight of a starter's pistol. The crack of the gun meant the onset of enormous amounts of suffering -- the race of truth, as it were, where each athlete redefined their commitment to excellence, stride by painful stride until they crossed the finish line.
And then there's the issue of speed. I know a lot of teams that start their intervals in August, which seems a tad early to me. I know other teams that don't start until October, which seems late. I'm a September guy, myself, saving the start of speedwork for that day when everyone seems to have enough strength and now needs a dose of rapid turnover juju to race like cheetah. The season plan goes out the window until I see that look in their faces that tells me they're ready for speed. It's a form of alchemy, really. But sooner or later, speed is of the essence.
Like they say: "Speed kills -- those who don't have it."
Keep Pushing... Always