Mutation, I mean thats what we are all trying to do here, right? Sure we like shine it up and make it seem much prettier by calling it adaptation but lets get honest its just cellular mutation.
If your a newer runner or a more casual runner then you might not have even really thought about it. You are still in that I am going to get fit, get a little faster, live healthy stage of your running and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. You haven't joined the training circus under the freak tent yet and maybe you never will. I say runaway while you still can, runaway as fast and far as you possibly can and then keep running .... oh crap never mind.
For those of you that are already hopelessly trapped under the big top you understand, its all about the mutation. Once upon a time you ran just for fun but it wasn't enough for you was it. Going for a run became "training" which only lead to faster or longer running and better race times. We all know that then leads to more "training". Its the great circle of running.
As a casual runner have you ever really though about what you are actually doing. Maybe you look up to the better runners that you know and think I wish I could run like that. Well mutation is the key. The point of training is not to get stronger or faster or boost endurance these are not training goals. These are side effects of the mutation process. The actual point of training is to cause changes to your body at a cellular level. Thats right, its all about changing the actual make up of the mitochondrion and the cell itself.
The freaks under the "training" tent already know all this. We have read all the books by Nokes, Daniels and anyone else we could find. We are well aware of what we are doing. The fact is that for most of us we are upset that we were not born bigger genetic freaks. No matter how hard we "train" most of us will never run 2:15 marathons, 15 minute 5ks or 16 hour 100 milers. You have to have been really lucky in the genetic lottery for that kind of thing but that will not stop us from trying.
Over the course of the winter I had run easy, rebuilding my base and trying to get some zip back into my legs which I had destroyed during ultra season. With some bounce back I started more serious training upping the mileage and adding lots of hills and speed. There was some improvement but I was still not back to spring 2010 levels. I did not feel like I was in very good shape at all. Yeah I know how can you be running 120k a week and not be in shape. Well there is in shape and then there is in shape (racing shape?). Then I ran a decent ATB even though I didnt race full out. Something was happening.
In the last few weeks I have seen a huge jump in my own mutation (adaptation) as my high volume of mileage has begin to cause visible changes in my fitness level and endurance. I began to think I might be plateaued forever with what seemed like little forward progress and then something wonderful happened. My easy runs became way too easy. I was running the same pace but my heart rate had dropped way to low. At first I though it must be a problem with my monitor or a weird anomaly but after 3 weeks I figured it must be real. A quick email consultation with coach Roger lead to a rejigging of my approach to the runs. I started running back at my proper / previous easy run HR and suddenly I was running much faster. Last years marathon pace has become my easy run speed. For someone like me that is running mainly ultras this will hopefully translate into some faster times this year.
Mutation, its a wonderful thing.
Watch out Pick Your Poison 50k trail race is coming up this weekend!!