Strength and Endurance:
Can We Have Both?
No one ever told me I could be strong. From an early age I was told I had “the body of a runner.” Translation: you are tall and skinny and should probably stay away from sports that involve physical contact with another human being or heavy objects.
So I became a runner because that is what I thought I was “supposed” to be. For a long time, I let my body type direct my athletic destiny. From one perspective you could say it worked out well. I joined the track and cross-country teams in high school, came to love the discipline of training, and enjoyed the camaraderie that came with being a part of a team.
I left for college, still a runner at heart but without a team to be a part of. I wasn’t nearly fast enough for the University of Michigan track team, so I just laced up my shoes and hit the pavement on my own. I wasn’t sure what I was training for, all I knew was that I couldn’t stop competing whether I was asked to be on a team or not.
Training for nothing got old pretty fast so I registered for the Chicago Marathon. I found a training program online that I followed religiously during my junior year of college. It was a typical “long slow distance” (LSD) training calendar that would increase my mileage weekly, my longest runs always falling on a Saturday. The calendar worked me up to two 20-mile runs that I was to complete roughly 6 and 4 weeks before the marathon.
I ran the Chicago Marathon in October of 2001 and finished in a time of 3 hours 51 minutes. I was so pumped after this experience that I immediately signed up for the San Diego Marathon which would take place the following June. I followed the same training program and finished the San Diego Marathon in… wait for it… 3 hours 52 minutes. That is zero improvement. It’s actually a little worse than zero improvement, but let’s not split hairs...Read More