What’s it take to create a high-quality run?
I suspect most runners tend to associate “quality” with speed. But I’m not entirely happy with that definition, because I think it puts too much emphasis on numbers. It limits quality to the surface of the sport.
I never define a run as “high-quality” if it only has that surface shine. I’ve run fast when the overall quality of the run was quite low.
Speed is only one part of quality. There are other, important parts that can’t be measured in numbers.
Are easy recovery runs “low-quality” because they’re short and slow? These days, I’m enjoying recovery runs where the quality is remarkably high. I believe it’s because I’ve learned that doing the right thing on my easy runs generates big rewards.
There seems to be a genie in the running body that rewards us with positive feelings when we do what’s right, no matter the distance or pace. On easy days, we get positive feelings by never running faster or father than the body can handle.
I find it amazing how good I feel on those “low-quality” runs. On my personal scale of quality, I rank them above faster runs where I miss the mark and do too much – even if the numbers on the speedometer are impressive. For my money, the numbers are meaningless if they’re purchased at the cost of feeling good.
Good training and good feelings go together. Do the right training and you feel great. Run in ways that generate expansive feelings, and you can be sure that you’re doing good training.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that “good training” is whatever feels good. Shades of the Sixties! Okay, let me rephrase it – good training is what feels best. Big difference.
It takes energy to train expansively – to nudge the body to improve. Obviously, you can feel good and do too little – but you can’t feel best. That takes energy.