Learning to Train (addendum)

Explanation: I wrote the end of yesterday’s article in an 11:30 p.m. haze. Here’s the final version – improved, I hope. Let’s see if I can do better… – Regards, George

Eventually, I realized that the times when I “knew” with the greatest firmness were when there was a strong feeling of rightness in my heart.

Carl Ellsworth was a scientist. He quietly tested his methods. And the “proof” was a 3:05 marathon at age 64.

Carl was a polished runner. He was a work of art. In his wabi-sabi way, he was a beautiful man.

I’ve moved on since 1995. As I look back over my career as a runner, I realize that I’ve learned the most by simply running and paying attention, but not by thinking too much. Like Carl.

I’ve refined the instrument that lets me hear my body’s lessons. As you know if you’ve read these pages, that is, of course, the heart.

I’m a work in progress. I’m still sculpting my runner’s understanding.

I do make mistakes. Yesterday, I ran 3 hours. I ran at a moderate pace for 2 hours, then did 6 x 2 minutes at 96% to 99% of max HR. It was a wildly unconventional run, because it wasn’t LSD or speedwork. Yet it felt deeply entirely harmonious. Or, almost entirely.

The first two repeats were ridiculously easy, smooth as butter. The next two were an enjoyable stretch. But the last two were strained. I no longer had the inner assent of my heart. I should have stopped at four.

Tuning my heart allows me to run hard, even though I’m an old man. Sure, I do make mistakes. It’s part of learning. But I’m no longer as confused as I was when I worked at Runner’s World.

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