It seems like there's a truism that does hold up for most things in life: variety is best. Like most people, I find it hard sometimes. For a while, I was eating the same thing for breakfast (bagel with cream cheese), taking the same route to work, running the same workouts at the same pace. I've tried to change that. A couple years ago, I tried to do one thing new each week, whether it was a different commute or not watching TV.
Running, I realize, is no different. In a way, it's more challenging to mix things up because running requires consistency. To do it well, you need to keep at it. But there's then the tendancy to get stuck. My training was in a rut the last few years. It's not that I haven't worked hard or done well. I had a pretty good streak of training before the Flying Pig. It's more that there hasn't been sufficient variety of workouts. Pfitzinger is changing that. Already this week I've run at a bunch of different paces, on different routes and terrain. One thing reminding me of the need for variety is a sudden soreness I've developed in my right knee. I've been so lucky over the years to avoid injury. Only one time, four years ago, did I develop an injury that made me stop running for more than a week. (It was ITB syndrome.) My guess is the aches come from overuse. I've gone up in mileage the last couple of weeks. But I also think a lack of variety is playing a role. This week, I mixed things up. One day I was doing an 8-miler in Central Park with about a mile or so of 100-meter repeats on the Reservoir. Another I went 8 miles down the West Side to Chelsea, running on a long flat stretch. Later that day, I even ran a Hash through the East Village and Soho, dodging pedestrians and trying to keep on sidewalks, followed by a few miles along the river. Last night, I ran 8 miles on the soft dirt in Riverside Park. I hope to keep up the different types of runs and routes to make things remain interesting. The Hash in particular was a nice break. While it involved a few miles of running, and my second workout of the day, it's relaxed. The idea is you chase around a trail set in chalk on the sidewalks. Eventually, everyone winds up at a bar. That probably isn't ideal for every workout, but it is for maintaining some balance.