Putting “We” In Memorial Day

“Soldier Antlers” by Lydia Komatsu

Memorial Day was always just another day off, a long weekend, an excuse to get my hopes up for what would be another

example of lousy Minnesota spring weather. I’m sure at some point, or at multiple points, adults explained to me the purpose of Memorial Day, but to a kid, I’m pretty sure that play time always trumps significance. He’ll understand some day, I’m sure they said as my black bowl of hair bounced away.

There’s this Bible verse, about being a child, doing childish things, then being a adult and acting like it. “Childish” always seemed pejorative but now I know that the nuance is innocence, and the things we do that are associated with the seasons and phases of our lives.

It actually took some time, to be honest. To realize that Veteran’s Day was actually my day now. It took two years of staring at a list of Americans still missing in Iraq to grasp the meaning of the POW/MIA flag. I had to lose friends in combat to understand the gravity of the word “Memorial.”

I used to get angry about people who wished me a “Happy Memorial Day,” or thanked me for my service on the last Monday in May. Wrong take, wrong day, I’d think. You don’t get it. But these days, that “you” has become increasingly problematic, the word a literal smoke screen from which to break contact and move to cover. “You” erects barriers, creates an “us,” and by extension, “them.” Veterans and Civilians, regarding each other from across a wide chasm.

I prefer “we.’

“We” acknowledges the ability to bridge any gap.

“We” recognizes and accepts difference.

“We” brings us together.

Which brings me back to Memorial Day, and seasons. I’m happy that for some, the day brings no sorrow because there has been no occasion to summon it. And I grieve for those for whom the day breaks darkly. But there is no singular truth to the meaning of the day beyond its stated origin, and if I have one wish about the day, it’s for connection. I hope civilians ask veterans if they’ve lost someone, and I hope veterans will respond and share their stories. In this way, Memorial Day will become another means of bridging the divide between us.

Running: Second Month of the 5k Training Plan for Time Misers

Not an approved 5k training workout.

Not an approved 5k training workout.

In the second month, we’re going to build on what you got done the first month. To recap: at this point, you should have one race under your belt to indicate your current fitness levels, your long run should be around 60 min, and you should have developed some sense of pacing through your 400m repeats. This month is all about building around the capacity you’ve built so far, and the next four weeks will look this:

1) 800m (that’s a half mile for you imperial types) repeats. Just like the 400s, the track is the best place to develop pacing, but you can simply find a flat stretch of ground somewhere as well. Week 1: 4-6 x 800 w/1:30 rest at current 5k pace. Shoot for six, but if your pace falls off significantly after four, then cut it off there. Week 2: 6 x 800 w/ 1:30 rest at current 5k pace. Week 3: 6-8 x 800m w/ 1:30 rest at current 5k pace. Week 4: same as Week 3.

2) Tempo runs. Just like last week, add 15-20s to your 5k mile pace. Week 1: 25:00 tempo. Week 2: 30:00 tempo, but slow it down by about five seconds per mile. Week 3: Same as Week 2. Week 4: 35:00 tempo, pace slowed by 5-7s per mile.

3) Long runs. Week 1: Take ten minutes off your Month 1, Week 4 long run. Week 2: 65 minutes. Week 3: 70 minutes. Week 4: 75 minutes.

4) Try to find a race somewhere around the second week of the month – that will have given you six weeks of training to absorb and adapt to training. If you run faster than your last race, that’s your new 5k training pace. If you run slower, go with the faster time as your 5k benchmark — you probably had a rough day, or conditions were less than ideal.

5) RACE WEEK CAVEAT: Take it easy. If it’s a weekend race, just do one speed session, preferably 8 x 400m at goal 5k pace with equal rest. If you can, tack a few miles on after the 5k and count the total distance as your long run for the week.

Running: 1st Month of The 5k Training Plan for Time Misers

Marine Corps Marathon 2013: On my way to a PR of 2:44. Feels like forever ago.

No chafing here. 

I’m so out of shape, my thighs chafed during my last long run. Yeah. That was humbling. But you gotta start somewhere, and if you buy that, then here’s the start of a simple four month plan for the time-constrained.  We baselined some things last post: time available, setting goals, etc. so I won’t rehash. But not because they’re not important. So make sure you figure those things out before chasing a fast 5k.

CAVEAT: This plan assumes you’re healthy. Fit bill of health and all that. And that you have the sense to dial things back if injuries arise. Alright, enough said, here’s the plan:

1) Enter the next 5k you can find and race your ass off. Even if you’re coming off the couch, it will tell you exactly how long you were there. Race again, once a month. Try to space the races out 3-4 weeks. Note your improvements.

2) Month 1 Quality Workouts (aka “speed work” or “sprints” if you’re an endurance noob) will consist of one of the following. A) 400m repeats, preferably on the track. First week, six repeats with 45s rest (read: light jog) at current 5k pace (not a sprint obviously.) Second week, eight repeats. Third week, ten. Fourth week, twelve. If you miss a week, don’t skip forward. B) One week, 20:00 tempo (add about 15-20s to your 5k pace per mile, should be hard but not killer). Next week, hills of 30s/45s/60s duration with a walk down recovery. Do four sets, and try to extend the distance you cover each set. What that means is that the 30s you run on the last set should cover more ground than on the one prior. Same for the 45 and 60s repeats. *Notice I don’t tell you how to warm up or cool down. In general, warm ups should elevate your heart rate. Cool downs should decrease it. You will figure out what works for you. Some people run 3-5 miles before a track session. Some folks do some push-ups and call it good.

3) Long Run: a lot depends on how fit you start. I’m assuming you’re capable of running a 5k without walking, in 20:00-30:00 minutes. But being able to run 45:00 – 60:00 continuously would be about right for the end of the first month. If you’re coming off the couch, then maybe keep it on the low end. General rule of thumb: 10% increase in distance, per week.

4) What to do with time windfalls: mobility, strength, recovery runs. In that order. I’ll answer any questions in the comments. The focus of this first month is building your work capacity and sense of pacing. If you’re wondering about periodization, we will get to my philosophy on that later.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 691 other followers