Recently I read Once a Runner. I've heard about this book for years. It's supposed to be THE novel about running. However, the thing was hardly published at all, and the only copies you could get were the rare used copy for hundreds of dollars. They finally republished it more broadly, so I picked it up and gave it a read.
Well, it delivered. It's something like a cross between F Scott Fitzgerald and Chariots of Fire. It's very well written, truly describes distance running better than I've ever seen it described, and it gets you REALLY fired up about serious running.
The main character, Quentin Cassedy, talks about the "trial of miles" and "miles of trials". The basic idea is that you get fast by putting in miles. Lots of them. Every week, every month, every year. Sure speed workouts, fartleks, and tempo runs are important, but the person is wins races is the one who gets his/her ass out there every day and runs himself/herself into the ground.
Put that way, it sounds kind of bleak. However, a few lucky people actually enjoy the act of running. I'm fortunate enough to be one of those people. Anyway, I've been putting in my on miles of trials over here. Hit 5 weeks in a row of 80+ miles. Felt great throughout. I had a great race at the Cat 8 and came in second, some fast long runs with the road runners, some of the fastest track workouts I've ever done, and some big mileage weeks (hit 95 one week).
This last week I dialed back bigtime. I got really sick and was also traveling a ton for work. My right leg also felt pretty tweaked, so I think it worked out for the best that I took it easy. I'm healthy again now and feeling good. Today I went for a 20 mile run, and it was awesome to get back out there and hammer it.
I'm signed up for the George Washington Birthday Marathon next week. Definitely very far from peaking for this, but it should be a fun tough run and good fitness indicator. I'll be sure to let you all know how it goes!