My Six Speed Transmission

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During today’s tempo run, I got to thinking about the topic for my next blog (this itself is a lesson in lack of focus). I always come up with metaphors about how running relates to life. This time I was thinking about how a car transmission and running are quite similar.

As I’ve mentioned before, there are three basic components of running. These are speed, strength and endurance. Training consists of a mix of these three components, depending upon what running distance one chooses to excel at. During today’s workout, I checked my mile splits and became frustrated with how much speed I have lost over the last couple of years. So instead of beating myself up over this earth shattering news, I started to shift my thinking about how running is like the gears in a car.

Gears one and two are for speed running. I think of these gears as used for those runners who excel on the track or at shorter road races. These gears use a lot of fuel and one is depleted of energy quickly. Using these gears would be like driving a Porsche all the time. Gears three and four are the strength gears. These gears are used for runners who excel at distances from the half marathon up to the marathon distance. These gears still burn a lot of fuel but are more efficient and one can go longer before running out of gas. A good car comparison would be a muscle car like a Mustang or Camaro. Gears five and six are for endurance running. These gears are definitely used for ultra distances. These gears are energy efficient and get good mileage like a Hybrid car.

One thing to remember is that you need to practice using all six gears no matter what distance you like to run. You will just need to rely more heavily on one or two sets of gears more than the other. Basically, the longer you want to go the more efficient you need to be. You also have to take into account the weather conditions and your age. This is something I’m becoming more aware of after every speed workout.

So in a nutshell, my running career started out as a sexy Porsche and now I’m driving around in a Hybrid. I was never very fast and running speeds are all relative but I’d still like to be able to test drive that Porsche every now and then. So if you fly by me on the road or trail just realize I’m going green!

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