Brandon Wood sings opera and runs races and does triathlons. His background is in swimming, he’s an incurable optimist (when I met him he insisted that if I tried to swim I wouldn’t sink like a stone), and he recently queried folks about whether he should increase the use of his “head” given his propensity to rely on his “heart.” I think he’s at the point, having recently, albeit slowly, completed an Ironman, of assessing where he goes from here. He mentioned me in his post, so I responded. I know my Swiftian observation may be small-minded, but, hey, I can be as small-minded as the next man.

Thanks for the kudos.

Now the last thing I want a runner to be thinking about is what she should be thinking about when she’s running. Do the running, the thinking will follow. If anyone asks what to think of, I say one thing: “RELAX.”

What Lam says is true. I generally focus on different things for different types of runs, but I, to coin a phrase, just do it. And I don’t particularly worry about my form. Form is important, crucial even. But there’s one type of work-out that is the most fun and most sociable type of speedwork that is very important but that few people seem to do in the rush to do other types of speedwork. Repeats. I won’t get into them here because they are only part of a bigger picture. I did a memo a few years back based on Daniels and you can get it here.

Now I hesitate to go further since the last time I responded to someone making a general call for training advise I was set upon by a band of Lilliputians wielding their little swords, poking me for having the temerity not to speak with the obsequiousness appropriate to the site. Alas, out of that annoying encounter I came up with my “What Kind Of Runner Would I Be” posts, which, while hardly unique, sets out a line and leaves it to each runner on which side she will stand.

You, Brandon, know that the only person who cares about how you run is you. You can stink up the place or you can blow the roof off the joint and it doesn’t matter to anyone but you.

Which brings you to Charlie Spedding’s three questions: (1) What do I want? (2) Why do I want it? (3) How much do I want it?

Head vs. Heart? To get where you want to go, you have to be smart. How do you train the various systems that get you there? Identify the systems, identify how to stress them. Pretty simple stuff. It starts, though, with deciding what you want to do, what kind of runner you want to be. (I use “runner” since I have problems understanding how triathletes can do it (see my “One Greater Than Three?” post).) And do you want to be the best that you can be, whatever it is, 3:00, 3:30, 4:00 for the marathon say.

How you implement the plan in the end turns on the heart. “How much do I want it?” But it’s not as though this stuff has to be hard. Back to Spedding: don’t think of runs as hard or easy. Think of them as part of the plan and a “perfect” workout is, Goldilocks-like, just right, not too fast, not too slow.

That’s why you need the numbers. I am into the numbers thing. Especially on the speedwork front, which I prefer to do on a track for precision. You can get that with a Garmin (+/-) too. How fast the 400? Depends on whether it’s an interval or a repeat. How much rest? Depends.

I can be rambling. But there it is.

(As an aside, it happens that in an interview I found of Ryan Hall with Bob Babbitt Hall says his coach’s advice as to a marathon: First 20 miles with the head. Last 6 with the heart.)

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