Tuesday, October 06, 2009

My first massage + strengths/weaknesses

First I have to admit that before yesterday, I'd never had a massage. Fortunately, that has now been rectified. I had no idea what I was missing! Why haven't I done this sooner? It was a generous gift from a friend after completing another marathon - definitely one of the best gifts ever! I walked out of there feeling so relaxed and refreshed. Hopefully my legs will appreciate it tonight when I take them out for our longest post-marathon run of 13K/8mi.


As a follow-up to yesterday's post, I wanted to share this article written by Greg McMillan of McMillan Running:

All runners have strengths. All runners have weaknesses. For a competitive runner moving to the front of the pack (or your age group), it becomes increasingly important to correctly identify your strengths and weaknesses and to use this knowledge to maximize your performance.

Runners can be divided into three general types -- Speedsters, Endurance Monsters and Versatile Runners. Think about your training and racing history and see which description below sounds most like you.


The Speedster (S) dominates his peers in any workout where the repeats are short and fast (5K race pace or faster). Track workouts, fartlek runs and short races get S excited and leave him fatigued but not trashed. However, long runs, tempo runs, marathon training and longer races take more out of S than a day of hard intervals on the track. When comparing race results with his peers, S is often frustrated that he can perform so well at short races but as the distance increases, he gets left behind.


For the Endurance Monster (EM), long runs, marathon training, tempo runs and any workout slower than 10K are no problem and usually revitalizing. The more miles per week the better: recovery is quick from long workouts, and the EM feels strength growing proportional to the volume covered. However, EM finds it very difficult to get her legs to go fast. Short, fast training like 200m-400m track workouts and hard fartlek runs leave EM feeling deflated. Short races like 5Ks also leave EM wrecked for days. EM also finds that she can almost double her 5K PR in a 10K and nearly double her half marathon PR in her marathon.


The Versatile Runner (V) is the most common type of runner. He performs well in all types of workouts -short/fast and long/slow. V also performs equally well in races of 5K to the marathon, placing nearly the same compared to his peers in each distance. He's not perfectly balanced, however, and may find some subtle tendencies towards one type of workout or race. A comparison of race times over distance, compared to "standard" curves (such as at runningtimes.com/race-equivalent) also reveals a trend toward better performances at shorter or longer races.

The article goes on to provide tips to customize the training for specific types if you're interested.

Of these three classifications, I suppose I fall into the "Speedster" category (although I certainly wouldn't call myself a speedster). Where do you fit? Are there any truly versatile runners out there?

Thanks for your comments on yesterday's post. I appreciate all of your feedback/opinions/ideas. I find this stuff really interesting, but for now I'm going to take Road Warrior's advice and stop over-analyzing to enjoy my PR. :)

Tomorrow I promise to tell you a bit more about my next race, my goal(s) and how I'm going to get there.

Have a good one!

P.S. It's Giveaway Mania over at RunToTheFinish! Check them out here, here, here and here!


RunToTheFinish said...

hehe thanks for all the link love. Ok seriously...you've never had a massage?!!! that's just blasphemy!!

I think I'm an EM, very interesting

X-Country2 said...

I'm not sure of the physical aspect, but mentally, I'm an endurance monster for sure. Interesting stuff.

Kristin Meeks said...

Welcome to the world of massage....awwww....its FANTASTIC!

ShirleyPerly said...

Most definitely, I am EM. A 5K will take much more out of me than most marathons. Interesting article!

NB said...

Thanks for posting the 3 types of runners! I loved reading the descriptions and definitely think I'm an S. It really made me feel better about not having much fun marathon training these days. Next year I'm going to concentrate on shorter distances. Thanks again!!

Heather said...

Yay for a massage! They really are enjoyable. :)

8 miles tonight? You are getting right back on the wagon. Good for you.

Jamie said...

It took me forever to go for my first massage and I remember thinking the same thing when I left. Glad you finally were able to see what you had been missing!!!

J said...

I was just looking into getting a massage last night! What kind did you get? That looks like a good article and i would agree you are a speedster! Now we just have to figure out to get your long distance endurance better for the marathon. I am sure with more experience and continued training you will get better!

Jenn said...

I am addicted to my RMT. Though I must admit I'm often more sore after the massage than I was before!

Mel -Tall Mom on the Run said...

I consider myself a Versatile Speedy Endruance runner. LOL!! No idea what I am, have not been running long enough to know. So far the 5K is the only race I can place in...but I am pretty sure if I find small enough races that may change..

Hugs to enjoying your PR.

FYI I have never had a REAL massage either. Only hubby and sports trainers :)

Lily on the Road said...

Gawd, it takes me 5k to warm up, so yes, I'm an EM....(sometimes, LOL).

joyRuN said...

EGADS! No massages before yesterday?! I lurve massages - I'd like to get them more often :)

I'm none of those types of runner. Unless there's another category of "slowpokity ambling along"?

Gotta Run..... said...

I lurv me some massages!!! Your body with thank you in some big ways.

Marci said...

Interesting... I am not sure what category I fit into, probably versatile? You will love the Niagara Falls HM, its one of my favourites (well the full, but I ran on the half course, and its beautiful!)

Julia said...

hmmm cool article. I think I am a EM. Speed just kills me!

Running Kiwi said...

That was very interesting! I haven't been running long enough to see what I am - but I'm picking probably the EM ... I remember way back at school coming last in sprints, then placing in cross-country - even then I had more endurance than speed!

I'm a numbers girl too, and even though I've only just started out I've already spent a bit of time on the McMillan calculator obsessing over how fast I'll run the marathon ... nutty, I know :)

BTW - congratulations on your awesome marathon, you're very inspiring - I'm enjoying your blog :)

Megan L. Killian said...

I loooove massages!!! especially the kind that make you sore afterward.

Unknown said...

My husband gets a sports massage every three weeks or so. Me, I don't like people touching me.

Glad you enjoyed your massage!

Anonymous said...

This is interesting! I'm stil deciding where I'd put myself - I Really enjoyed the shorter races this summer (preferring the 8K or 10K distances), but obviously have a desire to run the longer ones for that sense of accomplishment. Hmm....I guess we'll see how the Full pans out here in a few months. ;)

First massage?! Awesome! That was a good trial this week :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing that! I am probably an EM because I have a track speedwork phobia, but I don't recover quickly from my long runs. I would like to one day be a Versatile runner.
Glad you took the time to get a massage- your body and spirit deserves it!

Melanie Tait said...

Marlene!! I'm so happy you've discovered the joy of a good massage.

Aren't they heaven? Did you promise yourself one a month from here on in? I always do that but it doesn't seem to work out that way (she says 2 years since the last one...) :)

Lindsay said...

hooray for a massage!! niiice! :)

i think i'm kind of an EM ('cause my marathon time predicts me running a faster 5k time than i have) but also kind of V (only like 6% though). i'd probably say EM. interesting article!

EndorphinBuzz said...

I think I'm an EM :)

Good work on the massage. Hubs should take some lessons ;)