Make Soup.

misosoup1by John Schrup

If you train with Rogue, you’ll hear us talk a lot about volume, and a lot about efforts. High volume, low volume, recovery effort, easy effort, moderate effort, hard effort. But what does that really mean?

Think of volume as the glue that holds everything together.  For each of you, you’ll find that you need different amounts of adhesive.  But the more adhesive you can use, the larger the volume of overall intensity you can attach.  And that is any intensity of greater than an easy effort.  For the sake of discussion, let’s call it mgp and faster.

Think about this.  If you go back and look at training logs of the very top men and women in the marathon world, greater than 50% of their weekly effort is recovery effort.  Greater than 50%.  Recovery effort.  Think about that, and then think about what yours is.  Probably nothing close to that, right?  So let’s look at it another way.

I like to cook.  Lately I’ve had the chance to cook more.  So I research and read recipes and talk to people and find out how to make the things I want to make.  It isn’t just following recipes, which is key, but it is also knowing where the emphasis is on certain ingredients or components of the meal.  You have to know the basics in order to play around with certain things according to your own wants so the dishes turn out just like you want them to.

Wait.  Come back.  It gets better.

So lately, I’ve been on a soup kick.  And specifically, Japanese soups.  I don’t know why.  I’ve never been to Japan.  I just like them.  The soups I mean.  The people too, I suppose.   Wait.  What?  I’m talking about the food, so we’ll go with that.

So the little Japanese market I go to over on Burnet is really awesome.  They have great stuff, and though I don’t know what most of the stuff is because it is written in Japanese, I like the idea of buying food stuffs with little cartoony kittens or mushrooms or little smurfy looking things on the packages.  And they’re all very happy, which tells me that whatever is inside is going to make me happy too.

So I asked the woman there how I should make this soup.  She took me around and showed me all the ingredients I’d need, and then told me the old school way to cook things–you know, from scratch–and then the short cut way how to make it.  Of course, because I like to make things difficult, I opted for the scratch method.  I figured if one of my boys ended up in the hospital with food poisoning, I could switch to the short cut version of preparation.

Anyway, she told me that, ultimately, the dashi is the key.  Dashi is the soup base.  It is the Japanese version of the Louisiana roux.  If you don’t have the dashi right, nothing else really matters.  And if you’ve got the dashi down, then all the ingredients become even more valuable–the flavor of each is at once highlighted and combined with others to make the wonderfully flavored meal.  Daikon, maybe some noodles–rice or buckwheat, whatever–garlic, ginger, onion, carrot; all the goodies, maybe some wakame or something; some pork or chicken if you’re going that route.  Whatever you put in, the dashi has to be good.

How is this related to what we do?

The base volume–which is not just a dedicated block, but includes ALL the easy running and workouts and everything you need to do–has to be good.  That’s your dashi.  The vegetable, seasonings and meats are the different workouts, none more important than the others, but necessary nonetheless.

So if you’re thinking, I need to be running 8 minute miles because I want to race a marathon at 7 minutes a mile and somewhere I read or heard that easy pace is one minute slower than race pace, well, you’re in a forest/trees situation.  Easy is an effort, and doesn’t correspond to pace exactly.  There is a range, as individualized as the number of runners, and so to look at “easy” as a pace rather than your own effort on any given day is to lack faith in your body’s innate ability to improve.

This is why I suggest that you do your running based either on time–without thought to distance–or distance, completely untimed.  Trust yourself.  Trust your body.  Trust your natural athletic ability, whatever it may be.  There is really no reason, other than that we need external reassurances, that you should consider your watch when you’re running easy days.

So to make a good soup, first you need to have a good dashi.  If you don’t have that, then you don’t have a meal, you’re just left with individual ingredients.

Check it:  For those of you who fancy yourself a dedicated runner, a dedicated marathoner, who wants to find out what you’re made of, John coaches Team Rogue on T, Th mornings at 5:30.

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3 thoughts on “Make Soup.

  1. Pingback: Unplugged | The Rundown

  2. Pingback: Old Dog, New Tricks? Absolutely! | The Rundown

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