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I like to write, draw, and create when I can, and have a pretty wide variety of interests and ideas floating around in my noggin. :) I just finished my first children's book and hoping to get it published; right now working on various creative writing works and artwork. You can read what's currently going on and feel free to share your comments too! :P
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Running is a crazy, paradoxical, numerical-obsessedo, backwards world.
Just when you don’t think you can run another step, you push through five more minutes, then instantly you feel like your legs have transformed into two totally different running entities. You go on for miles.
The first interval for a runner can sometimes feel like the worst. That’s where the nerves are, getting started.
Races are even crazier, poised at the line, in the seconds before the gun is about to CRACK you feel certain if they take any longer to fire it you’ll explode. Then, CRACK, and the whole world slips away.
“Back to those intervals…ya, suckers say the hardest is the first one…plowing through miler number three of five HAS to be more painful,” you think.
You then say, “Legs, don’t worry, this is the last interval we have to so…promise.” You say that after every one. Until you finish. Scr##w honesty.
Funny how a running partner that you train with feels like a war partner. You come to know them so well, read their breathing and stride as well as your own. You become intrinsically linked in the shared quest for your best.
Easy days can feel like the epitome of hypocrisy sometimes.
Out of nowhere getting blessed with one of THOSE days is a special kind of euphoria a runner never forgets.
The good days, the slog runs, the meh ones, the mentally tough workouts you’re proud of, the long runs that you wish never end…all of it. It’s crazy stuff. But it’s runner crazy and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
1) Just before you start a race, what makes you feel confident on the line?
2) Best lie you’ve told yourself/legs to get through a workout?
3) One of THOSE days, how many do you think a runner gets?
I’m a runner. You can call me every insult in the book and I really won’t care. I will probably even laugh. But the second you call me a JOGGER…all bets are off.
Make your running even FASTER…posts HERE, HERE, and HERE.
More Runner’s Strip comics and cartoons HERE.
1) What’s something that non-runners say or ask you that may annoy you?
2) Do you use runner and jogger interchangeably or do you definitely keep the adjectives in line?
3) How do you usually react to insults?
Usually I do end up laughing.
Runners seem to like to worry. Perhaps it’s a bit of the self masochism in us, on some level we must like to hurt, so it makes sense the same attraction is there for worrying. Our brains never seem to never be happy, or feel quite right, unless we’re preoccupied with something troublesome. [Why it has to be a negative is a topic for a post of another day!]
Am I doing enough? Is that a ‘new’ pain? Is that an INJURY?! Did I go out to fast? Am I doing too much? Should I ice that again? etc…etc. A common one is worrying about paces.
Well that’s only natural, of COURSE runners worry about paces…and they should. Paces are numbers, they are concrete, they are the benchmarks that tell us if we’re heading in the right direction, if all of this work is paying off. For runners, numbers are what show us progress. Paces, times, the black and whites of our sport are what feed that runner’s OCD-neurotic monster. It fuels our motivation.
Runners thrive on numbers. So paces and miles, naturally. The problem is
worrying stressing over the WRONG numbers. Let’s make a deal:
DO worry about the paces of your hard runs, races, and workouts.
DON’T worry about the paces of your easy runs.
Ahhh, there we go. Easy in concept but quite a different beast to wrestle when applied to the never-logical runner’s brain.
It’s far too easy to get sucked into thinking all paces are created equal. They AREN’T. They don’t hold races for ‘easy’ days…they could but then why not just make it a real race?
You see, it’s the hard running that counts. It’s the fast running that counts for PR’s. Let’s force logic onto our running brains here:
If you want to run FAST then the days that COUNT are the HARD ones.
How do you make sure your legs and body are recovered and prepared to run fast and hard on the days that count? Well, make sure they are able to recover between hard workouts. That means your easy days need to be run at whatever pace it is that allows them to recover.
Simple. Logical. But simple and logical sometimes get mangled in the runner’s brain.
So next time your brain starts off on a manic stress-induced worry attack because *HOLY CRAP* the pace of my easy run was soooo slow. STOP. Pause. Ask yourself this:
What was the pace of my last hard workout or race?
If the answer was that the pace was in the direction you want your running to go, if it’s showing progress…then who the flip cares about your easy day pace?!
Stress about what matters.
If your runner brain must worry about something pick something a little more benign. Maybe worry about the fact that your watch tan is blinding me.
1) The runner brain often can struggle with simple and logical, what’s another instance you have?
2) How do you keep your hard and easy day paces separate and at the right effort level?
3) Some run watchless, do you go naked on some of your easy days?
My ability to function as an individual relies quite heavily on my running. Perhaps more correctly my ability to function as a sane and friendly person does.
I like to run first thing, I try to not go out into normal society until after my run…more out of a courtesy. I’m pretty sure I’m grouchier. It’s because something IS wrong with me, there’s a bit missing. It’s my ‘fix’ of miles and endorphins.
So please, for the sake of yourself and everyone else, don’t speak to me until after my run. I promise that I AM a kind, engaging, and humorous person. The pre-run version of myself…we’ll just think of that as my ugly, evil, non-running twin.
More cartoons HERE!
1) When do you like to get your run in?
2) Do you definitely feel like you’re a different person pre and post run?
A runner’s brain is constantly being flooded by sensory input information. Feedback from the muscles, skin, lungs, eyes, ears, feet, nerves from everything. It’s a matter of taking all of these messages and warping them into what is in the runners’ best interest.
The Physical Messages
Typically the loudest feedback responders are going to be from your muscles and lungs. Here comes relays from your cardiovascular system and lactic threshold responders. The muscles announcing they are being worked, those mitochondria are breaking down glycogen and supplying your energy to run on; they are attention mongers demanding to be credited for their work.
These are pretty basic, primordial messages to your brain. Instinctual. You can’t change that these messages will be sent and that they are mostly containing shouts of pain, complaints, and fatigue.
You can’t control what messages are coming in while you are running but you CAN control how you interpret them. A runner that is mentally tough is able to manage and get as close to ignoring certain sensory feedback as they can.
* Anticipate: Incidentally the ability to manage what your legs and body are telling you while you run starts before the first step. This is anticipating the uncomfort in pain. It is a reality, but it is one we must both accept and deny. Accept the race and workouts will hurt but deny that we will let that pain break us. Anticipating the pain is a lot different from fearing it.
* Realize: Once you realize that EVERYONE will hurt when they push themselves running, not just you, a runner doesn’t feel alone. Admitting pain is present is not a weakness, admitting that these workouts are tough isn’t a weakness…it only becomes a weakness when you start to believe you can’t do the workouts.
* Assess: As you run assess the messages you’re being told and start to ‘sort’ them. Pain of a workout is present and it’s a different pain from that of an injury. Sort the ‘usual’ pain into the ‘ignore’ pile and be attuned to the ‘different’ pain.
* Reassess/Rework: Now that you have the ‘ignore’ pile it’s time to reassess those messages and rework them. We’ve acknowledged you can’t STOP them from coming in but you override them through a runner’s coping mechanisms.
1) Visualization- By practicing how you will be running beforehand you condition yourself to stay positive and controlled DURING your running, racing, and workouts.
2) Self-Talk- Mantra’s work well, flip the ‘I can’t keep this pace up’ into something productive like, ‘I am strong’ or ‘I will not let this break me.’
3) Focus on Controllables- When the pain of running becomes more intense hone in on the ‘controllables’ like stride, form, and breathing. Counting steps or breaths acts as a distraction.
4) Goals- Always set goals for your running workouts and races beforehand. Don’t ambiguously go in because without concrete numbers or goals it’s easier to let your brain talk you into just ‘settling’ and giving up when the pain starts.
5) Selective Denial- We come back to runners living in a kind of state of denial. The lies of, ‘I’m only running one more repeat/mile/5-minutes/step’ get us to the next point, where we then lie again.
A runner draws confidence from a lot of places: past workouts, a full season of training, race times, other runners they train with that have faster PR’s, etc. A large part of being mentally tough is being confident that you can WARP the messages coming into your brain and OVERRIDE them to push through the pain.
This confidence is built up the longer you run, the snowball effect. As with all other rules of running it hinges upon consistency, consistently proving you can push through the pain. There are margins for error and just like bad races there will be days where you don’t do a great of a job running and overriding the pain messages as you know you’re capable of.
You get through the bad days, learn where you went wrong, and then take those lessons into your next run.
Let your running be ruled by expertly brain warping that flood of sensory feedback from your body. Don’t let the messages steal your confidence because you CAN run and do a lot more than your body would like you to believe.
1) Anticipating the pain isn’t fearing it; fear takes hold of you and consumes your running confidence. What is a refute you use to keep this anticipation in check? (ie: remember times you’ve pushed through pain, mantra, pre-race hyping yourself up tactic, etc.)
2) Give an example of how you take assessing an incoming message you want to ignore and then reassess/rework it.
3) What are a few of the ways/places you draw confidence as a runner?
There is an art to simultaneously running and farting. To be properly mastered, it takes an expert combination of selective muscle control and timing with your stride.
That said, there are few things more gratifying than running and letting go of that abominable bubble of gas in your intestines. The joy of letting one rip is only exponentially rewarding when you’ve been carrying along a potential GI disaster for miles, painfully holding back, but then realize that rather than a number 2 on your hands, the mounting, monster pain-ball was only…GAS!! Pit stop averted.
Go along and keep perfecting your running farts, Runners. Though, what separates the Lukes from the Yodas among is are the ones who can relax/contract/time during races and hard workouts without losing so much of a millisecond off their pace.
GI issues for runners addressed HERE and HERE.
More Runner’s Strip and cartons HERE.
1) Worst GI nightmare run?
2) Name a time when you thought it was going to be a nightmare number 2 episode while running but then realized it was just a big ball of gas…you can’t tell me the amount of relief you feel is nearly euphoric.
3) Do you have any shame letting a painful gas ball go while running? Do you hold back during certain times or in certain company?
I’m a neurotic runner, my parents are also neurotic fitness folks, my sister is a kick@$$ cross-fitter, my littlest brother is headed to the rugby State Champs. No, I’m not trying to brag on my siblings here, (well, maybe a bit) but more make a point that I’m lucky in that my immediate family ‘gets it’ when it comes to making running and fitness a priority.
As in it’s awesome to be able to say without any guilt, “Sorry, can’t make it to such-and-such I’ve got to go run.” Point taken, understood.
Or how about when there’s rain pouring down, the wind is blowing like mad and you’re about to step out for your run…your mom is heading out with you. You both look at each other and laugh mid-run when the wind literally blew you into her. #builtintrainingpartner
I grew up where getting out and running, or sweating SOME HOW, everyday is a sort of given rather than a question. Now I also write and do art about running. Wow, I really have made myself well-rounded.
So today, I’m not going to lie I really just have to laugh sometimes at the contrast between my own viewpoint on running and fitness and that of some other people.
I read on Twitter some chick complaining that she couldn’t run because she forgot her ipod. Seriously? I’ve done miles on the treadmill staring at a wall. #boring #suckitup
It was pretty windy a few days back, I got home and a neighbor remarked, “You actually ran in that?” Ummm, sir, I’d run through the eye of a hurricane if it came between getting a run in or not.
Sorta rainy a few days back and I overheard a couple in line at the store saying, “Darn, the forecast is rainy again tomorrow…guess we can’t go on our bike ride.” Again, reference above.
Am I bit skewed? Maybe brainwashed by the miles?
Horror beyond horrors, and I may receive some hate on this for sounding like a fitness snob, are the people who are constantly getting surges of ‘motivation’. These surges occur not when they are in the middle of a run, while running repeats at the track, or even when they are wearing a pair of running shoes. These are the people who at 9pm are struck with the overwhelming desire to become a runner. To get fit.
“Okay, I’m doing it!” They ask for tons of tips, maybe even pay for weeks of workouts, trainers, diet books…whatever. Buuuuuut…come the next morning it’s a little windy. The day after that it’s raining. Maybe they forget their ipod the next day.
It’s alright, I acknowledge I’m probably a tad on the more obessive side with this whole running thing. Though at least I know I’m not alone. There are others out there smirking and balking at some of the excuses people have in blowing off a run.
I know I’m not the only runner out there who will arrange their day in accordance to their running or training. Hey, I got plenty of retweets and FB comments when I bagged on the girl who forgot her ipod.
If not in the ‘real world’ then darn-it at least I have a safe-haven for being a fitness snob within my immediate family…and I guess that’s all an obsessive, neurotic runner could ask for.
1) What’s one of the funnier things people have said to you obviously showing they just don’t ‘get it’ in terms of being consistent with running or working out?
2) Admittedly sometimes being neurotic can go too far, but it’s funny to laugh at ourselves. What’s an instance that you maybe are even just a bit embarrassed to say you did in order to get a run or workout in?
I’ll be brave. Sneaking out at 3am when I was supposed to be on a break and going for a short run may not have been my finest hour. There are worse, but I’m only so brave…lol.
3) Most boring, mind-numbing experience you’ve had on a stationary machine, but you did it without an ipod or TV?
Staring at a wall for 8 miles, or when I was doing a rowing machine in a garage with a nice view of the driveway.
Getting a runner to be faster is an interesting undertaking. It’s actually a concept that coaches and athletes have been trying to perfect for centuries. As science has improved, training has evolved, we’ve created training phases and workouts that push the runner and train their body.
Simplistically it’s easy to sum it up like this: if you want to run faster, run faster. This is true of course, doing speed work and improving your base speed, is going to enable a runner to run a faster pace as the distance gets longer. As in, if you improve your mile time you’ll be able to run a 5k and 10k faster. If you don’t do speed work you’ll never improve your speed.
Though as I said, that’s overly simplistic, and if a runner is truly wanting to see how fast they can be they need to open their eyes and expand their training logs to include ALL of the factors that make a runner faster. You see, the body is an interconnected machine, you can’t just concentrate on straight running workouts.
I’ve been working on a series for Competitor.com tied to speed work and the other techniques that enable a runner to, well, run faster. There are drills, strength work, and a neuromuscular component to getting faster.
Check out the series so far:
What Distance Runners Can Learn From Sprinters
The Neuromuscular Component to Speed Work
Distance Runners Staying SHARP During an Injury
In reading each of them you’ll see that the first step to getting faster is working on your shorter-repeat speed. You shouldn’t avoid those 200′s even if you’re a 10k and above runner. But that’s ONE step in the process.
After that you’ve got to build the synapses and teach the nerves to fire faster; your brain is ‘telling’ your legs and foot to move faster. But if you don’t build the connections the ‘message’ won’t be able to travel faster from brain to foot.
A runner’s form is also related, and the articles touch on that. Running faster takes POWER and EXPLOSIVE propulsion from your muscles. Your muscles also need to be ‘waken-up’ and eased into the movements of running. That’s why a proper warm-up is so important for your had workouts and races. There will be more on that specifically in upcoming articles.
So if you’d like to run faster, even if you’re a marathoner, it’s important to realize that it’s a multi-pronged approach. It will take time too, but consistency is the law of distance running and THAT is what will, in the end, take you to the next level.
Consistently incorporate speed work, speed-endurance, and endurance work into your training.
Consistently be working on your core and strength routines.
Consistency with foot-firing and ladder drills that play off of the short speed sessions.
Practice, improve, and then have a coach or be a student of the sport if you’re training yourself.
Without going on a long tangent, a big mistake many new runners are making is getting swept up in marathon and mileage mania. They just want to do more, more, more. That’s fine, but if you want to get faster you need to TRAIN to run faster. That’s where quality of miles becomes more important than just quantity.
I hope you enjoy the series so far and keep on the lookout for the next ones. Running is an action that can be broken down to be incredibly simplistic: left, right, left. Running faster can also be thought of in simple fashion: run faster. BUT it’s a lot more complicated, and to be honest insanely interesting, than just that.
To run faster you’ve got to be training your body to do so on multiple levels.
1) What’s a concept about speed work that you have learned from this series so far?
2) Have you done any work geared toward training your neuromuscular system to get you faster? Or is this a new idea to you?
3) If you’re training to get faster, what are some of your ‘staple’ speed sessions?
Please, Runners, if for no other reason than the sake of vanity do what you can to improve your form.
Joking aside, running with proper form will make you more efficient…running more efficient will make you faster. And hey, you won’t look like this poor sap running either…PERK!
Posts all about form and how to improve yours HERE, HERE, and HERE.
More running cartoons HERE!
1) What’s the craziest looking runner with poor form you’ve seen before? It’s okay if you were looking in the mirror.
2) How has your form improved? What form related work did you do or are you doing?
3) Finish this sentence: I may have poor form but at least I don’t look like…
4) Anyone racing this weekend?
Lately it feels like my brain is running way faster than my legs could ever keep pace. That’s a darn shame, because one would certainly opt for running a new PR rather than mentally shouting, “SHUT UP!” to your brain at 2am and imploring it to go to bed.
Speaking of PR’s, track racing season is getting to be in full swing. Some people have a bit of a phobia when it comes to the track, others find the monotony of double-digit laps, well, monotonous. The thing with track though, is it BLEEDS speed…as a runner, how can you not love that?
Each distance is unique, duh, the number of laps to the race you’ll be running presents its own challenges. The ratio of speed to endurance, the contrast between utter lactic ONSLAUGHT from the gun versus the more gradual building of the pain in the 10k. Both grueling, just in a different way.
Each race has a ‘volatile’ factor. This would be the crucial moments and laps that can make or break your race. The margins of time where if you’re not ON IT you may have very well lost the race even if you’re still got laps and laps to go.
There’s not just ONE moment in time of course, but for the sake of brevity let’s highlight a few of the volatile factors for the events:
* 1500/Mile: That dang third lap. Here is where the pain of the pace has already set in, the ‘taste’ of the finish isn’t quite close enough to kick in. Your mind starts to dauntingly anticipate that grueling last lap. COMBAT: Know that third lap is going to suck, know that it will make your race if you can pass the people letting their brain wander.
* 3200: Right around laps 4-6 it is easy to let your brain check-out. It’s prime time to make a move, surge and establish a gap on those who either went out too fast for that first mile or the poor souls who are just letting their mind wander. COMBAT: Go out on pace the first mile and throw down a move…remember the beauty of negative splits.
* 5k: It’s funny how running that first mile can feel so easy, a breeze, too easy. The middle mile is where you need to wrangle your brain and keep it FOCUSED. Much like the 3rd lap of the mile, the middle of your 5k can lapse into a fog if you’re not careful. COMBAT: Don’t let yourself get pulled out too fast the first mile, stay mentally engaged the middle mile, and anticipate the cold slap of pain somewhere after the second mile. It’s funny how it can suddenly sneak up on you, but be prepared for it and stay strong through to the finish.
Each race has its own set of ‘volatile’ factors…that’s what makes each and every track distance so fun. It’s a test, as is everything with running, testing mostly yourself. The competition is there as an opportunity to propel your performances forward…feed off of their presence.
Track is awesome, just don’t let the distance of the race pull a fast one on you. Be prepared and then enjoy the unique challenges of each event.
1) What is your favorite track distance to race?
2) Pick a distance I didn’t highlight and share one of their ‘volatile’ factors.
3) Share a ‘volatile’ factor that I didn’t address for one of the above races.
It’s ‘easy’ to run fast when everything is going right. Ideal conditions, you’re hitting perfect splits, the legs have POP. The thing is though, the real test of a runner and their mental toughness is how they respond to all the other days.
There will workouts in heat, wind, and rain. Runs where, for whatever reason your legs just don’t ‘show up’…they are flat. Other times you’ll be left gutting out a really tough workout but forced to run it solo. But you can’t take those things as EXCUSES. FACTORS, certainly, perhaps you’ll have to adjust the workout, but don’t start looking for a cop-out.
See, your mind is an expert manipulator. It’s already looking for ANY kind of excuse, viable reason to tell you to stop this silly running, ease up, slow down, cut yourself some slack. A runner’s constantly working against that sort of ingrained human trait, to push past the limits the mind is imposing on the body.
A runner must combat the voices of doubt and complaining already…think of it like a basal level of white noise in the background that you must ignore just to get out the door and running the first few steps. Hard workouts up the ante, taking that constant background chatter and giving it a megaphone; you’ve got to not only ignore it but COMBAT it by telling it to, “Shut the h*** up!” Gearing yourself up to run hard takes extra mental reserves, through the course of the workout the amount of positive self-talk escalates as you tire, as the pain REALLY sets in.
Running that hard workout when things are all falling into place, the momentum of hitting the splits and you’re clicking, is infinitely easier than when even ONE thing is off. (ex: it’s hot out) That single ‘off-factor’ and your mind JUMPS on the opportunity for a cop-out, “Just cut yourself some slack, I mean it’s hot out.”
Ease up and that quickly can morph into this the next hard workout: “Just cut yourself some slack, your legs just feel flat today. It’s not your fault…just ease up today and next time when your legs feel really good we’ll go hard…deal?”
See, that slippery, manipulative brain of yours works fast. You can’t wait for that ‘perfect’ day for a few reasons:
1) PERFECT: Those fan-freaking-tasting workouts are the anomaly, wait around for them and they darn well may never come.
2) VICIOUS CYCLE: Start giving in to that whining brain every time the pain sets in and things get tough and it’s the snowball effect. Soon you’ll be pulling out every time you have a hangnail on your pinkie toe.
Bad workouts and horrible races happen, they actually make you a TOUGHER runner because if you can mentally get through them, stay strong and still give it all you had for the day, you’ll prove something very important to yourself:
I can run when it sucks. I can run better when it doesn’t suck…but I CAN run when things are really sucky.
Those mental battles, where you win, build confidence. You need that. Conversely, take too many of those excuses to not still give it your all out there running and you get used to it. Getting used to that is like the kiss of death for a runner…it’s like a fatal virus. Because running hurts, despite how much we must deny it to ourselves for the sake of actually doing it.
You have to be tough to be a runner. The TOUGH runners are the ones who battle through even when the splits are off, they get stuck in no-man’s land during a race, and they’re doing a hard workout by themselves.
Some of the workouts you should be most proud of may have been where you were running horribly off pace, but you got through it. You were TOUGH. Next time, when the legs do show up, the times will come but you’ll have the extra confidence of knowing you can run hard when things suck.
1) Weather is certainly something to FACTOR into your workouts of course and adjust the times. How do you plan to adjust due to the elements and conditions outside of your control?
2) How do you handle the workouts where your legs just don’t show up for the day? What kind of positive self-talk do you turn to?
3) Share a workout or race that you are proud of for your mental toughness, maybe a part of the story the actual numbers can’t fully recount.
You know the kind of feeling where your running shoes are staring up at you, two gaping black holes where your feet SHOULD be.
In case you ever need that extra shove out the door I introduce to you the latest line in running shoes. Other quotes include:
* Love me.
* Erase me.
* I see you.
* That pint will taste better earned.
* You can’t see any writing on a winner’s shoes.
Whatever your shoes are saying to you, don’t let them mock you. Shut them up. Put your feet in them and get running.
1) What should be another quote/quip to add to our line or running shoes with sass?
2) What’s something you tell yourself if you’re lacking in the motivation department?
Remind myself that my own running guilt is NOT worth putting up with if I weenie out.
3) If we were to offer a line of spikes with writing on the soles, what should they read?
I think if we were to let people sharpie in some PR goals…just be ready to scratch out and re-sharpie.
I’m a runner, but to pay the bills I’m a writer. In doing some reading for work I came across an article highlighting a few of the traits that the author felt made Steve Jobs the incredible innovator that he was.
The thing is, be it a creative dreamer in the business world or a motivated runner with aspirations, many of the traits that will get you to the top in one apply to the other. A goal is a goal after all, being goal-driven and having the ability to persevere comes down to pretty much the same things.
The Entrepreneur article was a good read, but I found myself hearing echos of themes I’ve written about right here.
PASSION. Do what you love and regardless of outcome never forget that you love it. Running is wrought with highs and lows, to get through the tough times you need to remember that underneath it all, you really do have a genuine love for running in the purest form. Running fast is awesome, but running as a stand-alone needs to be your passion.
CURIOSITY. I’ll stretch this to mean more having the ability to wonder, “What can I do?” Run curious. Run for the journey of finding your best. Dream epic goals and go for them. Even if you fail you’re still better off than being moved to shoot for it.
NO FEAR. They say Jobs wasn’t afraid of failing, good. Because you shouldn’t be afraid, failures happen. They are unavoidable, you learn from failures and the epic fails of races and workouts make you BETTER. Or rather, they’ll make you better if you’re able to learn from them and apply those lessons going forward.
Running may be
better different than business in a number of ways, but getting to the top of something takes the same qualities regardless. This works even if the ‘top’ is your personal best. That’s the remarkable thing about running, even if you’re never going to realistically set a World Record or win an Olympic Medal you can still take the journey. Have the courage, tenacity, and CURIOSITY to take the trek to find your best.
Run curious, my friends. Run without fear. Run with PASSION.
1) What is a trait that you had before you were a runner that has helped your running?
2) What is a trait that running has actually helped you acquire and hone?
3) How do you try to run without fear?
Oh what a difference running crazy amounts of miles in training makes. Come time for that post-race break those racing shorts…errrr, ‘shoes’ may be fitting a little differently!
Sunday morning deserves some running cartoonage! That being said, we can poke fun but one needn’t get TOO would up over some post-race ‘love’ weight, giving the body a chance to recover is incredibly important and your racing will be much better off in the long-term.
On the flip side there is a difference between recovery and gluttony…haha. As with most all things in running and in life, it’s all about balance. Now, pass this runner the Pop-Tarts!
POST on fueling for races.
POST with tips on runners eating out.
POST on the importance of the 30-minute refuel window.
POST on timing your fuel to best support your running performance.
Get more Running Cartoons HERE!
1) When it comes time to break after a race or season, do you eat differently?
2) What are some of the things you do to give your body some TLC to recover after hard races or between seasons?
3) Favorite thing you treat yourself to after a great race?
The runner’s warm-up is a unique time. Before a hard workout, and even more-so for a race, there’s a lot that needs to happen both physically AND mentally.
A warm-up tells your legs to ‘wake up’ because they’re about to start running fast. Gradually notching down the pace, starting with the relaxed running, prepares the legs, rather than a complete SLAP in the face…the shock of a hard 400 off the bat. Got a bit of the lazy bug or backwards thinking towards the warm-up? (ie: Thinking that you’re ‘saving energy’ for the workout/race is backwards logic…hehe)
* Physiologically: Those super expensive cars can brag about going 0-60 in seconds, but your body doesn’t work that way. Sort of like you wouldn’t want to get ripped out of bed and chucked into the middle of a tempo run, your legs need time to adjust to, “Okay, time to run,” then “Okay, time to run FAST!” The science behind it can get wordy, but basically muscle function and glycogen burning (sourcing energy) works most efficiently when done through negative splits. Start slow (ie: running a warm-up) and work into those faster paces.
* Feels ‘easier’: Thanks to that science, your muscles, once introduced/eased into that pace, will make the same times feel relatively easier. You will be able to then run faster off of a proper warm-up. I think all runners are down for that.
* Mentally prepare: The warm-up is also a time for runners to get their heads on straight. Visualize what you want to accomplish during the workout, quell those nerves and keep them in check. Remember that you will stay relaxed and controlled when the pain is setting in.
What is a ‘real’ warm-up?
Studies are proving there should be more elements to your warm-up routine than just some easy running. Runners want all of those muscles alert and engaged before the hard running starts.
* Easy running: Aim for at least 15 minutes, I like at least 2 miles under my legs.
* Dynamic stretching: Do some good stretching, here is where the more dynamic ones like leg swings are perfect.
* Drills: Skips, fast feet, etc. A series of drills will wake up the nervous system and get your legs firing faster. [I did an article on that HERE]
* Strides: Here is where you start to bring the pace down with a series of strides. Stay controlled and make each one progressively faster.
By the time you hit the line for that first interval or race you want to feel loose and ready to go. You don’t want to ‘waste’ the first interval, or mile of your race, because you’re still warming-up.
A bit more on the mental piece of a warm-up.
Get your head on right.
A runner’s warm-up is a process; over time you want to have the series of elements (stretches/drills/etc.) down so well you could do it on auto-pilot. This routine establishes continuity for your muscles but it also gives your MIND something concrete to focus on.
Focusing on the routine of your warm-up is an effective way to stay calm beforehand, rather than get overly worked-up with nerves. Especially on race day, by the time you start your warm-up you should feel ‘safety’ with it…it’s something that is the SAME, that you’ve done over and over again. Proof that you’ve made it through plenty of hard workouts, managed to fight through the pain, and you’re capable of doing that again.
A runner’s warm-up is the little cup ‘o joe the body needs to perk the heck up and get ready to run fast…it’s also a time to get your head on right and ready to tackle that workout or race!
The Boston Marathon tragedy is still haunting our thoughts and flooding runners with emotions. I am continually reminded of the good in humanity, in stark contrast to the horrifically dark side. While we will never be able to understand why or how a person or persons may be driven to lash out in this manner, hold tight to the reality that for every ‘bad seed’ there are many more with good intentions and of a benevolent manner.
Keep running united, keep running for Boston, and keep supporting all effected as best you can!
1) What’s your warm-up routine look like?
2) How do you use your warm-up to get your head screwed on right and ready to roll that workout/race?
3) How has your warm-up evolved over the years?
For most it’s gotten longer…haha.
4) What is something you’ve seen/heard/read that help shed some light over this recent tragedy…or given you some hope for humanity?
The immediate coming together of runners all over, and not just runners either.
It’s been over 24 hours since yesterday’s horrific incident clouding the Boston Marathon, yet I’m still unable to put the right words down. I was not there, so anything I can add is merely an abstract opinion; though I do believe everyone is entitled to their own thoughts and feelings.
In the build-up to Boston, just like all other running fans I was excited. The Boston Marathon is one of the biggest, in name, numbers, and history. I wrote about it, shared one of it’s most legendary runners’ perspectives on it, and held hope that an American Woman would finally bring a win back to the States.
I was charged with anticipation; that’s one of the great things about the running community, I, thousands of miles away from the starting line, was able to ‘taste’ just a smidgen of the electric energy swirling around Boston.
While an American Woman didn’t bring home a win, in the first wave of finishers the closeness of the running community and shared kinship, especially between training partners, was displayed poignantly by Kara Goucher’s and Shalane Flanagan’s finishes. They wanted to know how the other did.
Runners are able to understand each other in a unique way. Even if they are strangers, even competitors on the same course, they are able to sense things about the other…words unsaid, with a glance. There is something to be said for shared agony, suffering, whatever in the heck you want to call the ‘pain’ of racing.
And then it happened. I am thankful that no one that I immediately ‘know’ was harmed. But I feel that as a part of the running community, that isn’t quite correct. A runner knows a runner.
A runner also knows just how crucial a support network is. So a runner knows the supporters, spectators, cheerers, and any spirit moved to absorb the electric atmosphere of the Boston Marathon.
I was not there. I can’t even begin to understand the ‘whys’ behind this and I can only imagine what it was like to be there.
Though, I try my best to find what positives there can ever be. There isn’t a positive in this case, but rather just a glimmer of something redeeming. I will say this, here is this legendary event holding wonder and lore and now it is stained with this awful cloud.
Rather than let the smoke and ashes suffocate the event and the running spirit, we are able to come together, mourn the tragedy but not let it erode our kinship and sense of community. The 2013 Boston Marathon will no doubt be one of those things forever tinged with loss, sadness, and no doubt anger.
Though it will not stop us from running. It will not revoke the meaning behind the marathon. Don’t let the anger swallow you, don’t entirely lose hope for humanity yet, be thankful for what you have, those precious moments of life and the ability to run for another day. Not that running is the end-all by any means…it wasn’t running that was the target, but I’ve always found running a loyal companion to take me through life’s hardships.
Hold your loved ones dearly, let them know. Hold you ability to use your able body quite dearly too. Runners are instilled with an indomitable spirit, a fortitude like none other, but a closeness to each other quite unique.
Runners will do what runners do…run through the hardships to get to brighter times.
Runners have a love affair with the Boston Marathon. Rightfully so, even if you’re not a marathoner, heck, even if you’re not a runner you’ve heard of the famed race. The hills have names, the stories of races past are epic.
I recently wrote a piece for Competitor.com: Four Boston Marathon Tips From Dick Beardsley. I thoroughly enjoyed doing this one for a few reasons, 1) the 1982 Boston Marathon, coined the Duel in the Sun, between Alberto Salazar and Dick Beardsley defines mental toughness 2) Dick Beardsley was one of the most supportive and inspiring people to me after my car accident. He had multiple accidents that left his legs mangled, yet he is a runner today. He’s one of the sweetest, most positive people and his encouragement through my recovery meant the world to me.
In the article Beardsley noted how his parents, both non-runners, had gifted him with ‘to Boston Marathon’ funds upon his graduation from high school. When he finally did get to the starting line he recounts, “I’ve never been to a race where when you step off the plane you can feel the excitement in the air! I’ve spoke with Olympians that have told me they would rather win Boston then a Olympic medal!”
Racing brings out that electricity, the nervous excitement of hopes, aspirations, goals every runner has. The goals they’ve staked so much of themselves in, sweat out the miles, the grueling hard workouts, this brings anticipation. The anticipation is mixed with a bit of pressure (you need a little self-inflicted pressure, just enough, not too much though) because the day is finally here. Be it Boston or any race, a runner needs thrives off of that energy, the nerves, it ups the ante, and can fuel your performance.
The Boston Marathon has its hills named, but what aren’t named are the downhills. Ahhh, those tricky descents are deceptive because one would ‘think’ rolling downhill, letting gravity do a bit of work is ‘easier’. But as Beardsley stressed when asked of a crucial training tip for runners aiming for Boston, “TRAIN YOUR BODY ON THE DOWNHILLS AS MUCH AS YOU CAN!” Hill climbs work the quads but so do downhills; ironically the pounding force of the downhill can beat you up just as much, maybe more.
It’s also easy to carried away and blitz out too fast with those steep downgrades. In the article Beardsley cautioned runners how NOT going out too fast is infinitely more important on the Boston course.
Runners should train for their race course. I wrote all about that in THIS post, because there aren’t races on a treadmill, you want to be prepared for the conditions you’ll be racing your competitors on.
This year’s Boston Marathon, I won’t be shy, I’m not going to even try to hide the fact that I’m rooting for Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan. Hopefully this year one of these amazing women will bring Boston back ‘home’ in that an American will take the title.
For all those racing, be it the Boston Marathon or otherwise, have confidence. You’ve done all the work you can do by the point you reach the days and moments before hitting the starting line. Rather than look back with any doubts or ‘I should have dones’, push that from your mind. You can’t change the past. Only look forward, recount the tenacity for which you DID do the work, be realistic with your goals for the race, but don’t be afraid to reach high enough to make yourself feel a little uncomfortable…nervous maybe.
When the gun goes off, feed off of the energy around you, thrive off of your competition, let them pull you along, and RACE!
1) Have you run the Boston Marathon? Are you running this year?
2) How do you use the atmosphere of race day to fuel your performance?
3) Share a mental affirmation, or something you tell yourself, to make you feel confident when you hit the starting line.
Running can be emotional. Ask the injured runner how it feels to be on the elliptical stationed behind the row of treadmills and you’re putting yourself at risk for a major @$$ whooping.
On the contrast, approach the runner who, physically spent after crossing the line after a new PR is miraculously able to overcome full lactic acid overload and jump around like a giddy school girl.
Something about all those endorphins coursing through a runner’s veins can sure bring out the emotions. Running just makes everything else feel more ‘real’.
‘Normal people’ can’t quite understand the unique ecstasy experienced after a run that was just ‘on.’ Conversely, ‘normals’ can’t wrap their heads around why a bad run can put you in such a crappy mood. “It’s just a run, right?” they ask scratching their heads. But it’s not…it’s more.
At least it FEELS like more. Running isn’t most of our jobs, it doesn’t make us billionaires, it won’t snuggle us late at night (but we can spoon with our Nike running shoes), but dang-it it sure brings a nice sense of purpose to things.
Running is black and white. It’s a constant when all other things may feel totally off the wall chaotic. It’s about working towards something, watching progress, seeing hard work PAY OFF. Not in the monetary sense, the worth of miles is, as MasterCard can tell us, ‘Priceless.’
I often say running keeps me sane. It’s reliable. You can always count on the run being there, it’s YOU that has to show up.
Injuries are unavoidable, as are set-backs, but eventually the run will be there for you. It’s like the welcome mat that never gets tossed out.
Dealing with the emotional side of running is what tests the HUMAN in us. Struggling with an injury is the greatest test of a runner’s will. But you CAN get thorough it. Just as you CAN persevere through the ‘low’ points in your running career. The sh*tty workouts and despicable races. They have their place…they teach us lessons.
Savor the euphoric moments running will grant you, they are free of charge (well, unless you count the INSANE amount races seem to cost these days!) but more rewarding than anything those green presidents can buy you.
Remember those moments to get you through the brutal stretches of injury rehabbing. With everything, keep your perspective.
Running can sure bring out some strong emotions, like the pregnant women who instantly tear up at a sappy commercial…a runner can’t help but feel moved to cheer like mad, be pumped up on adrenaline, riding the high of motivation upon watching an inspirational feat of a fellow runner. [Heck, it's even okay for you boys to admit that's not just your allergies. ]
Post on the MENTAL survival through an injury.
Post on how being PATIENT with your running wins out.
Post on the highs and lows of running and keeping things in check.
1) Share one of the happiest moments running has brought you.
2) Share one of the lower moments, how did you stay proactive and positive that you WOULD be running again.
3) What’s one of the most inspiring things you’ve seen or heard another runner do that helped motivate you?
Runners may have an odd way of expressing their affection for each other. But hey, if you’ve met your perfect match then they should totally get that being the ‘fart’ in this instance is a total compliment!
Shall we say that the two perfectly match strides?
Maybe true love always turns left together?
Perhaps even it’s not so much that I totally adore you’re company, as much that you push my @$$ to a new PR?
Bottom line: you know it’s a real match when you’re both out on a training run, one winds up injured or hurt, but their immediate response is, “Don’t stop the watch! Keep going, I’ll see you when you’re done!” #dontsacrificetherun
1) What are your favorite kinds of fartleks?
Maybe 3 minutes on two minutes off? Pyramid fartleks can be fun too.
2) Do you have a corny runner line like the one above?
3) If you’re on a run with other people and one is unable to keep going for whatever reason, what is your reaction?
When minimalist running turned from a concept into some kind of near-cult ideology, I’ll admit to shaking my head. More correctly I was soured that with the launch of the Vibrams and ‘Born to Run’ book release the masses became obsessed with immediately running barefoot. Everyone wanted to jump headlong into this running trend with no other reason than they thought it was the cool thing to do. I mean “Waaaaaaz up” was the coolest thing to do for a time too, no?
Misinformed runners were getting hurt, and THAT was really what I was stuck on or against. Well, and in all honesty I think the Vibram toe-thing is silly. I’m not anti-minimalist, in fact I began implementing Nike Free running in 2004 in order to increase foot strength and mobility. The key word there is IMPLEMENTING.
Scott Douglas, multi-running book author and editor for Runner’s World, just released “The Runner’s World Complete Guide to Minimalism and Barefoot Running” for which I was given a copy to read and review. I was nervous at first only because of that buzz word minimalism but I also have read enough from Douglas to have faith that rather than just glorify barefoot running the book would be true to name and act as a manual. There IS sound reasoning and logic behind minimalist running, it then becomes a matter of ensuring enough runners learn and understand just HOW to go about running in ‘less’ without just getting themselves hurt.
I was relieved because right off the bat because Douglas tackles the logistics and starts not at the aspect most minimalists and runners begin, the foot, but instead explains that the running body is a package. A runner’s body is an interconnected machine, you can’t take a single injury or problem at face value, but rather trace it back to the underlying cause of it. A problem with your foot can be stemming from your hips, you have to fix the underlying cause before the foot gets any better.
Source: Roadale, Inc.
starts by taking running and your BODY as a whole, explaining the interconnectedness of it all and then delves into minimalist theory. I believe with most things it’s a matter of understanding the ‘whys’ before you can get to the ‘hows’.
It’s also refreshing that, while the author states from the beginning he’s always loved running in less shoe, he shares both sides of the story, and in quite an engaging tone. The book’s informative, but it’s not a text-book read.
Some of the actual running shoe stats and numbers may not have been absorbed as fully by me as others, as I’m not a total running shoe ‘addict/geek’, but I still got the gist. What I was more interested in was that the book tackles more than shoes and feet: the importance of running form, the importance of GRADUALLY transitioning and that injuries aren’t caused or cured merely by a shoe-swap and there is still the need for strengthening and mobility work (the book includes exercises). These are all, in fact, fundamentals of running people should read outside of shoes and minimalism.
The book was written with the input and thoughts from an array of different running coaches, shoe experts, and exercise physiologists. Among them, and someone I’ve often sought keen insights from for my own articles, was Steve Magness. I appreciated his parts not just because of the knowledge and science there, but explaining why elite distance runners aren’t all striving to run barefoot all the time, but that they still get minimalist style miles in the form of racing flats and spikes. Finally, the drills are things all runners should do and the suggestions for cooling-down or doing striders barefoot get back to that gradual implementation.
Bottom line, both from the book and in line with my own reasoning: Shoes and whatever people end up running in shouldn’t be dictated by a running trend or fad, but rather what keeps them running healthfully and ideally as fast as possible. Everyone wants to be faster, right?
Scott Douglas’ “The Runner’s World Complete Guide to Minimalism and Barefoot Running”
can be purchased in stores or online
1) What are your thoughts on minimalism and/or barefoot running? What kind of shoes do you prefer to run in?
2) Have you wound up with an injury tied to making the jump to minimalism too quickly? If so, have you learned and then gone forward with a way to include minimalist style running without an injury?
3) Douglas also asks a very poignant questions in his book along the lines of: If you are a minimalist, where does your journey to ‘less shoes’ end? It doesn’t necessarily become when you’re running barefoot all the time.
Let’s be honest, shouldn’t runners ALWAYS have the right of way?
**I’ll put my disclaimer here at the onset so as to avoid any emails or comments reminding me about how important runner road safety is: ALL RUNNERS on the road need to be incredibly safe and conscientious of their surroundings. Awareness is imperative because
most drivers not all drivers pay attention. I got hit by a car, it wasn’t fun, but I also know I wound up lucky because these accidents are far too common.
That said, I’ve professed my love of sarcasm and snarkidtude.
There should be a special kind of light that senses oncoming runners and automatically configures the stop lights accordingly. I mean they do it for fire trucks and ambulances, right?
That goes exponentially when it comes to actual hard workouts and tempo runs if you’re not blessed with a bike trail or a track to run them on. “I’m sorry, YOU are going to have to just honk away because if I stop now my heart rate will dip, thus negating the point of this tempo run.”
If I started just putting this random sign up do you think people would mind? It’s not tagging, and I mean runners would sort of be a ‘friendly gang’ if it were considered as such anyways.
Alas, alas, where’s the respect? Apparently getting to their jobs, making it to Starbucks for their fix, and Driving Miss Daisy has got people too impatient to give every runner, every time, everywhere the right of way.
Revisit my post on Road Running Safety.
1) Ever had a driver actually stop to let you pass when the didn’t have to.
Actually the STRANGEST thing happened to me once running in Seattle. There was no enforced traffic signs on a road, I saw a bus coming so started to stop to let it pass by, but the driver caught my eye, put on the breaks, STOPPED, and waved me forward. It was surreal, I’m sure I could almost hear the passengers complain, but I waved a big thanks! Haha.
2) Do you do much of your running on the road and around traffic? How do you stay aware and safe?
3) Do you run with an iPod or music when you’re on the road?
No, but I never run with music
4) If I put up this sign how fast do you think other people would take it down?
Running is tough. Racing is tougher…downright painful. The brain has a funny little way of dealing with that pain, it gets sneaky and tries to coax us into slowing down.
Runner Brain: “I want to run a PR, dang this hurts, but I’m going to put the work in and stick this out.”
Annoying Tired Brain: “Well, fine, if you’re not going to listen to my complaints and willingly slow down I’ll just find other ways to trick you into it!”
Oh the brain, you slippery little eel, you.
* Self-Defeatist Thoughts: This would be when you’re running and your mind starts screaming in your ear, “You seriously can’t keep this pace up for any longer.”
* Dwelling on the Future: This is when your mind has on repeat, “Umm, and HOW much further do you think you’re going to be forcing me to do this? Think again buster, you CAN’T last that many miles more!”
* Bargaining: When your runner brain and your
sane tired brain get into a war, your lame-o brain argues, “C’mon, just ease up a little, trust me you’re not going to feel guilty or regretful about it, just ease up.” This is also known as a lie, because your runner brain knows you’ll feel regretful.
* Wandering: This is when your brain full-on goes on vacation, if you catch yourself mid-race thinking, “Wow, I really like the zebra print on that lady’s shirt, you see her, the one sitting on the 20th row of in the stands.”
A Wandering Mind = A Slowing Body
See, when the mind decides to check-out and wander like that what inevitably ends up happening is the pace starts to lag. Running through pain takes a special kind of focus, focus on forcing yourself to relax, to keep pushing, to stay ENGAGED in the race.
When your mind wanders it is sneakily distracting you from the
battle race at hand. My latest article at Competitor.com is all about staying focused during a race so you then, race your best: “Got a Wandering Mind? Here’s How to Stop It”
Read the article, but I’d like to add that a wandering mind is much different from zoning out during a race.
Aww, c’mon, I’m only joking…kinda.
I’ve talked about how zoning out is a mental trick to pushing through the pain. Zoning out:
* Locked Eyes Ahead:
Find a runner ahead of you, stare at a single spot on their back and refuse to let any distance open up between you and the spot.
* Breathing and Form:
When you zone out you think only of the tangibles you can control and NOT the pain from lactic acid. Thinking about standing tall, keeping your form in check,
and breathing controlled are all tangibles to think of.
* Think Relaxed:
When you zone out you want to let go of any tension;
don’t have your fists and jaw clenched, don’t have your shoulders in your ears.
Finally, zoning out is the epitome of being ENGAGED in the race, you’re single-mindedly in it.
A wandering mind is where you’re brain is anywhere but in the race. It is, in reality, just a backwards trick that your tiring brain is using to get you to slow down.
Don’t fall for it. Running often comes down to mentally ‘beating’ your own brain. Push past the pain, get through those intervals, drive for the finish line, and stay present in your race…because THAT is how you improve as a runner. THAT is how you set those wonderful PR’s.
1) What is an example of a trick your brain has tried on you to get you to slow down?
2) How do you one-up that slippery little eel of a complaining tired brain?
3) What is an aspect of zoning out? How do you stay zoned during a race and stay ENGAGED throughout?
Because holidays are just better the runner way.
Happy Running Easter…may you make it through the intervals before you barf and may you eat your weight in chocolate eggs and avoid a refund.
More awesome cartoonage HERE!
1) Do you tend to throw up after hard workouts or races?
2) Favorite kind of candy or chocolate goodie?
Cadbury does indeed rock, but Junior Mints are quite nice. But nothing beats Pop-Tarts.
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Running is wrought with the ‘two steps forward, one step backward’ tests and trials. I’d call it logic, but let’s be honest, most runners lost all logic about 5,000 miles ago.
Progress forward is HARD fought, once you’ve been running for awhile it then come in seconds and tenths rather than minutes. Each new PR ushers you into another realm, and in order to break through and run through to that next level it takes more work than before, and the cycle continues.
Eventually you’re working to improve by 1 or 2%, and by that time it takes more than just running harder and running faster. One must run harder and faster of course, but also SMARTER, be more ATTUNED, and then PATIENT.
All that patience sure does wear on a runner’s mindset. Typically we want those rewards, those PR’s NOW…but failing to be patient and look long term usually winds you up either 1) hurt or 2) limited.
* Hurt: By running harder and faster smartly that means allowing the body to recover between those hard and fast workouts. If you don’t recover on your easy days then you start greying the line between HARD and EASY. You might think that going harder more often will help, but in fact you wind up being too tired to really NAIL those hard workouts. A bunch of grey running just leads to a bunch of grey racing, not sharp, quality races and workouts. Well, that is if you don’t wind up injured first. I’ll include overtrained under the hurt category, because watching your times slip really does hurt too.
* Limited: By limited I mean you’re not looking at the BIG picture. To gain those ‘little’ percentages forward means you need to widen your scope beyond just running miles. It means having an actual PLAN, including core work, drills, strength work, stretching, injury prevention techniques, eating better...all those ‘extras’. Running SMARTER means being curious, and learning about all the other ways you can improve in addition to running harder and faster.
The other thing about training is there needs to be a balance between just running MORE and running FASTER. Volume and consistency is important of course, but so is being able to get QUALITY out of those miles.
If you DO care about getting more PR’s (someone asked me, so I’ll explain that as Personal Record) then you need to have a speed component in all that running. Some runners fail to think about running more quality, and get lost in the competition to just run MORE. That’s okay, but if you want to run faster you’ve got to get used to running faster, make sense?
Looking long term and being PATIENT means you can’t have it all, all the time. Get your mileage up to a decent level, but from there focus on getting more QUALITY out of those miles. Speed workouts will hurt, duh, but it’s the kind of thing that us runners are a little crazy about and sickly enjoy. Well, enjoy after they are done.
Stepping forward and back, parallels the HARD and EASY days…let the paces step back so you can recover and then jump forward again.
Stepping forward and back also parallels this disgusting thing called an injury; they are unavoidable to even the most patient runner. Take them in stride, get through them and be prepared to step forward again.
Running steps forward every time you get a new PR or hit better times in your workouts; on the heels will be the times when you take steps back with bad races, off days, and horrendous blow-ups of workouts. They happen…don’t let them derail you…because if you are running SMARTLY you can’t ‘lose’ your fitness after just a bad race, dispute that mental thought, it’s a lie.
Runners often want those gains NOW. But sadly, those gains have to be earned…earned with hard freaking work and loads of patience.
1) Fill in the blanks: I recently took a step forward _________________ and was prepared to take a step backwards __________________________.
2) Fill in the blank: I really want to run faster NOW, but looking long term I recently incorporated __________________ to get faster, the payoffs may take a little time.
3) When an injury DOES crop up it tests my patience but I get through it and grow as a runner by ___________________________.
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If I’m on an easy run I usually get something random stuck in my head. A phrase, a word, the same song lyric running a loop over and over until the run is over. It can sure drive a person mad when it’s of course a song you hate.
Be it as it may, I usually can’t get the lyrics to most songs right anyways, so why not make them up? It all plays in time to the music, I mean that’s all we really care about, right?
“(S)he’s going the distance…(S)he’s going for speeeeed!” Won’t lie, Cake you have my heart and I don’t care what music comes out until the day I die this will forever by my favorite song. It’s not about racecar driving either.
“Don’t you worry, don’t you worry, Child…the track has got a plan for you.” This is a newer one and it comes on the heels of two thoughts: 1) I need to get something other than radio in my car and 2) overplaying a song leads to psychosis. True fact.
Whatever it is looping through your brain to get you through those miles is just fine and dandy. Running couldn’t get any more repetitive…haha…but that’s got to be a part of the reason we love it! Some not so hot things that come with a repetitive motion:
1) Body Adaptation:
The body is sneaky and starts to adapt, meaning if you’re running wonky, with bad form
that just get ingrained in the body’s ‘muscle memory’. Keep practicing a bad habit and over time it will bite you in the bum. Probably literally.
2) Wandering Mind: Having random thoughts through easy runs is totally fine, a nice distraction. But you don’t want to be counting blades of grass during hard repeats at the track.
How do we, as runners, combat these?
1) Muscle Memory Toolbox:
* Check your form, them start improving it. Post with a lot of info HERE
* Find your muscle imbalances and work on improving them. Posts HERE
* Body rehab in the way of stretching and massage. Posts HERE
* Drills and strength work come hand in hand with form work. Check that out HERE.
2) Focused Mind Toolbox:
* When the pain sets in try and zone the heck out. Different from wandering mind and that’s explained HERE.
* Count your stride, breathing, and do a form-check as a means of distracting from the pain AND keeping your mind working WITH your body to get through those intervals.
* Mantras…here is where a short song lyric can help. ‘She’s going for speed’ or make-up your own positive affirmation like, ‘Smooth, strong, powerful’.
* Stay relaxed and don’t try too freaking hard. Crazy, but you can slow yourself down by just trying to force it. So stay relaxed as explained HERE.
Practicing both sets of tools during easy runs is productive, so try and cut that in between making up better lyrics to overly-played songs. Avoid psychosis…plus, don’t all runners just want to be better at, well, running?
1) Name a tool that should be included in the muscle memory toolbox I didn’t include.
2) Name a tool that should be included in the focused mind toolbox I didn’t already name.
3) Favorite pump-up song? Or would you like to re-write some lyrics?