Run more, run slower, run farther, run faster, don’t run on a treadmill, so much advice, and all of it good, but for someone like me who likes to follow rules, and follow a plan to a T, the best advice and plan in the world is not enough to nudge the needle.
I started running 3 years ago. And in the beginning, the goal was to just run-no worries about footwear, or stride, or pace, or distance, just run and walk when you need to take a break. Once I realized I did not need to run and cover a prescribed distance in a certain amount of time, over time, my body adapted to running longer distances and for a longer duration. The first 5K road race I ran my pace was 11:30. I was pretty impressed with myself. As I began to learn more about running and training, I decided to try a 10k and then less than a year after my first race-a half marathon.
Since that first race a little less than 3 years ago I have run about 2500 miles, have competed in 60 races, 7 of which are half marathons. In May I achieved a half marathon PR; in July I achieved a 4 mile PR, and in August I achieved a 10K PR; in September a 5 mile PR. BUT I have only been running for a relatively short time, with very few races run at those distances. I could continue to run without trying to get faster and be okay with it, but the fun is in the trying to accomplish something new.
And in order to get faster, the body needs to adapt to running faster.
Five weeks into a new running plan designed to help my body adapt to running faster I am also working on my form to run more efficiently. I am learning patience, and I am learning what Steve Magness and Jonathon Marcus (The Science of Running) are talking about when they say:
…What we’re ultimately trying to do is ingrain your reaction to uncomfortableness. Where you go in your head in training is where you will go when times get tough in racing.
What I have learned so far:
I am getting faster, not blazing speeds, but faster
I am still going to that place in my head that tells me it is okay to take a walking break when things get tough-this may be the last holdout from my earliest running days
I need to conquer hills in my head first, and the way I do that is by running hills.
I will not stop trying because the fun is in the trying.