Tuesday, June 14, 2011

"Hate" is such a Strong Word

I often ask myself, “How did you get yourself into this?”

I’m talking about running. I’ve never really been the athletic or outdoorsy type so why am I outside at 6:00 am running?

It started the day that I forgot to add an incline to my treadmill workout and discovered that I could run for longer than 5 minutes. I continued to push myself until I was running three miles. I was so proud of myself. Bragging and whatnot.

Then someone had the bright idea that I could run a 5k. I believed that someone and here we are.

Last night while talking to my best friend, a marathon runner, he mentioned that he loves running. I told him that I did not love it, in fact, I hate it. I want to get to the point where I love it. But right now, I hate it. It’s beating me and that’s why I hate it.

Why do I do it? Well, that’s easy … I set a goal for myself and I cannot quit until I reach that goal. I will not let the numbers on a clock defeat me. It’s like the number “35” is mocking me and I won’t let it win.

I’m sure I sound like a nut.

I’m spending hours searching the internet for tips and techniques to increase my speed. Bottom line: I need to run faster. There are no shortcuts (LeBron). I have to do the work, put in the time, suffer through the sweat and soreness and do the damn thing. I’m reading all these blogs written by these totally awesome women who LOVE running and are accomplishing great things. They inspire me so much. I want to be part of that group. All these chicks are several years younger than me, but so what? I may be a late starter but for me, it’s not about how you start it’s about how you finish and I plan to finish strong.


TJ said...

I've heard of and met people who love running. I am not one of them. Maybe someday. Not today :)

Single Ma said...

This is going to sound so dumb, but honest to goodness, the key to running faster is to...wait for it...run faster.

I am not kidding you. Your body is comfortable at the pace you run now, so you will need to push the limits. Now that you've moved from the treadmill, it's time to get off the track. Unless you're doing timed intervals, you need scenery to keep things fresh/interesting. I'd suggest you find a route in your neighborhood that's pedestrian/runner friendly. If not, find a nearby running/bike trail.

While you're running on the new path, eyeball a landmark (e.g. tree, bush, car, building, etc.) that's not too far way, say to yourself "I'm going to run to that xx as fast as I can," then gun it. Believe you can do it and GO HARD!! When you get there, slow down to a jog or walk to catch your breath. Wait a few minutes, then try it again. Continue doing it until the 30-40 minutes of your workout is complete. Over time, your body will adapt to the stress and you'll find that you can run faster for longer. Then you'll stay stuck at THAT pace until you push your limits again. This kind of speed workout is called a fartlek, similar to intervals but less structured.

Another trick to running faster is running at a comfortable pace for a longer distance - i.e. long runs. Let's say you're running an 11 min/mi for 3 miles. If you train your body to run an 11 min/mil for 5 miles, 3 miles will feel easier and you'll naturally want to run it faster. It's the same concept as above. You are introducing new stress to your muscles and they adapt.

Speed work is stressful on the body, so it isn't recommended more than 1-2x/week.

And yes, I am one of those who LOVE running. It's because you never have time to get bored or become complacent. The body is an amazing machine, it adapts, and you will want to do more and more. Each time you reach a goal (speed or distance), you'll set another one. Mark my words. LOL

Oh, and one very, very important key to running speed or distance is to incorporate strength training or cross training into your routine. As you work on speed or distance, you are stressing the muscles. Rest and strength training make them stronger. Otherwise, the constant stress will result in a muscle strain, tendon tear, and many other overuse injuries. No bueno.

Good luck! You're welcome to contact me if you ever have any specific questions or can't find something in your research.

Single Ma said...

Oh, one more thing. It also helps if you run with other people, specifically someone who is faster than you. This will help to get you out of your comfort zone. A running partner or group may slow their pace to train "with" you, but their pace will naturally change at some point in the run. As you are chatting while running, you won't pay attention and naturally, you'll want to keep up. It'll be hard at first, but again, the body adapts over time. Then you'll realize your pace is improving.

Here's the Black Girl RUN group list. Check it out to see if there's one in your area.


Rose said...

I would love to run. Did it in 2004 and 2005 but now I have a little arthritic in my right knee so I just walk now...