Thursday, April 4, 2013

The only way to run faster is to run faster. Drat.

I've done research.  Greg even bought me a book called "Run Less, Run Faster" for Christmas.  But I'm starting to realize that the only way to run faster is to run faster. 

I'm at that awkward point in my running where I'm transitioning from beginner to novice.  Being a beginner was actually kind of fun.  When I was doing the Couch to 5k program, there were only two speeds: walking and jogging.  The only goal was to jog for 60 seconds, or 90 seconds, or, *gasp* five minutes.  I was making progress so rapidly, and it was so exciting.

Now I feel like I've hit a dead end.  I'm running ten miles a week at a snail's pace (10:20 ish) and not getting any faster.  That's because I never bother to run faster.  I'm scared.  I'm afraid that if I run faster, I'm going to end up walking home, and probably not getting a shower in before my babysitter has to leave. 

No more.  I am going to run longer AND faster, and I'm going to do this by running longer and faster.  (Does this sound deep, at all?  No?  Darn.)

Anyway... here are some thoughts on running motivation, where I've gone right and wrong, and where I'm going from here.

The More or Faster dichotomy:

The old mistake: In the fall, I was running sporadically, pushing myself to the max, and ending up with fewer, faster miles at the end of the week.  In the spring, with my first 10k on the horizon, I decided to aim for running at least 10 miles a week.  In order to meet that goal, I decided to jog nice and slow and just focus on adding up the miles.  But then I was frustrated that I wasn't running any faster.  All these extra miles, and no progress!  I think that's why the "Run Less, Run Faster" book suggests an interval run, a tempo run, and a long run each week.  So you can focus on speed for a few workouts, and then endurance by taking it easy for longer one run a week.  This is smart.  Of course, the workout charts are for people who have already been running fifteen miles a week for at least three months, so I decided not to follow this until I'd upped my mileage a little. 

The new plan: I'm going to try to run an interval run once a week where I alternate between half a mile at a difficult pace and half a mile at an easy pace for two miles after a one mile warmup, and then do a three mile run at an intermediate pace, and a four - six mile run at a slow pace once a week.

Motivation Tips:

Keep track of your running on a calendar.  Keep track of whichever elements you're working on the most, whether it's miles or speed. 

Set realistic goals so you can achieve them and feel good when you do.

Set a number of runs a week or a number of miles a week, or a pace to hit for at least one run for your week, and keep track of that.  Or maybe all three.

If you're really having trouble:

Let yourself walk during your run, but only if you're walking in the opposite direction of home. 

Watch an awesome action movie if you're running on a treadmill.  (The Bourne movies are great, car chase scenes make me run faster.  Running while Matt Damon is running on the beach... highlight of my week.)

Go for out and back runs rather than circular runs, because once you're a couple miles away from home, you might as well keep jogging or it's going to be a long time before you get back!

Sign up for a race.  I like to just prepare hard and then "see what I can do" rather than setting a time goal, but either way, the accountability of a race looming is great motivation.

My upcoming races:

I am running a race THIS SUNDAY with the double jogging stroller!  I am so nervous.  I want so badly to do well, but I have been running so slow, and I will be pushing fifty pounds of baby, toddler, and stroller, something I'm not used to because it's the very beginning of warm weather season.  I am trying to think postively about how funny they'll think it is to be running a race, and that it's my very first race with them so there's no where to go but up from here!  (Please let there be a few walkers so I don't come in last.)

**UPDATE** Here's how the race went!

My first 10k is in June!  I am excited.  Really excited.  Super excited.  Greg is running also.  He runs really fast.  That's good because I want him clapping for me when I get towards the finish. 

My thoughts for you:

Run fun!

Will they sleep through Sunday's race?


  1. I'm so glad you posted this on Jessica Sherwood's page. This is an inspiration and I will definitely be taking up jogging this spring pushing my own (single) stroller!

  2. Good luck with your run!

    I run Galloway method. Run 3 / Walk 1. It's helped me get faster. If I really try, I can run a sub-10 min mile. (Comfortably running w/o walking I'd be doing 11 min. miles. I'm slow) I have also run on a track and sprint as fast as I can for one lap. I think that's help me build up too.