Wednesday, April 24, 2013

20 Things I've Learned as a Runner

Not sure why, but over half of these thoughts ran through my head during my easy 4 mile run today, so I thought I'd jot them down. The fact that I remembered them is even more impressive.

20 Things I've learned as a Runner:

1. It's normal to have to use the restroom 40 times before a race. If you think you have to go, you do. If you don't think you have to go, you do.

2. When running/racing, don't start off in a sprint. Unless you are running a 400 meter sprint.

3. You're probably going to bite the dust at least once while running. It's okay, nobody saw you. Except the five cars that drove by. And that cyclist. And three other runners.

4. It's okay to slow down and take a break if you have to. Just don't make it a 10 minute break. That's called stopping.

5. Cut corners on the race course. 

6. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Do this BEFORE you run. It's too late if you wait until you're actually running. 

7. Bad runs happen; good runs happen. But it's the great runs that remind you how much you love to run. And they also make up for the bad ones.

8. Running in 50 degree weather is ten times easier than running in 90.

9. Wear a headlamp when you run in the dark. There are sticks that look like snakes, leaves that look like frogs, and deer that look like deer. And trust me, they will dart out in front of you. Those sticks are everywhere.

10. Listen to your body. If you need to rest, rest; if you need to take it slow, take it slow. Injuries happen, it doesn't mean you will never run again. 

11. Keep up with the mileage on your shoes. Take advantage of buying new ones!

Like these pretty thangs:

12. Don't compare your success with the success of other runners. Every runner is different. This is a biggie for me. I am constantly reminding myself that I didn't run in high school; I didn't run in college. I've only been running for two years; I'm still new to this. I still have lots of room to improve. I can't look at someone else's running success and think, "Wow! I wish I was as fast as them!" when they've been running for 13 years. Patience is key.

13. Foam rollers are evil. But they hurt so good!

14. STRETCH! Like, really stretch. Don't just reach down and touch your toes.

15. Holding your arm up above your head will not help find GPS satellites any faster.

16. Don't let anyone ever tell you can't run a certain distance or pace. That's never happened to me (and for that I'm grateful), but I know people who HAVE had it said to them and that strikes a nerve. 

17. You don't need music to run 13 miles. Try it sometime. Or every time, like I do.

18. Everyone needs a running buddy. Whether it's one who is physically by your side when you need them (my husband!) or a virtual running buddy (my RunChat folks!)  

19. You don't need to run with a water bottle, a fuel belt, or one of those hydration backpack things every. time. you. go. for. a. run. 

20. Set your goals high. Train hard, race hard, achieve your goals. Then repeat.  Probably one of my favorite things about being a runner. 

I could have titled this, "100 Things I've Learned as a Runner" and I would have had no problem listing 80 more, but my adult ADD is kicking in, and I'm hungry. Maybe I'll continue it in another blog some day. 

What are some things you've learned as a runner? Are any similar to these? How long have you been running?  

Friday, April 5, 2013

Running Rut

I'm finding myself in a "running rut." This has happened before, usually right after a big race, when I don't have anything else to train for, or after being injured. And I hate it. It makes me feel inadequate as a runner.

I don't know if it's because:

A.) I don't have a training plan right now.
B.) I don't have any upcoming races. 
C.) I'm on spring break.
D.) I got spoiled with my week off from running (and want to keep it going.)
E.) I started Crossfit this week, and I'm sore and tired.
F.) I'm just making excuses and being lazy.

EFF! All of those factors are the cause in one way or another. But that doesn't make them reasonable excuses. If you call yourself a runner, then you run. It's as simple as that. Or at least it should be. You don't come up with 6 different excuses why you "don't want to run." 

That's a positive attitude to have! But I'm not there right now. Remember, I'm in a "running rut."

I'm not good at running without a training plan; without a goal in mind. So how do I get out of this "running rut"? Decide on a plan. Duh. Well, I'll decide on a broad plan. Chris can work out the specifics ;).

All six excuses aside, this is what I want to work on right now:

  • Speed work. I want to get faster. Doesn't everyone? I want to try and knock off even more time for a 5k in May. Even though I KNOW it's much more difficult to knock off time in a 5k than it is a half marathon. That's okay, the end result is worth it. And if I put in the work I'll be happy with the results.
  • My next BIG goal for a 13.1 is 1:50 (or maybe sub?), which will be a 7 or 8 min PR. I know that's a HUGE stretch, but I want a goal that I have to work hard for. I don't want a goal that's easily attainable. Where's the fun in that? And with the correct amount of training I know I can do it (as long as I don't get injured this time!), even if I don't get it on the first try, which will probably be in October, or whenever the Middle Half is scheduled for. I know I'll at least set a new PR. And that's progress. 
  • Running for the sake of enjoying it; Running as a stress reliever; Running to clear my mind; Running with no pace or distance in mind, which is difficult for me to do.

That's it. Nothing fancy. 

But for right now I'm going to enjoy the last few days of my spring break. I'm going to run the miles I want, when I want. I'm going to go outside and read. I'm going to clean and organize. I'm going to get my classroom back in order for next week. I'm going to catch up with some friends. I'm going to spend time with my husband. I'm going to enjoy myself.

And I'm going to get out of my running rut and run. Tomorrow. Promise. :)

This pretty much sums up my post. It's a saying that is on the back of the shirts at the Crossfit gym Chris and I go to.

What excuses have you made to get out of running/working out? Have you ever been in a "running rut"? If so, how did you get out of it?