Feeling my stride

I noticed something different during my runs this week.  Even yesterday on my 4 mile run (it was my short day before my long day) I noticed the same thing.  I seem to be “feeling” my stride.  I don’t know if that makes sense, but I have finally been noticing that my stride is consistant and feels right.  I have never noticed that before.  I guess that I have been working so hard on running faster, that I never just sank into my run.

I think putting my iSmoothRun app to only give me an update on my average pace each mile rather than per quarter mile gives me time not to think about my pace and to feel the way I am running.  I also think that my tempo runs help.  During these runs I have to push and run a lot faster than normal.  I notice my legs running hard and fast and keeping a steady stride.

It has been over a year since I began running and I’m just now noticing all this.  I find that strange.  I hope it is a good sign that I am becoming more consistent in my running form.

One more thing…  Last night I dreamt that I was running in a marathon.  As I was running I thought to myself, “I have only run 13 miles as a long run, how am I going to make 26”?  It was actually a fun dream.  I have never dreamed about running a race before.  It was a lot of fun and I ran without getting tired.  I hope that becomes a reality!!!

Happy Easter!

Hill runs and races – workouts and payoffs

Hill run day yesterday… Need I say more.

Hill runs are good for you I hear.  TJ has really helped me in understanding the reason for the various workouts we do. Hill runs are just another part of the puzzle.  I’ve mentioned this hill we run before, but just to say it again, it is huge.  It goes straight up it seems for about a tenth of a mile and then levels out a bit and then is just semi steep for another tenth of a mile.  In fact the first part is so steep, I can’t run down it.  I’ve tried and it is more of a defensive run than a run.  Also, if I try to run down it, my knees are killing me afterwards.  So now I run up and walk (or walk in a falling forward motion) down.

All this for the workout.  I must admit that workouts really help break up the routine of running 6 days a week.  I start with a tempo run (I’m at 3 miles now) and then 2 days later do my hill run and then 3 days later do my long run.  Unfortunately I don’t recover very well from the hill run.  As of yet, though I’ve only done a few hill days, it takes until my day off (Monday) to get over the soreness.  I know that will go away, but wow I am sore afterwards!!!

The good news is that yesterday I was able to do 4 repeats up the hill.  That is the most so far and wasn’t too bad.  I didn’t sprint up the hill, but just tried to keep a steady pace.  I can tell that it really works out my lower body, which is good.

The 5K is just under 2 months away and I really want to do well.  I don’t know about other runners, but TJ and I really work at speed and distance.  I love 5Ks because they allow you to push hard for a short distance and really see how good of shape you are in.  I really enjoyed the half marathon because I had to pace myself and not push, but try to hit a sustainable pace for 13.1 miles.  That took much more strategy than the 5Ks I’ve run and in some ways made it more enjoyable.

Ultimately it is the races that make running fun.  They keep me pushing forward, up and down hills, fast and slow runs, over and over, week after week.  On race day, it all pays off.  I can’t wait for May 18th, our next 5K.  I only hope I can make my goal!!!  Only time (and workouts) will tell.

Yesterday, a good, easy run

Yesterday I felt good.  It was a good day from the moment I woke up.  Why yesterday, I don’t know.  Maybe because I was thrilled with my tempo run the day before.  Maybe because my goal of a 20:00 5K in May now looks possible.  Maybe it was just a good day!

After work I went for my run.  It was to be an easy run day, so I wanted to keep my pace slow.  Usually I work at going as fast as I feel comfortable, but I now realize that in doing so, I was actually hurting my overall running ability.  My goal now is to take my easy days easy and my workout days hard.

I want to also concentrate on increasing my mileage.  I have been “stuck” between 35 – 45 miles a week for a long time.  Our marathon isn’t until December and I know I have  plenty of time, but I want to begin the task of upping my mileage now, so I can slowly get to where I need to be rather than only having 12 weeks to get there.

So how did my run yesterday go?  Good.  I ran 7 miles for the second day in a row.  I thought of going 8, but knowing that today is a hill run workout, I didn’t want to do too much.  But it was a good run.  I averaged an 8:30 pace and, except for a couple of twinges, felt great for most of my run.

This is my new goal.  To enjoy my easy runs more.  To feel like I am running at a good pace, but to also feel like I could go farther at the end of my run.

Today the hill stands in front of me.  Not looking forward to that.  But I have learned by my years of living on this planet that the best things come by enduring through the hard things.  Hill runs are tough.  Tempo runs are tough.  But a 20:00 5K… priceless!

5K tempo run… The best one ever!

I’m very excited about my run yesterday.

It was my tempo run day and I was dreading it.  Running that hard for that long is difficult for me, but it always benefits my running.  After my tempo day, I run easier, faster and with less effort.  So I make myself do them and I never regret it.  I do dread it through.

Yesterday I ran 2 warmup miles in my Saucony Mirage 2 shoes (my favorite shoes) and then came home and changed into my Saucony A5 racing flats and went for the tempo run.  TJ started me doing this where he changes his shoes before beginning at tempo pace.  It not only gives a chance for a little rest, but it is amazing going from a regular running shoe to a light racing flat.  It feels like there is nothing on your feet.

My hope was to run 2 of my tempo miles under 7:00 pace and then the third as fast as I could, knowing that I would be tired.  I have never run 2 miles under 7:00 pace before, but I wanted to get use to the feeling of running that fast.  I wanted my brain to learn how fast that was and my legs to know how to keep at that pace.  So, I went for it.

I finished 2 miles feeling pretty good.  From my iSmoothRun app, I could tell that I should be averaging under 7:00 pace.  The third mile was an effort.  But the idea behind a tempo run is to hit the wall.  To know that feeling when your body says, “No more”.  Well after yesterday, I know that feeling.

So how did it go?  Here is the breakdown of my tempo miles:

Mile 1 – 6:50 pace
Mile 2 – 6:50 pace
Mile 3 – 7:02 pace

Wow, I set a person record.  My last 5K race I ran at a 7:09 pace and a total time of 22:10.  I was not in a good place when I finished as it took 10 minutes of medical attention to get me back to a normal breathing state.  I ran this 5K at a 6:54 pace and a total time of 21:29.  I couldn’t be happier.  It was hard, but I was able to get in 2 recovery miles afterwards.

TJ, RS and I are training for a 5K in May where my goal is to run it at 20:00 (6:26 pace).  It is a big goal, but this will be the first 5K I have ever actually trained for.  I’ve also learned that I need to run my easy runs at a slower pace.  I’ve read that those who run too fast all the time end up running slower and getting hurt more than those who run 80% easy and 20% fast.

Today is an easy day, and I need it.  I am a bit sore this morning, but not too bad. It was worth it!

With all the dreading of my tempo day, it was the best day ever.

Running has made me love the outdoors!

Yesterday was my off day from running to let my body recuperate, and my body needed that day.  Our workouts last week were the first I had done in a month or so and though it had positive effects on my running, my muscles didn’t like it much.

So yesterday I got home from work and went for a two mile walk.  It is funny how after running each day for a year now, I enjoy the outdoors for the first time since my childhood.  I had gotten into the routine of essentially being outside for a little as possible.  I’d go from my house to my car and from my car to my work and then eight hours later reverse that processes.  I hated to be outside.

Now, I am outside about an hour a day and I love it.  I think that because I decided to run in any weather (except for lightening), I have begun to enjoy all weather.  In the summer I really appreciate rain and wind, since it is so hot.  In the winter I appreciate the cold and the feeling after a mile or so of my body heating up under my running clothes like a furnace.  I really have learned to appreciate the days with moderate temperatures and no clouds in the sky.

I tend to learn from experience rather than from what people tell me.  Experience has taught me that being outside helps my mood.  Running does a lot of help for my mood also, don’t get me wrong.  But there is something about the outdoors, especially in the sun, that makes me feel better and seems to keep me healthier and happier.

Of course you don’t have to run to get outside and experience this feeling of, ahhhh.  But for me, running outside in all types of weather has made me a better person at home, at work and in general.

Okay, these are just my experience as I mentioned before.  But I have been challenging those I know who suffer from depression and health problems to just get out of the house.  One day, if it hasn’t been done already, researchers will prove that being outside and hour a day will make you healthier, happier and live longer.

Experience is a great teacher.

My one year anniversary of running

Today is my one year anniversary of running.

Wow, what a year. I started running last March 25.  I weighed 220 lbs on that day after completing the first leg of my diet.  I ran 1.5 miles in a 12:44 pace.  The  next day I did run 2 miles at about the same pace.  So in one year, I went from running 2 miles every other day to running 35-45 miles a week, 6 days a week.  It really amazes me as I look back on how far I have come.  I am thankful and I hope I can continue this journey for a long time.

So yesterday was my long run day and it went fairly well.  I ran 10 miles in just under a 9 minute pace.  I must say I was spent by the end of the run.  I was still sore from the workouts I did last week, but I was able to complete my goal.  I read an article yesterday saying that most runners run too fast for their easy workouts.  It said that the research shows that running 80% of runs at an easy pace and 20% at a tempo or fast pace is the best way to build up endurance and speed.  By running most runs at a fast pace, people are not only open to getting injured more often, but also do not perform as well in races.  So I took the advice, turned off the audio on my app, and just ran what felt good.  It was a better long run than last weekend at least.  One thing that helped was I decided to run early Saturday morning rather than in the afternoon and to run low miles on Saturday.  That way I was more rested and ready to run the miles I wanted to run.

Today is my day off.  I may walk this afternoon since I really enjoy the outdoors now.  I thought about running 1.5 miles and see how I do compared to a year ago, but I really need the day off for my body to rest.

Keep running!

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