My running secret…

Life has been crazy!!!

Working 14 hours a day.  Family, church… Not much else other then running.

I promised a while ago to post my “secret” about how to run better and more efficiently.  Today, I’m keeping my promise.  I waited a while as I wanted to make sure my progress wasn’t just psychological.  I think running has a lot to do with psychology and I also think that with time, psychological effects will make themselves evident.  After time, what remains is what really helps.  What I am posting is the one thing that has made the biggest impact on my running in the past 3 years…

This isn’t a huge thing. In fact, I bet I’ve posted about this sometime in the past 3 years.  Sometimes the best and most impactful things seem the most trivial.  It just takes an event to make them come to the forefront and make an impression.

Okay… here it goes… My secrete is…

Run slowly.

Just kidding (sort of).

For the first mile of every run, pay the most attention of any other mile of your run.  The first mile is the most critical.  It is the mile that will affect all other miles.  Run loosely.  Run easy.  Run slowly.

During the first mile of each run, never let your heart beat fast.  If you end up running a 10 minute pace, or a 15 mile pace, just run slowly. Make sure your body stays loose.  Continually think about your neck, shoulders, arms and legs.  Just keep loose.  Keep your heart rate slow.  Keep it easy and slow.

That’s it.  That one thing, the first mile, has changed my running in a way nothing else has in 3 years. After that first mile, I run as fast or slow as I want.  I just keep trying to keep my shoulders and body loose and free of stress.  I keep trying to run loose and easy.

Each Saturday morning I run my long run.  Most Saturday’s I run 13 miles, but about every 3rd or 4th Saturday, I run 10 miles to give my body a break.  This last “easy” Saturday, I ran 10 miles and for the last 2 miles I ran hard.  I was able to run those miles at marathon pace (BQ marathon pace) and most miles were negative splits.  I credit my first mile with this success.  I worked hard at running slow.  I ran my first mile at a 10:16 pace.  My last mile was at a 8:15 pace.  Ahhh. Looking back, it was a great run.

Try it for yourself and let me know how it goes.  Do this consistently and you will see a change that will transform your running like nothing else you have tried.

That is it.  My “secret”.  I hope it helps.


8 thoughts on “My running secret…

  1. This is excellent and such an AHA moment! One thing I learned through my coaching classes is that slower running is actually better for you. My husband kept nudging me when they emphasized this because for years I would yell at him to keep up. In fact, you are going to train better if you run those longer run slower. Truth is, slowing down on long runs makes you faster and trains your body better. You worry about speed on speed work outs and runs meant for speed training. You nailed this one!

    • So true. I worked hard for years to increase my speed, but I got my mind into the fact I had to run hard all the time. The end result was that I got hurt a lot. Now that I have slowed down my running and especially the first mile, I run easier and with much less pain. 🙂

  2. Totally agree, Tom! I think the first mile sets your body’s expectations. Not only does it give your muscles a chance to warm up properly, but I feel like it sends my body a signal. Run it too fast and my body gets overwhelmed and responds like I’m sprinting. Run it slow and I get faster with (most) every mile, at the same level of effort. Great post!

    • Glad it isn’t just me :). I told TJ about it and he said, “you’ve mentioned that before dad”. It is one of those things I’ve tried before, but just not consistently. Now I work harder with the first mike then all the others. Thanks!

  3. This is one of those realizations that come with experience. I’ve been doing this for awhile now, but it was really hammered home for me when I ran a training run race in February. I had 16 miles on my schedule, and I decided to do a half marathon at a moderate pace. So, I did 3 warm up miles at around a 10:04 pace, race my first race mile at around a 9:00 pace, then negative split from there all the way to my fastest mile — the last one. I felt great and like I could’ve kept going. But the key was the easy warm up. Heck, I race a 5 mile race Saturday and did just a brief warm up so I ran my first mile at a 8:24, then ran the rest around a 7:52 pace. If I’d killed myself that first mile, I doubt I would’ve had the kick I did at the end.

    I think this becomes even more important as we get older. I’m glad you’ve discovered this secret works for you! Hopefully it’s making running more fun for you (I keep waiting for you to declare how much you love to run 😉 )

    • Great comment!! No worry about grammar! Read my posts and see I’m not that great myself. :). I hope to one day write that I love running. It has been good to me, but also very painful. I guess that is why I keep trying to search for the “answer”. I’m glad you have had the same experiences with the first mile or so. It really helps me confirm it isn’t just in my head. Lol. Thanks again for the input!!!

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