Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Thoughts on How to Become a Better Runner


I am going to let you in on a little secret. I am an emotional person. I over analyze pretty much everything and I am plagued with self doubt. At times, these personality traits are not a super stellar combination.

Currently nasty little thoughts are having their way with me. I'm too slow to be a runner. It is ridiculous to have a blog about running when my pace hovers at 11 minutes. I'm too fat to be a runner. I don't run far enough to be a runner. Really. It is awesome to be in my head.

So today I am trying to simmer it down a little and approach this rationally. The only way for me to become a better runner is to quit whining about it and just run. And while that sounds simple enough, I know that "just running" isn't going to get me to where I want to be. That is how I approached my half marathon last year and, while I finished the race, I did not quite achieve the goal I had in mind.

So as I am about to start this year's half marathon training cycle I am thinking of all of the things I can do better. I have been pouring over running blogs and keeping mental notes of things I can do to become a better runner. This particular post really inspired me and really got me to thinking. So I decided to write down my own version of things I can do to become a better runner. Here they are in no particular order:

Strength training and core work: I was so lax on this last year. This year I have joined a gym and hope to go for strength training once or twice a week as time allows. I also want to incorporate  a good amount of core work. This can be easy to do while watching tv at night. Even 10 minutes a day. I think it will really help.

Stretching and foam rolling: I want to add yoga into some of my non-mornings. Foam rolling helps my tired muscles.

Oh foam roller. I love you. And I hate you.

Nutrition and hydration: I want to be smarter about what I am putting into my body and start thinking of everything I am eating and drinking as fuel for my running. Drinking enough water throughout the day every day will prevent dehydration. Choosing the right foods will fuel me properly for my runs. And hopefully, with the right nutrition, I can loose a few pound which I think will be essential for becoming a better runner.

So excited to try to the nuun flavors!

Join a training group: I am currently waiting for the registration information from my local running store for a training group geared specifically for my goal race. Hopefully it will fit within my budget to join. I typically run alone. This is due to a couple of reasons. I have not met many other runners near me. Secondly, I am so self-conscious about my running. I am slow and I would be afraid to hold someone back. But I really thinking joining a training group will help motivate me to push myself when I don't want to.

Go outside of my comfort zone: Because I run alone I rarely go outside of my comfort zone. I rarely push my pace on purpose. If I am tired I walk instead of pushing myself a little longer. I can't be afraid to leave my cushy 11 min/mile pace or run a little longer. I have to believe that with training my body will be able to do what I am asking it to do. This includes not only trying to up my pace but also working on more difficult courses. I can not avoid the hills. Hills make me stronger!

Build my base: I feel that before I can even think about moving into speedwork I have to build a solid fitness base. I am still trying to figure out what exactly that base is. In the meantime I think that instead of the typical track workout I can start incorporating some striders or short bits of tempo into my regular runs.

Cross training: I think it will be really good to have something other than running in my fitness plan. This way I can build up my fitness even more while using different muscles. Right now I have spin class on Monday evenings and want to try to add some cycling on my non-running weekend day.

So there it is. Part of my master plan for the summer. I am hopeful that with dedication and hard work I can break out of my comfort zone and see some real results.

I am waiting to see if I can get into the half marathon training group, but in the meantime I have to have some sort of rough sketch of a training plan. I am eyeing Another Mother Runner's Half Marathon Finish It plan right now. I have a month to get my schedule in order. Official training begins in July. Until then it is base fitness work.



  1. I love this post. I'm a solo runner too. I've always thought of it as a "me time", but a few years ago I started running with my super fast friend and she really helped my push my pace. I was at the time hovering between a 10-11 minute pace. Now I find myself running between 8:30-9:30, which is quite an improvement!
    I read the same post over at paceofme yesterday, and it's really inspired me to make some lifestyle changes at might help improve me running too!

    Good luck!

  2. Wow! That is quite an improvement! I need to find me a fast friend!

  3. I saw your post on SUAR's blog & had to check out yours, b/c I'm another Rose who runs slow. I usually run an 11:30 - 12 min pace, but there are also lots of walk breaks, do my average is even slower. I have similar goals as yours but I keep letting in-the-moment things keep getting in the way of training fully. Good luck this summer!

    1. Yay! Thanks for stopping by! I hope you are able to find some more time to run this summer!

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  6. You're doing great Rose :)!!!!