Focus…breathe deeply…you’ve got this girl. Just keep going.
Running. It is a part of my makeup. I’ve been doing it so long that it is just became a part of my daily routine. Who I am and what I do. I lace my shoes up and head outside to simply just get lost in that runner’s high. The combination of music blasting in my ears and breathing in fresh air motivates me to run faster and longer. The air out there really is better.
My friend and running pal, Julia Stevens and I are usually hitting the pavement before dawn, hence my many sunrise photos on Instagram (Ha!). It’s pretty amazing to see the sky literally pop with all these vibrant colors as we watch the world wake and come alive. Gotta say, there are some mornings where I would rather just pull the covers over my head and get more beauty rest, than be up and out. I’m grateful for Julia for many reasons, and one of those is the constant accountability that she provides. Knowing she is probably already waiting on me, cause I’m late for everything, is a sure motivation. It is funny, how I don’t even think twice about it. If you are waiting to start running, or frankly just moving, I suggest grabbing a friend. It will make a difference.
The first month of 2017, was full of some great runs! In the middle of January, Lululemon paired with Strava for a two week run challenge. The idea was for runners at all levels to track their mileage using the Strava website/app. According to the Strava website, their mission is to bring all types of runners, cyclists and triathletes together, to inspire and motivate them to aim for their highest potential. Appropriately fitting, the Swedish word Strava means stive, “if you’re striving to improve, no matter what your goals or ability, you’re one of us”. An impressive mission and encouraging message. You can do this!
During the Lululemon/Strava challenge, I reached a new personal goal. Julia was training for a half marathon and asked if I would want to partake on one of her longer runs. I accepted the invite and together we did it. We ran 10 miles one Saturday that happened to fall right in the middle of the Strava challenge. This wasn’t a first for Julia but was for me. It was an amazing accomplishment to actually do it. It was hard but exhilarating as we were rounding the end of that run. Determined, I told myself I was going to do it and I did it. I set a goal and went after it. As Lululemon coined the phrase, ‘go ahead, chase that high”.
I’m fortunate to have motivating people around me. It helps keep me focused. The always encouraging and inspiring Mandy Oakes has some great running times that I must share. These are too good to just keep for myself! Ha!
As Mandy says, if you are a runner who is comfortable running 3-4 times/week and engaging in a couple of days of strength training (an intermediate runner), then you are a great candidate to add some speed training into your routine to improve your race pace. Here are some tips to help:
- Adjust your cadence – consider shortening your stride to run more efficiently. You can count your steps or turnover rate during one minute of your run and see where you land, and then work on increasing your strides per minute.
- Train at race pace – try to add in interval training on your morning routes. A basic interval session may be; a 10 minute warm-up run (about 1.5 minute slower than your push pace), run for 30 seconds at an all-out effort; recover for 2-3 minutes; repeat 6-8 times. Finish with a cool down (at your warm-up pace).
- Hydration and food – choose foods that your body can easily digest before and after the race. Stick to water over electrolyte replacement drinks and caffeine. Caffeine along with high sugar or artificial sweetener content in many “energy drinks” can cause stomach discomfort and cramping. Who wants that on race day!
- FDI (Frequency, Duration, Intensity) – don’t go up in more than 2 of these in any given week. Meaning, if you decide to take your pace up a notch (intensity) from 2-3 times a week (frequency), then don’t bump up your mileage on those given days (duration). Increasing all three of these components in one workout can lead to injury.
Whatever level you are, remember to just do YOU. Remember this B. Perdy tip, don’t compare yourself to what everyone else is doing. It is hard but we all have to start somewhere. Find your balance. The important thing is to just get out there and move!
Below are pics taken from many of my runs during the Lululemon/Strava Challenge