First off, I had a great track workout this morning. I did 7 miles total, with a two mile warm up, some strides, 5x800m repeats in 2:52, 2:52, 2:51, 2:52, and 2:51 (5:45-5:47 average pace) with two minute jog intervals, and then a 1.5 mile cool-down. It was a tough workout (I definitely pushed myself hard), but I enjoy the track, and I was really happy to be so consistent, especially since I didn't look at the Garmin for the last two intervals and just went on feel. I still get excited to maintain a pace that starts with the number 5, even if it is just for half-mile repeats.
Since the kids are on Spring Break I got to start a little later than usual and the sun was even up, and a couple of friends and neighbors were at the track too, which was fun. It was COLD though and for my first couple of warm-up laps my teeth were even chattering. (By the end of the workout I was shedding layers though).
I love the feeling of finishing a tough track workout and going over my splits on my Garmin and seeing that I nailed it!
It was a good enough workout that when I shared my splits I got a stream of "wow's" out of Josh and a happy phone call from Coach Rick, so that made me feel even better about it.
I leave for Boston a week from tomorrow!
Moving on -
I get a lot of emails from runners asking for all kinds of advice. I am certainly not an expert, but I am happy to offer as much help, support, and encouragement that I can to anyone who asks.
Many of the questions I get are from runners who are just starting out, or runners who have been at it for awhile but want to get faster or run further distances.
Do you want to know the secret to becoming a better runner? To being able to run further distances and faster paces no matter where you are at now or what your goals are? The secret is that there is no secret. You have to work at it. You have to get out there and run regularly. You have to slowly, smartly, and safely build your mileage. You have to be consistent. You have to do the work.
Speed doesn't come magically. It comes from running faster.
To make progress in running, when things get comfortable, you have to push yourself. When a pace is comfortable or a distance becomes easy to finish, then it's time to push yourself further and faster. You have to be willing to make yourself uncomfortable and to not give up when it hurts. (I am not talking about the kind of hurt that comes with an injury, but the kind of hurt you feel when you are really pushing your body). It's human instinct to want to stop doing something that makes us feel uncomfortable and to pull back, and you have to push past that.
Every once and a while someone will tell me that I am "lucky" that I am fast. I am here to tell you that luck has very little to do with it. I have worked really, really, really hard to get to where I am at, and plan to work even harder to get to where I want to go.
Three years ago I physically could not run two consecutive miles at any pace. When I started running with a local group of moms, I was the slow one. I was the heavy one. I was the newest runner. I could not keep up.
In May 2009 I ran a 5k. I finished in 32:02 and felt like I was king of the world. In September 2010, I ran my first half marathon in 2:04:50 and was thrilled and excited with my progress. In December 2010 I ran my first full marathon in 4:15:50 and couldn't have been happier. Less than nine months later I ran my first BQ marathon in 3:32:15. I have continued to get faster from there, and have every intention to get myself to the Olympic Marathon Trials in 2016.
I have run almost every day and put the miles in, no excuses. I didn't quit when the mornings got dark and the snow started falling. I have steadily built my mileage. I have done lots of reading and research on running. training, and marathoning. I have worked hard and pushed myself continually to get faster. I have been dedicated to and consistent with my core/strength training to be strong overall and fight injuries. I take my recovery seriously. And I do all that day in and day out, week in and week out, month in and month out, year in and year out. And I love it. :)
So that's my secret to improving as a runner (and probably at most things in life). Work hard, be consistent, be determined, push yourself, be willing to hurt, and keep at it. Of course a little luck never hurts, and neither does help and advice from other runners, support and encouragement from those you love and who love you, and finding a great coach. :)
"All things are difficult before they are easy." - Thomas Fuller
"A dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work." - Colin Powell
"Dictionary is the only place that success comes
before work. Hard work is the price we must pay for success. I think you
can accomplish anything if you're willing to pay the price." - Vince Lombardi
"I know you've heard it a thousand times before. But
it's true - hard work pays off. If you want to be good, you have to
practice, practice, practice. If you don't love something, then don't do
it." - Ray Bradbury