During my morning run today I started thinking about a comment a friend made last week during a run. She said that my running has improved drastically during the past year and a half. And she was right.
I think a lot of the progress was due to luck. Had I picked a different training plan, one that focused on mileage rather than speed, I think I would be in a different spot now. Choosing "Run less, run faster", which focused on intense runs and low mileage, showed me how to work hard during key runs. Being the perfectionist nerd that I am, I had to make the goal paces for these runs, no matter what. Those tough workouts increased my speed dramatically, and also toughened me up. I started to absolutely love, rather than drag, the tough runs.
Next, I incorporated more mileage. Initially I had a tough time keeping the easy runs easy, but eventually I learned that I can do that if I don't wear a watch.
The higher mileage combined with awareness on my part, changed my stride from heel to forefoot. More recently, I have come to notice the difference between just dropping my foot on the ground, and actually pushing with my big toe, like I am trying to move the ground below me. This little tweak is absolutely amazing. Try it sometimes, if you are not already doing it. You'll notice that you run faster at the same effort.
In the past few months I have also realized that running fast requires focus - on form, on breathing, on keeping the pace you want to run, on your goals. When I run 10K pace or lower, the slightest drop in focus makes me slow down. And the faster the pace, the quicker this happens for me. It's like my body wants me to run a certain pace that it is used to, that keeps me "safe" and "comfortable" and unless I pay attention, my pace will slow down.
I have read a lot on how important focus is in running well, but the reading has never clicked with me until recently. I don't think focus is my strong suit. I tend to space out a lot, I like to space out a lot. Unless I am doing something that requires intense mental work (ideally one that involves numbers or analytical skills), chances are I am going to space out. In fact, I think I walk through life day dreaming at least 1/2 the time. So part of the challenge for me is going to be to improve my ability to focus during my runs. I think I have the speed, I have the strength and I have the endurance. With an improved ability to focus, I may be able to reach my goals!
Suggestions on how to do this are welcomed:)
Building a clock
7 months ago