Thursday, March 27, 2008

Switching Up Your Training

I'm sure that most of you already do this, but if you don't, then you should give it a try. Sometimes, you're not going to feel like running your regular workout, but you still want to add to your training regime.

Instead of forcing yourself to run, you should try putting in a strenuous bike ride or a good swim. You will still build your cardio while exercising different muscle groups that contribute to your long distance running. Plus, it will probably re-energize you as you get back into your training regime in the next day or so.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Putting In The "Hard" Miles

Something that I've learned during my years of running is that there are going to be days where you feel bad while running. For some reason, your body just doesn't want to be out putting in miles for the day, and just a short distance in you feel like taking a break and hitting the couch. However, those might be the most important days of your training.

I've come to realize that to be a good runner you have to be a smart runner. Sure, being fast is great, but if you don't understand how you can maximize your peformance with changes in pace, breathing and diet then what good is your speed? You end up wasting your potential because you're not running smart. The last two days I was able to apply that to my training.

Wednesday I was looking forward to logging my miles. Yet, after just a few strides my body was aching, and I could feel any motivation I had slipping away. I think the hard bike ride I put in the day before wore me out more than I thought, but I was determined to stick it out. After all, I had taken off almost two weeks from training because of a bad cold. I was, and still am, in the process of playing "catch up". The whole time I told myself that the hard miles are the most important ones. They challenge you to keep going, to push your body, and more importantly your mind. Another thing I've learned is that a mental block can hold back even the best runner. Pushing through hard training sessions makes it easier to get through any mental obstacles you might encounter. So I put in my hard miles, and was very suprised when I realized that I had run my fastest training time yet. It was only 4 seconds faster, but it was great to know that I could improve upon my time even when I didn't feel great.

Thursday, however was a different story. I wasn't looking forward to running at all. I really wanted to take a day off, but once again I knew that I needed to train. So, as I started my run I told myself that I was going to push as hard as ever. I figured that if I was making myself run that I was going to go all out. Even if it meant reaching total fatigue before I got to the end of my run. Towards the end of my run I had a feeling that I was doing pretty well, though I wasn't prepared to see that I had taken close to 30 seconds off of my previous best from Wednesday. I was glad that I had pushed myself as hard as I did, and reaped instant rewards. Plus, it helped improve my running psyche. Hopefully, I continue to shave off the time as I prepare for my first 5K in almost 11 years which I'm running next month.