Crazy Running Experiments Revisited

At the beginning of the year I wrote about a few of the crazy running experiments I have embarked on during my running life. Well, 2 of the "experiments" are ongoing. I have not updated my loyal readers about either in quite some time. Now is the time.

First, for a few years I have been running in the same pair of shoes. I haven't bothered to calculate how many miles they have on them, but it should be over 2000 at this point. The experiment became seeing which would break down first: my body or my shoes. At this point I am confident it will be my shoes.

Training With Ease

Last December I ran my first half marathon. Although I only had 5 weeks to prepare for it, and the race itself was one of the hardest things I have ever done, I really enjoyed it and am planning to do it again.

A little over a week ago it occurred to me that the first Saturday in December, and race day, is now less than 2 months away. Which means I should get going on my preparation.

The results have really helped me see what affect having a target race that you are committed to running and running well can have on your training.

Building Belief

One problem that I have never had is believing in myself. As a runner, I was fairly mediocre in the big scheme of things. I ran 16:40 for a 5k and right at 35:00 for a 10k. However, this reality never stopped me from believing I was capable of much more. In my last collegiate race I was on 15:59 pace through two miles. I faded over the last mile, but never stopped believing that I could be a sub 16:00 5k runner.

Adventure in the Hills

I am fortunate enough to live a short drive from the foothills. Just a little farther and you're into the mountains. This time of the year these places hold a special allure to many people.

Leaves changing color draw people into the higher elevations for scenery. Crisp fall air draws runners, cyclists, and the like to the same areas, but not entirely for the same reasons.

Yesterday I took a trip with my parents into the foothills. They wanted to see the leaves. I wanted to run on some nice mountain trails.

Managing Expectations

Whether heading into a big race, seeing solid results in training, or just feeling good, at some point in a training program many runners will feel like they are ready for a breakthrough performance.

Maybe they are getting ready for a race that has previously yielded great results. Or maybe they need to make a jump to be on track for their goals.

Whatever the circumstances, when heading into a race with high expectations it is always good to make sure our expectations are reasonable and realistic.

I am not suggesting lowering goals or accepting less than one's best.

Back in the Saddle

Yesterday morning I decided to run a race.

My sister and brother-in-law were running a 10k in Denver that I had run 2 years ago but was unable to run this year. In it's place I found a race in Colorado Springs the same morning that featured a 5k and a 15k.

Not feeling mentally ready for a 15k, and not having much speed work other than the eight 400s I had run the morning before, I wasn't sure either distance was ideal for me.

A Rule Not Far Enough?

In late August the IAAF, track and field's international governing body, made a long overdue rule. The rule is that women's world records cannot count if men and women run on the same course concurrently.

Improving as a Racer

Racing is a lot different than running.

Racing means attacking. It means pushing yourself to your limits. It means trying to beat people, not merely trying to cross the finish line before the clock says a certain number.

I have always said that a true racer would rather finish first and run 2:00 slower than their PR than finish last but run a PR.

Experienced runners have a switch they can flip when it is time to race. When watching these people you can see a look in their eyes that says, "I'm here to win."

The Perfect Storm

As a coach, every once in a while I get to observe something phenomenal. More often than not the phenomenal revolves around an individual athlete doing something inspired. Occasionally an inspired performance will inspire another athlete or two who will feed off of one another.

On rare occasions the training, weather conditions, competition, attitude, and whatever other factors may be coming into play work in harmony to produce team-wide results that are off the charts.

That was the case for my high school cross country team this past week.

Running While Sick

This past weekend I got sick. Not bed-ridden, miserable, unable to do anything sick. But sick to where doing not much of anything seemed like a good plan.

Now, having run every day so far in 2011 I was not willing to let a little sickness keep me from getting in at least some token miles.

Over the years I have had lots of experiences with running when I have been sick or getting sick. And I think I have learned some good things along the way.

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