Thursday, July 24, 2008

Tough tips.

This week at Runners' Lounge, the theme for Take it and Run Thursday is Overcoming the Tough Stuff.

With running, if you really want to get better (whether that means running longer, faster, injury-free, whatever) then you have to tackle the tough stuff. You have to push yourself on long runs, suck it up and add some speed drills, or make time for non-running, injury-prevention exercises. For me, the tough stuff is speed. I like to run my runs and don't like to think of them as workouts, which makes speed drills just not my thing. But, in order to become faster, I have to do them.

So, along the way, I've learned some lessons and picked up some tips to make the speed work palatable. Maybe some of these tips will work for you, as you take on your own tough stuff:

Be sure you have a strong foundation
. Running makes me happy (thus, the name of my blog!). To me, this is the foundation of my running. When I'm trying to conquer something that's hard -- like speed workouts or cold-weather runs -- I remember that I love to run. It makes me happy. That foundation makes the tough stuff a little easier.

Focus on form. So important. You don't want to struggle through long runs with a nagging injury because you didn't pay attention to your running form. It can be easy to forget about form when you're concentrating on your hard workout -- whether it is a long marathon-prep run or killer hill repeats. I say, do yourself a favor and watch your form. Your body will thank you!

Contrast what you are doing with something harder. I had ass-whupping contractions for 18 hours when I was in labor with my son. I think I can handle holding a fast pace for 24 minutes.

Don't belittle what you are doing. Understand that there will always be runners who run faster than you, or log more miles. Don't worry about them -- and don't compare yourself to them. If long runs are tough for you, don't make them harder by saying, "I'm only running 8 miles, I'm a wimp, it's not like I'm running 5 minute miles for 20 miles like Deena Kastor." What is tough for you is tough, for you. And that is fair. Don't beat yourself up by thinking that your tough stuff isn't worthy. It is.

And that's it, folks. The things that work for me. Now, if you see me in my next 5k, running hard but looking spent, feel free to shout out, "Remember: You can run fast for 24 minutes -- it's nothing compared to 18 hours of labor!" And you'll be right.

15 comments:

Blyfinn said...

I so much struggle with focusing on form. I would have to say that you have me beat in a BIG way with your ability to "contrast what you are doing with something harder". I'm glad I'm a guy. Good tips!

The Happy Runner said...

blyfinn -- Well, that's why I use that one. It makes my tough runs seem like nothing! It really does work!

Keep thinking about your form. Just being aware of it will help.

Running Knitter said...

Excellent tips! Thank you!

tfh said...

Remembering "running makes me happy!" is a good one. It might also make me laugh when I'm red-faced and panting.

I'll have to put having a baby on my training schedule somewhere. We'll see what the old hub has to say about that.

Mark Salinas said...

I really don't have any comparisons like labor to pull me up....lucky you! :)

merrymishaps said...

Great tips! Though, I don't have any kids. I'm not sure I have anything harder to compare the tough stuff to :)

Betsy said...

Childbirth was way tougher than my marathon - both during and the recovery. Hell, after a marathon, at least you can sleep!

The Happy Runner said...

tfh -- if it makes you laugh, hey, keep saying it!

Mark & merrymishaps -- I'm sure you have something tough for comparison :-)

CoffeeBetsy -- I totally agree. In a marathon, you are the one in control. Labor, not so much!

Shilingi-Moja said...

Speedwork is the hardest for me, too. Thanks for the tips -- I'll just have to think, If my wife could endure labor and delivery twice, I can do this!

The Happy Runner said...

Shilingi-Moja -- THERE you go!

carla said...

and even NOT as a big runner this are all GREAT TIPS FOR LIFE in general (she types realizing she's stating the obvious...)

:)

MizFit

Melanie said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving the comment! I've enjoyed perusing through yours just now! I'm always excited to find blogs of other runners... and as an added bonus, I often daydream about pursing freelance writing later in life. I'll be back to read often! (PS - Sorry to hear about your cat. I was a mess last year when the one I grew up with died.. it's always tough to deal with such things.)

The Happy Runner said...

MizFit -- Funny how things that work for running can apply to REAL life, huh?

Melanie -- Yeah, I love finding new running blogs. There is so much to learn from other runners! Thanks for the note about Mo. I'm feeling better as the week goes on. I'll always miss him, though!

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