Works for cookies. three things Thursday. running advice

This is kind of an unusual thread considering I haven’t run in a while (at least not regularly). That doesn’t mean I don’t think or read about running, though. I still love the theme, I just don’t feel like doing it right now haha.

Anyway, I thought I’d write down the three best running tips I’ve received. They are invaluable to me.

1. If it seems too hard, slow down.

I thought there was no way I could run. I always skipped the mile in the gym and didn’t play sports at school. I didn’t run a single step until my late 20s.

When I first started running, I couldn’t go very far at all, which was to be expected considering I had never run before. It was just so hard. I couldn’t understand how anyone could run three minutes, let alone MILES at a time. It seemed impossible.

When I told my brother how hard it was, he told me to slow down and he assured me that I would be able to run at least twice as long. He said that even if you run so slowly that you can walk faster, that’s perfectly fine, just go as far as you can and it will get easier. It sounded far away, twice the distance.

Well, here it is. I was able to run a lot farther and wasn’t miserable the whole time either. I ran so slowly that I’m sure the turtle could have beaten me in the race, but I went the distance.

2010 before I discovered sweat wicking clothing. I can remember exactly how a cotton shirt feels when it’s plastered to your skin.

It got a lot easier after that. Now, as a certified running coach, I give this same advice, all the time. Especially with the kids on my cross country team. They make ten billion excuses about why they can’t run, and I just tell them that cross country is all about running, so they should run. However, if it seems too difficult, then just slow down. No stopping. And *all* the kids on the team could run a mile without stopping, just by slowing down.

2. Make your easy runs EASY and your hard runs HARD.

This advice is everywhere. look at any running website, magazine, book, etc. and you’ll see that “easy” running is meant to feel EASY. There are physiological and biological reasons for doing slow runs that I won’t go into, but slow runs are critical to becoming the best runner you can be. And running slowly 80% of the time can make you a faster runner overall. It certainly worked for me. (One book I found very informative on this is 80/20 Running by Matt Fitzgerald.

One thing I do that’s a little different than most running programs is that I suggest walking at interval speed to recover between work, rather than “jogging” – I find that when I walk, I can I recover much faster and then I can run much harder through the speed range. I put everything I have into sprint training, walking recovery laps and I think it makes a big difference in training.

I love how strong and determined I look in this picture, that look was totally fake. Inside I was thinking. “Don’t blink, just look ahead. Hurry up and draw a picture of God. Don’t blink… and go ahead and exhale.” (Just about every race photo I have has my eyes closed, so I decided to keep them open for this one.)

A “middle ground” type of workout would be a threshold (or tempo) run that runs hard (but not a full sprint). Mostly when doing speed work, I run as hard as I can while STILL FINISHING at the same/similar pace. So if I start sprinting for 60 seconds, but can only get to 30 seconds before I feel like I’m going to die (and then my pace drops), that’s too fast. I want to be able to run for the full 60 seconds as fast as I can without slowing down. It takes a few intervals to really get a feel for the right pace (almost always, my first interval is too fast).

3. Every bit counts.

My running has evolved over the years (from existing to non-existent-hahaha) but I remember early on believing that my running wouldn’t “count” if I stopped to pet or say hello to the dog. neighbor or talk to my parents while running by their house, etc.

At the 2015 Detroit Half Marathon, a spectator offered Jerry and I a shot of bourbon.

Later, I also didn’t really “count” the run if it was less than three miles; I have no idea where that number came from or why I chose it, but I’m thinking about going for a two-mile run (well, I didn’t think about it because it wasn’t on my mind at the time).

For a long time I believed that running and walking “didn’t count”. When I got injured and was walking a lot, I realized that it wasn’t necessarily easier than straight running. No matter how hard it is, I still think jogging is absolutely essential. (Jerry and I ran/walked the race in the photo above)

These days, I think everything counts. A short run around the block that includes walking breaks and stopping to tie your shoes. Totally counts. Stop for a Slurpee mid-run before turning around and running home? Absolutely counts. Running with a friend whose pace is much slower? Still counting.

Stopping to retrieve your purple bra from an icy sidewalk, then having to collect your own unwanted underwear all along your route? Definitely counts.

Also, and this should probably be its own category, *nobody cares what your pace and/or race times are*– so don’t compare your run to anyone else’s. It took me a long time to stop caring about my pace, but running was much more enjoyable when I was taking it slow.

And here we go…three running tips that have been passed down that have helped on my own running journey. I think I’m finally starting to feel some running inspiration…

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