The secret to running faster is simple. You must run faster. Idiot. Duh.
However, this is a lot easier said than done. Training your body to enjoy that “I think I’m on the verge of puking and my lungs are about to explode into a colorful array like a pinata and my legs may simultaneously fall off” feeling is not easy. In fact, it’s downright awful. I like being comfortable. I enjoy wearing pajamas at any hour of the day while eating a 2 pound chocolate bar while snuggling up with my heated blanket while watching all the seasons of Gilmore Girls in a row. I hate the uncomfortable unknown.
My goal this season was to become faster. And that meant I had to suck it up, toss my chocolates aside, and buckle down into a zone of being uncomfortable. My short lived running career has been a battle with overcoming this. Case in point, my “Best Times” for a 5K across the years (thanks Athlinks):
- 2005 (as a soccer player that hated long distance running)–24:18 (7:49/mile)
- 2009–24:26 (7:52/mile)
- 2010–23:15 (7:29/mile)
- 2011–22:57 (7:23/mile)
Over this time, I ran 41 5K’s (yes that is disgusting and I don’t want to calculate how much I spent on my semi-expensive hobby) and of those, 14 were >25 minutes, 17 were in the 24’s, 8 were in the 23’s, and 2 were a smidge under 23 minutes. I knew was capable of more. I just hate making things hurt unnecessarily.
But this year, I invested in speedwork. I made it happen every week. I did 1600’s, 1200’s, 800’s, 600’s, 400’s, and 200’s. I fartlek’ed. I tempo’d. I ran fast on the treadmill. I ran fast on trails. I ran fast on the roads. I ran fast when I was running between patients in the clinic. I ran fast in my sleep.
And it paid off. When I looked back across my races this year, I noticed today that I really made steady improvements. Not just with my times, but how I feel about each race when I reflect back upon it. I can honestly say I give a full effort. I don’t hold back anymore.
I have learned to embrace the pain. And embrace wearing compression sleeves. *#&W@^@*($ Calf Strain.