Running Through a Fulfilled Life

A Little Speed Goes a Long Way


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.

Who is this girl that knows how to run a 3:15 800? What have you done with the real Eli?

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.

The face of a person confused if they should be running a 5K or vomiting while the super fast Matt Folk acts not impressed.

 I have learned to embrace the pain.  And embrace wearing compression sleeves.  *#&W@^@*($ Calf Strain.

I was going for the look of a “running bruise” today

Happy Running!


2 thoughts on “A Little Speed Goes a Long Way

  1. If you want to run fast, you gotta train fast. Thats what I told myself this year and did speed work. I got faster, but I still feel slow as snails though. As the super fast runner you are, do you think it is possible for a once 12 minute mile runner who is now a 10 minute mile runner to ever become an 8 minute mile runner? Or is it possible my body is just not made for it. I’m starting to think I’m not made for it. You’re a speed demon… oh yeah, and the bomb.

    • i think alot of our running potential maxes out at genetics, but i do think there is a whole lot of untapped potential in nearly everybody. if you continue to notice improvement, you havent hit your max yet. it is just how badly you want to reach that untapped potential that determines if you get there. i believe you could do it! if you would have asked me 2 years ago to run a 6 something mile i would have probably rolled on the ground laughing…and now i can actually do it!

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