This is a mantra that I have heard repeated time and time again. If you want to improve your running times & ability – “run often, mostly easy, sometimes hard.”
Last year – I followed this rule of thumb very well, and saw my 1/2 marathon time drop from a 2:04 to a 1:36. I was incredibly pleased with that. My personal best 10K time (a couple years ago) is a 47:47. I just beat that – ON A TRAINING RUN! When you factor in all the variables, I crushed the 47:47.
First you must know – that I set that 47:47 time back in the day’s when I struggled to run sub 9:00 min miles in training. I’m pretty sure that it was all adrenaline. Also – that time eventually led me to get injured, because I did not know how to train properly, and after that “blistering” time – I thought “I’m going to try to go sub 7:00 min miles!” Fresh off y excitement of the best race of my life (since discovering running at 39 years old) – I went out that week and ran way more often, and a lot faster. That’s the worst thing you can do – especially when you are 40 years old!. Lesson learned.
I have since been running much more regularly – but the last few months have been a bit sporadic. I decided that after the new year (not a resolution, as I don’t believe in making New Years resolutions) – I was going to start another run streak. I ran 12 days straight – then had my streak interrupted by a major snow storm (which forced me to go to the mountains and ski for 2 days – I would totally run in the snow!) 🙂
I took the Monday after that weekend of skiing – and did nothing as I was sore – then promptly resumed my running. I have a rule that I won’t run any less than 3 miles on any run. Most runs are 3-4 miles…I sprinkle in some that are between 5 and 7 miles.
3 days ago, I started doing an exercise program called the “Daily Burn.” This is an Insanity / P90X style workout program. I am doing this because I want to add a little bulk, and really want the abs to start showing. I am doing the Daily Burn in addition to my running.
I was very sore today (mostly in the glutes and the hamstrings) so I decided that my run would be a normal 3 mile – easy run. For me, easy is about an 8:30 per mile pace.
I started my run (which is always uphill at the beginning) and right away I told myself that I was going to run 6 miles as I’ve ran to many 3 mile days in a row now and I wanted to mix it up. I hit Mile 1 and my split was 7:46!!! WTF? I’m sore – I’ve been working out like crazy! Where the heck did that come from? I didn’t even feel like I was working hard!
I kept up my stride and my cadence – and the 2nd mile was a 7:26 (not unexpected as the 2nd mile is more flat land and rolling hills – not as much up hill as mile 1 – and my legs were warmed up by then.) Miles 3 and 4 came it at under 7:30 and mile 5 (which had a good little uphill stretch) came in at 7:32. Mile 6, which is mostly flat was a blistering 7:20.
I finished, on a hilly route and very sore hamstrings and glutes, 6.2 miles in 46:37 ! (I ran the extra .2 on purpose, to make it 10K.) When you factor in the fact I was sore, this route was hilly, and it was cold outside – I absolutely crushed my personal best 10K time! This was the kind of run that gets the endorphin’s going. I was high as a kite as I finished tonight’s run, and I can’t wait until my next 10K race.
When was your last endorphin boosting run?