Finding Inspiration From Others’ Success

Yesterday, a friend of mine became an Ironman. ¬†What a huge accomplishment! ¬†The thought of swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles, and then running 26.2 blows my mind. ¬†Just running a marathon is a big deal to me, and I my mind can’t process the other two sports. ¬†I’m proud of my week if I manage to spend an hour on my stationary bike for cross training.

But back to my friend. ¬†This is a goal she has been working a year to complete. ¬†We keep up with each other’s training, so I know how time consuming it has been. ¬†She is a mom of three. ¬†She sometimes coaches their sports, and she works outside of the home. ¬†I can’t imagine what it must have felt like to cross that finish line.

I am so proud of what she has done with her goals, but I could make myself feel inferior with what I have accomplished in my goals. ¬†I only run, after all. ¬†But you know what? ¬†Those are¬†my¬†goals. ¬†I am sure there are people who could feel the same way if they compared their running to someone else’s.

I have different background and future plans. ¬†There are other factors that affect my training. ¬†I’m glad to participate in an individual sport. ¬†Emphasis on individual. ¬†My friend’s accomplishment has inspired me to push hard in my own goals. ¬†As it should.

You can do that too. ¬†No matter what your goals are, even if just to get up and move off of the couch, go for a walk, or lose a few pounds. ¬†Let someone’s achievement be the motivation to move you.

Final thought:  Who has inspired you to move lately?

 

 

Pacing

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about running, it is the importance of a pacing plan. ¬†I have found in my last two years of running that I can unexpectedly fall apart somewhere past the middle of a race. ¬†Well, maybe the term “fall apart” is a little dramatic, but I have had several races where my per mile pace went up along with the mileage. ¬†After my first marathon, I discovered the longer a race, the more my time slowed. ¬†I thought, I could walk faster than this. ¬†Goal times vanish, and I will beat myself up about it after. ¬†But then after I’ve had time to stew, I always try to figure out what went wrong.

Sometimes it was the result of going out too fast for the distance, then running out of gas. ¬†Other times, I’ve thought myself invincible to the weather elements. ¬†Mostly the heat. ¬†But I’ve also had wind, rain, and humidity bring me down. ¬†When I learned how to fuel better a ¬†few days before the race, I had better performance. ¬†But I still needed to figure out how to keep from slowing so much in the half and full marathon distances.

When I first started running, my pace was pretty even. ¬†I was able to run pretty much the same per mile pace all the way through. ¬†That’s easier to do I guess, when you’re running three miles. ¬†But even with my first half marathon – when I really had no idea what to expect – my mile times were consistent. ¬†After that, I started running with a GPS and checking my pace. ¬†I started to notice my pace slipping on long runs. ¬†Was I relying too much on the GPS, or was it a natural result?

I decided it was time to fix the problem, and then I started seeing more information about running negative splits.  Or how to train with long runs to combine speed.  I love how things work out that way.  I began to focus a few long runs on speeding up in the last fourth of the run.  For example, if I planned to run 12 miles, I would run the first 8 at a slower pace, then move the last 4 to be on my goal pace.

What did I find by putting this into practice? ¬†The first time, my legs were sore and tired. ¬†I was dragging. ¬†But it felt good knowing my legs could run the goal pace even though they were tired. ¬†Now, after several months of doing this in training and races, I’ve found that my pace on a long run naturally goes down as the mileage goes up. ¬†I guess my legs are accustomed to it now.

It’s a good feeling.

How do you manage pacing?

My Favorite Tips for Running in the Heat

It’s the beginning of July, and if you’re in Texas you’re guaranteed one thing. ¬†Heat. ¬†Not the “maybe I’ll break a sweat” heat, but it’s the “bring two towels because I’ll be drenched¬†from sweat” kind of heat.

The temperatures are steadily creeping higher (earlier), so I’m thankful the kids are out of school right now. ¬†I’ve been able to start my runs early. ¬†Some mornings the humidity is awful, and my clothes are soaked. ¬†I have increased what I bring¬†to drink and try to remember to have¬† a supply of towels in the car.

What do I like best about these early morning runs?  

First, the obvious. ¬†It is the coolest part of the day. ¬†By starting earlier, I have been able to get more done each day. ¬†I also discovered a whole new crowd at the park to say “good morning” to. ¬†I was surprised at the number of people I saw so early, but I guess¬†if the temps forced me there early, it would be that way for others.

There is a lot of information right now on staying cool in the heat, so I won’t spend¬†time rehashing it here. ¬†Basically,¬†be smart, slow down, and hydrate.

But here are two tips I want to pass on that are very important to me:

1. Shower often 

2.  Launder frequently

My nine year-old greeted me after a run one day last week holding her nose. “P.U.¬† Mommy!¬† You’re really stinky!”

Never underestimate truth from a child.