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?

 

 

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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.