Friday, 26 June 2015

Ten years; five lessons

Ten years ago I was a completely different runner.  My passion levels were just about the same (and hopefully they'll stay that way until I'm 100!), but when it comes down to the nitty gritty, I've definitely learnt a few tricks and lessons that have changed my running for the better.  Ready?

1.  Challenge those mental blocks.

Ten years ago I had a huge mental block when it came to running longer distances.  Although I really, really wanted to run a half-marathon, I somehow convinced myself that it was just too far and that I'd never be able to run further than 10 km.  I even entered a few half-marathons, but never had the courage to actually toe the starting line.  Until one day: I was sick of my self-doubt and blindly took the plunge.  I prepared as best I could (and made every rookie mistake in the book!) and completed my first half-marathon in a very slow 02:40.  Although that race was a prime example of how not to run a half-marathon, it taught me a string of lessons and gave me the courage to try again.  I've since run six more half-marathons (and a marathon!) and chiseled almost 50 minutes off my PB...  Just do it!


Taken during my first half back in 2009.
       
2.  Tempo, tempo, tempo!

I'm faster now, at 38, than I was ten years ago at 28.  Why?  Regular tempo runs.  They're hard work, and I used to shun them as a result, but man they help with building speed.  So if you're trying to get faster, and you've been running consistently for a while, try incorporating regular tempo work into your running routine - it works.  [And a tip for getting it done relatively painlessly?  Do it with a running group.  I find that somehow running with others takes (some of) the sting out of doing tempo work.]  

Tempo runs for the win!

3.  Live your dream.

Even though I've always dreamt of running the world, ten years ago I haven't done a single international run.  Not one.  I had a classic case of "what if I need this money for something else later...?".  And then, one day, it hit me: What if later never comes?  So I saved up, closed my eyes, and entered the Walt Disney World Half.  [Note that I'm not saying to carelessly splash around money that you don't have - I saved enough cash for the trip by cutting out things I didn't need].  And the rest, as they say, is history.  I had the trip of a lifetime, and have since done three other international races.  Living your dream is so not overrated!   


Live your dream!

4.  Mix things up.

One thing I was good at ten years ago and stink at now, is cross- and strength training.  Ten years ago I religiously did at least one or two bootcamp or other strength training sessions every week, and I was strong.  Sure, I run around pushing 40 or 50 kg in the form of Miss K and Baby J in the double stroller these days, but it's obviously not as focused or targeted as a formal strength training plan.  I need to get back into that.   


Get strong!

5.  Get a crew.

Being on the quiet and reserved side, it took me years to pluck up enough courage to join and actively participate in a running club.  Ten years ago I did most of my runs solo, and boy, did it get lonely.  For me the quest to find the perfect running club was a long and sometimes frustrating one, but I'm so glad I got it done.  Hooray for fellow runnerds!   


My new crew.


Thanks to the lovely ladies from Eat Pray Run DCYou Signed up for What? and Mar on the Run for the opportunity to share these running lessons as part of their Friday Five link-up!  

       

21 comments:

  1. Finding my running crew was one of the best things I've done in the last few years myself! Nice to find your blog looking forward to connecting with you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hooray for running crews, right? :)

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Deborah! Looking forward to following your journey too!

      Delete
  2. Love running with my club :) it's so much nicer than being on your own.
    I need to do more tempo runs!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, Jeanette - I love running with my club too. We all just "get" it and each other - I love it!

      Delete
  3. I love this... "Living your dream is so not overrated!" SO true in many ways!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't it, Mar? Work for it, save for it, DO it!!

      Delete
  4. I dunno, I've been running a while & doing tempo runs - I'm not much faster. Maybe someday.

    Pushing a stroller & running - that's definitely a workout!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I keep my tempo runs shortish for now (+-4 km), and run them slightly faster than my 10 km race pace. And I do them once a week. They've definitely improved my race times up to the half-marathon!

      Delete
  5. Replies
    1. Yebo! Nothing like being surrounded by a group of fellow runnerds, right?! :)

      Delete
  6. I love your take on this week, with the lessons learned. All great points.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I used to be much better about cross training than I am now. I really need to get back in the habit too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Having recently had two kids also made me skimp on the cross training lately... I need to get more creative!

      Delete
  8. You have come a long way since being nervous for your first half. I didn't know that story, but I'm so glad you shared! I think I was the same way with the marathon. Initially, it was put off because I got injured while training for one, then I just became too scared to do one out of the fear of failing miserably. Now, I'm nervous even though it's not until February, but more excited to finally take on the challenge :) And I love that you and Will arm wrestle haha! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. Haha - and of course Will always wins by a mile! :)

      I really had this ridiculous mental block about moving from 10 km to 21.1 km - FOR YEARS. SO glad I finally took the leap and now, of course, I have no idea why on earth I was so afraid!

      Delete
  9. My first half marathon was also a great example of how not to run a half marathon! This was a fun read. Great job getting to your international races.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At least we both learned from our first halfs, right?? ;)

      Thanks, Christy - itching to do many more international runs!

      Delete
  10. Great lessons! I really need to get better at doing all my tempo runs. I'm so laaaazy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They used to not be my favourite too, Lisa, but now that I do them with my new running club every week, they're more bearable. And they work!

      Delete

I love hearing from you!