Most of the time when someone signs up to work with us, they want to run faster. They have a goal in mind, they want a new PR or to break a new barrier on the clock.
A common theme we run into is people being nervous about running the slower paces we prescribe on their easy days… and the even easier paces prescribed for their recovery days. During any given season, we coach around 10 individuals and I’d guess that 8 out of 10 of them this issue will come up.
While I was out on a walk with Cadence yesterday I was thinking about the topic a lot and came up with a little list on how to ultimately RUN FASTER. Hey- it was almost like I was out for a run. (I usually come up with my favorite things to write about when I’m running- 2.5 weeks of recovery left!)
1. Learn Control.
Control your training early on in the cycle. Be smart and don’t jump into paces you want to be at at the END of your cycle. This will likely lead to injury and or burn out. It doesn’t mean you won’t get there, but don’t try to start there.
Learning control also means, controlling your paces early on in your workouts so you can complete the workout at the desired pace. Sure starting the workout at desired pace is simple, but don’t start at the fast end of the pace range. Start at the slower end and make it your goal to finish at the fast end. It takes control to do that and practicing will also help you on race day when you have to control the first half of the race.
(Below is a picture of me demonstrating control during a race. This marathon was significant for me because it was five months post baby and one month after I ran a marathon and went out way to hard. During this race, my goal was to control the first half and negative split the crap out of it. This was also a big control lesson in my training. I wanted a big PR badly and I knew I was going to be strong enough for one, but I wasn’t ready for it yet and I had to teach myself that control in discipline both in training and in the race… it worked)
2. Stop running when you’re Injured.
Running through an injury…. stop doing it. Taking time off now will help you later. If you don’t address the issue, you will be in a vicious cycle always trying to recover and never quite getting there. Sometimes this takes 1 week, sometime it takes 3 months, but you gotta do it. Period.
3. Be tough when it Matters.
Stop trying to prove it in workouts. Posting up a workout that is faster than paces you’re scheduled to run might make you feel like a badass now, but what’s the end goal? Isn’t it the race? Be tough on race day. Be extraordinary when the gun goes off until you cross the finish line. The workouts are your stepping stones- they will hurt sometimes and you’ll have to work hard, but dude, really don’t race your workouts.
THIS. THIS. THIS. Stop being scared to run your easy days easy and your recovery days at recovery pace. It is so important that the majority of your miles come from this if you’re running a half marathon or a marathon. You need this endurance and if you are constantly pounding out hard miles, you’ll never feel recovered enough to truly slay the hard workouts and ultimately your body won’t be ready for the race.
5. Embrace the Hurt.
When it’s time to race. Look at your training. Do the math. Is the work there? If so, embrace the hurt. If you trained smart, your plan will work, but it will also likely hurt plenty during the race. You should be ready for that at this point though. Embrace it. Smile about the work you’ve put in and how it’s going to get you to the finish line in the time you want. Getting faster means working harder and dealing with the pain. (not injury pain, but I’m basically saying suck it up and don’t be a baby) It will be worth it. I promise.
Ok one more?
6. Stop Doubting.
I don’t really have anything to say about this one, but felt like it deserved it’s own number. Stop doing that. Trust you training and don’t doubt yourself on race day. If it’s there, it’s there.
Ok, let’s all go run slower and faster now!