Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Improving as a runner

I feel so much better now!  I'm pretty sure the rest of the people in my home do too.  30/#55milesinaugust #motherrunner #marathontraining #halfmarathontraining

As a beginning runner, I think I've paid more attention to what not to do because I have wanted to avoid injury and run consistently.  And while that's fine and good I fell into the trap of not improving much either... at least past being able to run consecutive minutes and miles.

One of the most common pieces of advice given to beginning runners is: if you're out breath, you're running too fast.  Now I get why that makes sense, especially early on, but at some point if you don't push yourself you aren't going to see gains in fitness and performance. 

I took that rule of thumb to heart and outside of some hills and the occasional strides, I've run at a "conversational pace".  I know that doing this has kept me healthy but after talking to a running friend and expressing my frustration; I realized that it's OK to push myself and breathe hard in some of my workouts.

In that same conversation we were talking about breathing and how your warm up can impact your breathing throughout the workout.  Now, I'm not the most patient person so I consider walking for 5 minutes before I run to be close to overkill.  I know.

My friends suggestion was something similar to what she does.  She's not only a great runner, but she is also a smart runner so I was happy to listen.  Here's what her warmup looks like: walking, a light jog, a "break a sweat" jog and THEN beginning the running workout.  She said that this keeps her from warming up too fast or not enough which can lead to labored breathing throughout her workout.  Interesting.

Steve is traveling so I'm stuck on the treadmill. Today was my easy day so I tried warming up how @soultrain21 suggested. What a difference! She's a super smart runner.

Yesterday was my easy day so I tried this strategy.  I walked 5 minutes, jogged 4 minutes, jogged a little faster for 3 minutes and then began running.  Not only was my easy pace faster but my breathing was great the entire time.  I didn't have that "first mile is the toughest" feeling and I finished the workout feeling great.  I'm a believer!

Did it take a little longer to warm up?  Yes.  But did I have a better run?  Yep.  So I've come to realize that reasonably pushing myself after a good warm up is OK and a good thing when I have a tempo run or speedwork assigned for that day's workout.

Sometimes it's the little things that make the biggest differences.


  1. Great tips Jennifer. I'm just starting to push a little harder. Like you, I didn't want to get hurt by pushing too hard, but I want my times to increase.

  2. Thanks! It's amazing how much there is to learn about something that seems as simple as just "running".

    Jennifer :)