Today was the first time I have run without feeling like the world was caving in around me. I knew that today’s run may be more successful than previous runs for several reasons.
1. The Fat Tuesday 5K I ran on this past week went surprisingly well. It was roughly 17 degrees outside but that had little to no effect on my run time. It was the compression socks I wore that I think I hindered me the most. While easing into the running world, I wore knee length compression socks to soothe some killer shin splints. But now that I run more regularly, I think these are hindering me during runs more than helping. For example, my feet went completely numb during the 5k on Tuesday. I could’ve run the whole thing but I was worried I’d be doing permanent damage to circulation running on numb feet. Per the advice of a fellow runner / ironman, I am going to curb the compression socks to after my runs.
2. I’ve been focusing on turning my brain off when I run. For me, running is 105% mental. Besides shin splints in the beginning, it’s my mind that’s screaming at me during every step of a run. Now I either focus on the television in front of me or constantly repeat mantras to myself while I run. This sounds insane but it actually helps me quite a bit. I’ve gone from tapping out after a mile to refusing to even stop a continuous stretch of running until I hit at least 2 miles.
3. HIIT = High Intensity Interval Training. My trainer, Christina, from The Training Station introduced me to the concept of HIIT. The theory is if you start running by doing intervals it’ll help you increase the distance you can run. This has done WONDERS for me. I started 4 months ago doing HIIT. I would run at a high speed for 2 minutes and briskly walk for 2 minutes, alternating this pattern for about 30 – 40 minutes. Another great way to get your HIIT in is through Tabata workouts. This is a 4 minute variety of HIIT. Something I also started with Christina. It will seriously kick your a$$ no matter how in shape you are. When I find myself slipping out of distance runs, I’ll go back to HIIT to get myself back on track. Seriously folks if you want to start running for distance, start with HIIT.
4. Playlists. I usually listen to DJ mixes when I run. (3LAU, Dante, Kap Slap are the top 3 DJs I jam out to right now) They get me energized to at least hit the start button on the treadmill. However, I’ve found that they almost over energize me as of late. The faster the beat of the music, the faster I feel like I should be running and exert myself. I’ve tried to seriously pick music to run to that is upbeat but not so fast paced I feel like I should be sprinting. This has also helped me to work on keeping pace.
I only got involved with running because it has ALWAYS frustrated me that running is the one thing I can’t seem to master. Kickboxing, BodyPump, stairmaster, ladder drills, and just about anything besides running I can master easily. But running has always been a struggle for me.
Upon watching a documentary about Pete Frates, a young man suffering from ALS, I decided that I was being a loser and should appreciate the fact that I have the ability to teach myself how to run. If you have the time, I highly recommend clicking his name and watching his story. His outlook is inspiring. So much so that it has inspired me to hopefully run a half marathon in October to raise funds for ALS research.
It feels great to have finally broke through the running wall and I hope my runs only continue to get better!