Dear Runner Lovers,

Today, I was thinking about how the advice my cross country gave me is still valid for my marathon training.  One thing he said that is very true is, if you want to run faster in a race you need to train faster.  Even though it sounds so simple, this is always important to keep in mind, because being in good shape is not enough to get to the next level of speed.  It's pushing yourself just a little bit more.  If you run 10 eight minute miles in practice, that is what you will race.  If you run 10 six minute miles in practice that is what you will race.  This concept has been very true for me personally. I also loved my coach saying that in running, everything is on paper, you are either the fastest or you are not, everyone starts in the same place and has the opportunity to finish in the same place or win.  It is so true, which makes you feel differently than when you play a sport like soccer, because in running you are in control of your playing time or place.  No one can take your time away from you, you deserve it.  Take pride in every mile you run!

Another thing he always said was not to run with headphones in or wear a stopwatch in a race.  He wanted all of us to focus on racing the race and the time would come in time.  Then, he felt like headphones were a distraction and safety concern.  I feel like I need my stopwatch for a full marathon because there are just so many miles to keep track of, but I have done half marathons without a stopwatch and focused on the race.  I actually ran my best half-marathon time without a stopwatch, focused just on placement the entire race and placed top 3. :D

Whenever I am in a speed workout, not 20 miler on a weekend, I like to ditch the headphones but keep my stopwatch.  I know that if I have headphones it will add on time, whether it is a second or three minutes, I need to focus on just my legs moving and my watch.  I like to run in very familiar areas so I know where every mile mark is without my Garmin, and I am not in a new location throwing myself at a risky pace.  You do not even need a Garmin, I think I was just as fast with my $20 Target stopwatch. Running does not have to be super fancy, a newer stopwatch or brighter shoes does not make someone have a better status athletically.  I love setting a goal time for each mile mark, and looking at my stopwatch while making my legs get there in the time I want. Looking at those seconds go by and making my legs get there, sometimes it feels like magic.   Something is special about getting in that zone that makes me feel exhilarated.  At the same time, its important to have days you are not setting need for speed goals. 

It's funny how much coaches you have when you are younger, really influence the way you run later on.  My stride has literally not changed since I was fifteen and my coach was teaching our team how to run the right way.  Another great thing about my coach, is he taught all us girls how to do hills correctly. Thank god, because that came in handy this year doing the Mount Desert Island Marathon.  I would not have finished if I had not been taught how to run up and down all the crazy ginormous hills, in my small NY town all those years.  I am lucky I always had good cross-country coaches from middle-school on and lots of hills.  Sometimes you need to look back on those times your coach said that you run like a tiger!  Everything starts early and then you build on it!

Has your stride changed since you were fifteen?!

I hope everyone is doing well! I think all of you Runner Lovers run like tigers! :D

Happy Running!

That Pretty Runner

I ran 5 miles to this gorgeous place today!