Runners are a funny bunch. I recently found myself thinking about rituals that have come and gone during my time as a runner and some of them make me scratch my head.
- There was a time when I would not run if I didn’t have “Quench” gum to chew. I was convinced that I could not run without it! This habit quickly changed after I started consistently running longer distances. Gum doesn’t taste good after 5 miles. LOL
- Another crutch was music. Music was bad for me. My cadence and pace were too affected by the beat of the music, which generally had me running too fast. I ditched the music for good early this year and I haven’t missed it at all! In fact, it has helped me become more in tune with what is going on in my body during the run. I am more aware of changes in terrain, pace, heart rate, breathing, and most importantly – any signals that my body gives me about things being “off”. Now if I could just learn to act on these signals quickly enough… Never say never, but I can’t see myself ever running with music again.
- Even though when I started running I ran on my own, I ended up with a partner when I was a fairly new runner. I came to depend on her for all things running. When the time came for us to part ways, I wasn’t sure that I could do it without her….I didn’t think I could manage mentally without her by my side. Sometimes I miss having another person out there with me on the road, but I wouldn’t trade the solo experience for anything. I proved that I can rely on myself and push through whatever comes my way. And that is empowering.
- Compressions. If you had told me 5 years ago that I would go to Wal-Mart post-run in my compression shorts, I would have labeled you a crazy person. NEVER did I ever think I would have a reason to wear compressions. Let’s just say once you cross over to compressions, you never go back! LOL
- Believe it or not, there was a time when I had NO idea that chafing could (or would) actually occur! Vaseline has become one of my best friends on the long run.
- Negative splits: I was once under the misguided reasoning that ALL runs needed to be run in negative splits. That’s a terrible way to train and I paid for it dearly.
- Distance versus timed runs: I only recently began running timed runs. Not always running a specific mileage has actually been freeing. When I ran for distance, I would not have been able to stop my GPS at 4.98 miles….that would have sent my OCD into overdrive! My run log isn’t as ‘well-rounded’, but I have found that I now focus more on the purpose of the run rather than details that won’t ultimately improve my fitness.
Ready for St. Louis!
If you had told me 3 weeks ago I would be feeling as healthy as I feel today, I would have attempted to have you committed. My heel – actually my entire foot – felt terrible. It took a full week after Plano before I could get through the day without pain. I could not see myself being able to run 13.1 miles, much less attempting to run it competitively. I am still not supposed to try to compete as much as I am to focus on my heart rate zones. My focus has to remain on Dallas Marathon, which is now less than 2 months away. I don’t have time for another setback!
I have known for sometime that my Newtons needed to go, but I hoped that by strengthening my calves and ankles I would be able to rehab the problem without changing shoes.
This week, at the suggestion of my new coach, I started running in On Running shoes. They. Are. Ahhhhhmazing! They are sooooo good for my feet! I am running in the Clouds and they are very lightweight. You almost feel as though you aren’t even wearing shoes! The thing that sold me, though, was the ease of my foot strike in them. I wore them on Monday to test them out and things felt pretty good. I wore them last night on my Fartlek workout and I am really hooked! NO heel issues whatsoever, during or after. (Imagine me dancing and singing, “I’m So Excited”)
All in all, I’m feeling strong going into this weekend, and I am beyond thankful for it!