Ive been studying exercise physiology and fitness for…umm…a long time now. And Im about to share with you the secret to running fast! Are you ready???
I know, its crazy!
Ok, ok, Im definitely oversimplifying this here. There truly is a science to to applying training principles in a very systematic way in order for someone to try to run their fastest race at a specific time of year.
So really my point is that in order to start running faster you have to train at a faster pace than you are used to. This can happen in many different forms: running with someone faster than you who will push your pace throughout the entire run, doing intervals (on the track, treadmill, road, etc), or racing.
Basically, the goal is to get out of your comfort zone. In order to make improvements in any area of fitness (speed, endurance, strength, power, etc) you have to work harder than you need to. If you just keep running the same distance and the same pace, you aren’t going to get any faster. Trust me, Ive tried it and it doesn’t work.
Since my goal this summer is to “get back in running shape” which Im defining as PRing in the 5k and/or 10k, I need to practice running fast. My goal is to have one tough run a week…either intervals on the treadmill, running with someone faster than me, or a race. You can’t run hard all the time, but you need to kick your own ass occasionally to see improvement!
So this Saturday I decided to practice what I preach and did another local 5k. My time is still about 1:30 slower than Im shooting for, but I was faster than 2 weeks ago.
It was a beautiful day for a 5k…
…minus the heat and humidity that finally arrived in Northwest PA (here is my red-faced sweaty selfie after the race)
And while Im not as close to my PR as I want to be, Im pretty happy with my progress when I reflect on my running over the past 6 months. Which either sucked or was nonexistent, compliments of my IT band and sprained back. However, I DID have a new first at the race yesterday:
This was the first time I have ever placed overall for women!
Now, Im almost embarrassed to tell people about this, because my time wasn’t anything to brag about, and it was a pretty small race with not too much competition (obviously, since my less than impressive time got third). But I Im just proud of my effort. I made it my goal to pass as many women as possible, and since it was an out-and-back race I was able to judge my place. After a mile into the run I made it my goal to place as high as possible. So at the turnaround I passed the 3rd place girl, and managed to hold her off for the rest of the race.
So I guess the take-home message is this: run faster in training to run faster in a race, and little by little its possible to improve! Now I just have to see what the next few months bring! Keep your fingers crossed I stay healthy 🙂