when you get, give – Maya Angelou
Since the time I started to run with my running group, I have learnt few key things that helped shape my running and recovery and here are those 5 tips! There is a lot more to running and technique and form, that I am still trying to figure out, but these 5 tips helped a lot as a beginner no-vice runners! I did manage to run a 5 min PR after adopting these tips.(went from 1:47 to 1:42 half)
1. Breath Right
I never used to focus on my breathing that much, and always had trouble keeping up with my pace during up hills, and surprisingly enough downhills as well. During one of our group runs, Lilian Bertram who I usually run with saw me struggle with my breathing and told me to inhale through nose and exhale through mouth, and exhale fast. It was an aha moment for me. It helped with my breathing since. Now I go for two inhales through nose , and a fast exhale through mouth. I learnt to belly breath which helps me suffer less, as the distance gets longer and pace gets faster. I am long way from my goal pace, but I am sure this technique has already helping me keep up with my training runs.
2. Tempo Run to a PR
I used to train at 8:30 pace all the time, and always thought I would find speed during a race. However, I was kind of stuck with 1:50 and 1:48 for half marathons for a while. Mike Bertram offered to pace me one day during our snail’s pace, at 7:30. I ran a whole 5 mile at 7:30 pace which was my first ever tempo run! Sure enough, the following half marathon race in Riverside, I finished with a 1:42, my first ever sub 8 pace(7:47). Now I try to incorporate at least one tempo like run at race pace during the week
3. Believe in Rest Days and Comfortable Training Pace
I used to think I have to log specific number of miles every day, and try to run every run as fast I can possibly run! I tried to follow this self-taught logic which kind of made sense to me but left me with injuries all the time. Sandra Wendler, took the time to explain, why I should rest when my body tells me to rest, and why I should dial down my training pace slower by at least 30 seconds or so and keep it comfortable. Now I make it a point to rest enough, and surprisingly my time has gotten faster, following rest days. I have consistently been running 1:40 times for my half marathons, and I attribute that to sufficient rest days. My easy pace training runs, now leaves me injury free to some extent, where I have consistently logged long runs on weekends last two months. Trying to do more miles, and all of them being fast, burns the candle on both ends, and it’s dangerous!
4. Warm ups are Must for a race
I have read numerous articles and advises about warm ups prior to a run or race, but I never used to warm up before my races. I was the one who showed up to the race, and started running when the race started, and struggled at mile 1! I used to look for water stations right into 4 mins of the race. I was terrible. When I did the Lexus Laceup Riverside Half Marathon in Riverside, last year, we had to park at least a mile and a half away from the start line, as the race was at a park with no parking. My boyfriend and I kind of got lost trying to find the way to get to the race start place, so ended up walking close to 2 miles to get to the race. We got there right close to the race start time, and surprisingly, I had so much energy as we started at mile 1. That was one of my fastest first few miles time ever. Later when I reviewed my race logs, I realized, the 2 mile walk helped with a comfortable start, where I felt at ease at first few miles. Since then I take the time to do at least 15 min jog prior to a race. It’s helping me a lot! The reason behind why warm ups help with better race start experience, as I learnt through others, is that, the first mile is always the worst, and get it out of that before your race starts, so you are ready to go with your best miles for the race. First mile run is when your body prepares itself for rest of the run. To quote smart people “You should never expect anything good from your first mile. It will either be slow, or feel awful, or both. But during that first mile, your muscles are transitioning to a more efficient way of working. The slow, stiff, cold, doubtful first mile paves the way for the smooth, easy, strong miles to follow.” (http://vitals.lifehacker.com/the-first-mile-always-sucks-let-it-go-1752457839)
5. Race Pace is what you are willing to Endure
My friend Anthony told me this. Training hard, and running the pace you run is decided by strength in muscle/lungs, and technique, but at the end of the day the race pace is what you are willing to endure! It hurts regardless. a 9:00 pacer is hurting as much as a 5:30 pacer, however, how far we are willing to endure discomfort, decides our final race pace! Since then I have that talk in my head, on what I want to endure. There are times, when I feel like I have a 7:30 and my body tells me it only got 7:50, I could convince to endure for a 7:40 pace and meet in the middle. Also, Anthony also helped me with an insight that I won’t be running my PR all the time. Its such a relief. We kill ourselves to live up to a PR at every race, but not every day is the same. I have had perfect race day where my legs felt fresh, and the day was nicer and cold, and the energy was great. And I also had races where I felt totally lost in my head, and weak in my legs. Each day is different, and when we race we find our best for that day given what we have. It helped me become very realistic with my race goals!