Thursday, May 22, 2008

Stay on target! Stay on target!

I missed a day of running this week due to a cold, which I think is my first missed day due to illness this year. The other few days off have been while I was recovering from long runs and my body needed some extra rest. This doesn't mean I run 7 days a week or anything. No, just 3 days right now. I like the hard/easy, stress/rest formula. It's working. Should I add some cross training? No doubt....

This is a challenging time of year for me, though. In the past I've made New Year's resolutions, done more running in the winter, and gotten injured and/or otherwise fallen off the wagon by May.

How do I avoid that this year? How does anyone stay motivated, stay on target?

Here are a few of my suggestions (in no particular order):
1. Use a running journal (or equivalent) to track your progress, see what's working and what isn't.
2. have a goal race/event/distance on which to focus (for me, half-marathon right now, but not a specific race...thanks for those who have reminded me of the importance of a goal event).
3. stay in the habit by running at the same time each day/week and making this part of your lifestyle.

One thing that hurt me in the past was not having a specific time to run. Now, I'm a morning runner. For more on reasons to run in the morning, visit 6 a.m. Running. Doesn't matter if you run at 5 am, 6 am, 7 am, etc. This is also a great place to go for beginning running tips and inspiration.

4. run with someone else.

This is another area I've neglected to my detriment. I'm a bit of an introvert, and pretty happy doing my solo trail runs on a regular basis. On the other hand, it's boring to run around my neighborhood by myself every week (my non-trail days). Running with someone else is easier and often more fun. And, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to determine that my fastest times all occurred when I was part of a team, running 6 days a week with others.

I'm happy to report that this morning, for the second straight week, I ran a few miles with people from my local runners' club who meet almost every morning at the YMCA. I had avoided joining them before because I was not a morning runner, and 5 am sounded downright scary. You know what? It's all what you're used to, and human beings can get used to quite a bit. How does anyone run a marathon? We're adaptable creatures.

Everyone was very nice. I had also been concerned that my returning-to-running tortoise pace would leave me way behind everyone. Not so. The group (and I bet this is quite likely true for your area too, dear reader) has people with a range of running paces, and they are willing to take turns running with someone new. (Thanks everybody! See you next week!)

5. variety - not only the spice of life, but of running. Vary your routes, terrain, distances and speed. If your running is boring, make a change.

Your thoughts? If you've gotten to the point where completing 4-6 miles or more nonstop is doable, what are your tips for keeping things going in the right direction?

1 comment:

David said...

Sounds to me like you have it down pretty good. We have the OUC Half here in Orlando first weekend of December. That's a ways off but somthing to shoot for.
Stick with the runners club. The social and peer pressure elements are key to my regular running (on the weekend long run). Weekdays, I go at my own pace and vary the route. Always works.