Life is like music; it must be composed by ear, feeling, and instinct, not by rule.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I'm Starting to Feel Like a Runner

After nearly 3 years of dedicated, consistent and regular running (6 days per week for the last 3 years), for the first time, I'm starting to feel like a real runner. Now, I don't know how to define "real" for anyone other than myself but I'm starting to feel like everything is coming together. My form and technique is starting to feel pretty good and my injuries are starting to disappear. I'm starting to float/glide when I run, or at least it feels that way. I'm starting to regularly hit times/paces I never thought I could hit 1-2 years ago.

I started running 3 years ago at age 37 and I would run in the 8-9 min. per mile range. Now, I comfortably run in the 6:15 min. per mile range and can take it to the 5:45 min. pace mile range when I decide to kick in another gear. Of course, this is by no means any type of elite level but for having only been running for 3 years, I'm pretty happy.

I know a big reason for this improvement is working with a running coach and having a weekly running schedule that has meaning. What I mean by "meaning" is that each run has a purpose. For the first time since I started running, I've added weekly speed work with interval and tempo training. I'm activating my fast twitch muscles for the first time. Funny thing is I'm running less miles but because I'm running smarter with purpose, I'm stronger, faster and becoming a better runner.

I use to run 60 miles per week and now I'm down to 40 mile per week and I'm a better runner. I guess, as the late Dr. George Sheehan said, Intensity is more important than Frequency and Duration. This is not to say that Frequency and Duration are not important but its the Intensity training through intervals and tempo runs that have improved my performance including my long runs. I guess Endurance and Duration is interesting because if I can cover the same distance in half the time, I don't necessarily need the same Endurance.

Lastly, my form and technique improves as I increase pace. Some of that is obvious in that cadence increases but it's more than that. All the components improve as my pace increases.
As I look back, I may have attacked this whole running this wrong. I tried to only work on running for as long as I could and become a pure endurance runner instead of working on and mastering short distances then increase duration and endurance. I guess this is why the elite marathons start as 5k and 10k specialists.



  1. I think a lot of people initially approach running incorrectly, which unfortunately, screws them up big time.

    But the bigger problem is some people may never realize that.

  2. Agreed. Running is humbling. It takes patience and time to improve. We keep referencing cultures where they have been running since childhood and never stopped. You can't pick up running later in life and expect to master it quickly. It takes time and acceptance of slow progression.


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