Life is 10% what happens and 90% how you react to it. Running is the outlet which helps you cope with that 10%. Here is where I will share my own experiences as I grow as a runner and as a person, as both are not mutually exclusive. I would love to hear from as many other runners and lovers of life as possible.
my passion. Running is at times my life.I run for fun, mostly I run as training.I run races of different lengths and obviously would train differently
for a 5K than for a marathon.At least,
that’s the way I used to do it.About a
year ago I overtrained for my first marathon and injured my left Achilles tendon
in the process.My body was not used to
the high increase in mileage and by the time I had realized that it was wearing
on me I was only a few weeks out from the Cape Cod Marathon and decided to just
keep going and worry about the impact on my body after the race was over.
soul searching and talking with people I decided that the only way I’d be able
to keep running was if I changed my mechanics.I was a heel striker, meaning that everytime I landed I was jarring my Achilles
and calves.This of course over time
would continue leading to injuries that would likely get worse and probably end
my running life.However, changing ones
stride is easier said than done.
Once I had
sufficiently recovered from my Achilles injury I needed new shoes.It was then that I found out that not only
had I been fitted in shoes a size too small, but I had also been fitted for
stability shoes when, after watching my stride in action, I was told I needed
neutral shoes.I had higher hopes after
getting the proper shoes, Brooks Ghost 5.
I began by
having to train myself to land with a midfoot strike, doing short distances to
make sure that I kept the form.I signed
up in February for the Hyannis Half Marathon with a goal of just finishing
uninjured.My time of 2 hours was less
important compared to the fact that I had completed it with no recurrence of my
Achilles injury and had kept my newly formed running stride intact.I decided to go harder for the Johnny Kelley
Half Memorial Day weekend.It was at
this time that I stumbled upon a training program that changed my running life.
some big secret, just something that worked for me.Essentially I would run as far as I could as
fast as I could.When I was gassed out I
was done, simple as that.I believe it’s
known as Tempo Running, or at least that’s what it’s akin to.It wasn’t that I was trying to get my runs
over with as fast as possible, it was more that the runners in my family had
said I was built more for speed and that distance training was sort of going
against the genetic grain.That was
music to my ears; honestly I did not like distance training, 20+ mile runs and
the toll they took wore me out mentally as much as physically.
At first I
was only able to go 3-4 miles but I kept my midfoot stride going and pushed a
little further each time.I began to
notice my pace dipping while the distances grew.By the time the Johnny Kelley Half came
around I was pulling a 7:30 pace for 7-8 miles.My idea with this type of training was if I could go as hard as I could
for 7-8 miles I’d surely be able to do maybe 80% of that for 13.1.
worked perfectly.I ran the Johnny
Kelley Half in a few ticks under 1:48, breaking my personal best in the half by
7 minutes, and finishing 12 minutes ahead of my pace at the Hyannis Half just 3
Was it a fluke?I’d have to wait until October and the Harwich
Half to find out.In between those races
I kept on doing my ‘going all out’ runs nonstop.I eventually was able to go 10 miles carrying
a 7:10-7:20 pace, the speed training felt like it was making everything click.
My next goal was a sub-20 5K.I took a shot in Bristol, Rhode Island in
June.Unbeknownst to me the 5K was a
trail race with stumps, rocks, and sharp turns on paths.I had never run a trail race and was not familiar
with the trails at Colt State Park.Still when the gun sounded I went all out.My feet pounded on the stumps and rocks but I
pulled off a 20:32/6:37 pace, close but no cigar.
Only a few
weeks later I signed up for the Cotuit Firecracker 5K which was on streets I
was familiar with.This time I was not
denied.I was ready to pass out and gave
everything I had but crossed the finish line in 19:47, I had achieved a major
running goal.I owe it all to the speed
training.Still, the true test of
whether the speed training worked for longer distances was still to come with
the Harwich Half.
I went into
this race only wanting to break my PR of 1:48 nothing more, just keep moving in
the right direction.I started faster
than I wanted to but held a 7:20 pace through 9 miles, it was then that I
realized I could theoretically speed walk to the end and set a PR.The only thing that went wrong during this
race was my calves tightening up around Mile 11.I had to slow down some but it was no big
deal with the cushion I had created.I
crossed the finish line in 1:41, topping my previous PR by over 6 minutes, amazing
myself in the process.I could not
believe I had that in me and I owe it all to the speed training.
completing the Cape Cod Half Marathon Trilogy in 2013 I feel like as long as I
keep training this way that there’s no telling how low these times might
go.Maybe this type of training isn’t
for everyone, maybe it’s a bit unconventional.All I have are the concrete numbers from my races to show that it works
my fellow runners? Do you have any training methods that are seen as
unconventional?How did you start
training that way?What effect did they
have on your races?