I don’t race you. I race me.
Oh, wait. Let’s be honest. If you come up out of nowhere and try to pass me at the finish line – the race is on. Just ask my best running buddy. She will tell you that its all fun and games until that moment. A character flaw on my part? Perhaps. But 99% of the miles, it is just between me and whatever crazy goal I have gotten into my head about how fast (or slow, as the case may be) I would like to finish any given race.
Sometime last summer, I was coaxed into running the Publix Savannah Women’s Half Marathon by my buddy, Julie of Run. Walk. REPEAT. Julie is an ambassador for the race and she assured me that there it was a flat and fun course and the race wasn’t until April so I had plenty of time to prepare. She had me at flat. You see, that’s when the “PR POSSIBLE” (that’s personal record, not public relations) fireworks went off in my head! I registered immediately.
Now, here’s the thing. When one decides that they would like to run a race for a personal record, one should train with that PR in mind. Am I right? Or let me rephrase that. One should train. Period.
It’s not like I didn’t train. I just didn’t train enough – far enough, fast enough, enough enough. Something about it being our busiest season at work. Something about taking a 10 day european vacation with my daughter. Something about it being cold. Or rainy. Or the barometric pressure was too high or too low or something. Or something about something. You get the picture.
Long story short. I ran the race. It was indeed a flat and fun course. But all those “somethings” came back to taunt and haunt me while I was out there on that flat and fun course. I would love to blame my virtual collapse at mile 8.5 on the humidity that day (in my defense, it was brutal), but I have no something to blame but myself when I crossed that finish line almost 3 minutes behind my PR rather than 3 minutes ahead of it.
Yet, like every good little runner does, I’ve gotten up. Brushed off my Mizuno Wave’s. Put on my favorite “fast” shorts. And asked Jeff Galloway for some advice on how to run a little faster next time I decide that a PR is in my future…which, let’s be honest, is probably the next race I register for because I am, after all, my own best competitor.
Here’s what Jeff has to say about running faster!
FAST AND FUN—It’s a state of mind
Why is running faster a good thing? Short and fast segments not only help you run faster in races. If you run a few faster segments each week you can improve your running efficiency while receiving a better attitude boost.
How long should you be running before you add some faster running in? After 2-3 months of regular running some short accelerations can be added with minimal risk of aches and pains.
Is it possible that running fast can actually be fun? Yes. The secret is be creative and limit the length of the fast segment at first.
How often should you run fast? Playful speed can be done once or twice a week.
Four Faster, Fun Workouts
1. Speed play that you can do on your own. ACCELERATE AND GLIDE. After an easy 10 minute warmup of slow running, pick up the pace for 10 steps, then coast off the momentum for 10-20 steps. Don’t be obsessed about the number of steps as this is just a guideline. Don’t sprint–be playful. Gradually pick up the pace, and then glide back down to a jog. Repeat 2-3 times on your first attempt, and take a one minute walk break. Each week you could increase the number of accelerations as you wish, with a recommended walk break of 1-2 minutes between each.
1. Speed play you can do with one friend—CHASE game. After an easy 5 minute jog together, one person takes the lead. As the leader changes the pace (speeding up, then slowing down, speeding up) the follower tries to stay close but not pass. After 3-5 minutes, take a 1-2 minute walk break and repeat with the other runner leading. Repeat as many times as desired.
2. Speed play you can do with two friends—SURPRISE game. Following the same format as game 1, the follower tries to surprise the leader by passing gently but quickly. While there should be no sprinting, it is OK to run fast for 10-30 steps to pass.
3. A speed play workout you can do with three or more friends— FOLLOW the LEADER RUNNING. The group is running single file for a minute or two at an easy pace. Then, the last runner, passes all of the other runners and takes the lead for a minute or two. The current leader sets the pace, and takes a walk break. When the running resumes, the last runner starts to move to the front. Each runner gets to take the lead at least once in this game.
*I’m honored to be a part of the Galloway Blogger program. They provide tips for bloggers like me to share. Go check out the Jeff Galloway Official Website and find out more about the man and program that got me running and keeps me going!