Sunday, August 25, 2013

I'm a (real) Runner (again)

Hey folks, I'm a real runner again! Just thought you'd like to know.

Ever since last summer, I haven't really run well. I trained for a 100-mile race (and rocked that race in under 24 hours), but I just plodded along through the fall, winter, and spring. After the April hundred, I recovered, and proceeded to train for the August Howl at the Moon 8-hour race. With summer weather, my training again fell into "slogging" through my runs. No real goals, no real fun. I sort of hoped for the best, but knew things were not going that well. I didn't log that many miles, and most of those miles were pretty slow. I didn't feel like a runner. I felt like a jogger, walker, hiker...anything except a runner.

Now that the Howl race is over...and I managed 41 miles in 8 hours...good for 33rd place out of 300 starters...I have a new running philosophy. I just run. I run when and how I want. I take days off. I don't set any goals. I have no alarms on my watch. I might run fast, I might run slow. I'll sometimes run long, other times short. Roads? Tracks? Maybe. Most likely trails...because those feel better. I want my running to feel good and be enjoyable.

I've only been running like this for about 2 weeks, but I already feel like I'm a new runner again! I'm running easy, but the pace is faster. I'm enjoying EVERY SINGLE RUN. I'm really impressed with how my pace has picked up without extra effort. In fact, I think in the past, it was HARDER to force myself to run SLOWLY. It wasn't natural. I now run by what my body feels like doing--typically keeping everything under control and never breathing hard. If I had to characterize my effort, it would be the top end of easy. Definitely below tempo (lactate threshold) pace. Slightly faster than base fat-burning aerobic pace. The last two Thursdays, I've done a tempoish run with a group of fellow trail runners. Those are certainly harder, but they feel good too! I hope to continue a weekly harder tempo long as my body and mind still enjoys it. It's only running so it better be fun.

I'm no longer a walker. I'm not a jogger. I'm a real runner. And I like it.

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