Thoughts on Running Faster

I hope everyone had a great weekend!  I know most people dread Monday’s, but even when I was working outside the home I kind of liked them.  It’s the start to a new week, new beginnings, and a chance to get back on track after the weekend fun.  Make today a great day, and the week will follow! 

I have been asked/had comments about why I’m running so much faster in such a short amount of time.  (Specifically from Sep of last year until now.  Last year was about qualifying for Half Fanatics, so I didn’t give pace much thought  until after the last half in Sep).  And, it got me to thinking Why am I running faster?  Since my goal this year is to PR every distance I run it would actually be good to know!   

Let’s be honest here, 9 to 8:30 minute miles (depending on how motivated I am) is not fast for some, but given that when I started running I was closer to 11:30-12 and for the longest time got stuck at 10, then yeah anything 9 or under is fast – For Me! 

 Sunrise from Saturday Morning’s run!
Here’s what I think:
Tuesday Night Run Group – It’s a fast group, and despite this being my fastest run of the week I’m still finishing towards the back, but it’s getting easier. 
-Tuesday Night/Wednesday Morning group runs – I torch my legs Tuesday night with speed then turn around and push the stroller Wednesday morning.  The two hardest runs of the week are back-to-back so to speak.  It probably goes against “proper” training wisdom but there is something to be said for pushing 40 to 50 lbs on already tired legs.  It’s a great workout!  
-Conventional training says that the first run after your long run should be slow and easy.  My long runs happen on the weekends and then the next run I do is the speedy Tuesday night run. 
-I’m inevitable going to get as fast as I naturally can just by running more.  Without speed work, or putting ton’s of effort or thought into pace I know that the more I run the more I naturally speed up.  
-Good Form Running has made a huge difference.  It makes it way easier to be comfortable being uncomfortable (from an exertion standpoint) when I’m pushing the pace.  
-adidas Energy Boost – Some people say shoes don’t matter, I’m here to tell you they do!  Now that I’m in the right shoe I feel like I can run as fast I want for as long as I want.  It’s not true…yet.  But, I’m a more confident runner in the Boost than any other shoe, and feel like I can hit my 1/2 goal this year!
-I have given myself the freedom to run alone.  In no way is this a reflection of those I run with…I know that every single one of them could run faster than I can on any given day.  The fact is there is some freedom when you run alone.  I can run how I want, the time of day I want, and I can focus on what my needs are.  I don’t have to worry about if someone else is having a good day, needs to take it easy, has an injury etc.  It may sound selfish, but I get to focus on me, my running, my pace and I can make myself as uncomfortable as I want to and not feel bad about it.  I have never done this before, but I’m picking specific races to run alone, and will do all the training runs alone.  Or, if someone does want to join me I will be upfront about the pace I’ll be running and that I won’t be adjusting my training or pace.      
-I’m a social runner, despite the previous bullet point, I prefer to run with friends or in a group.  So, while I will be pushing myself I will also be taking breaks here and there.  Right now my race schedule is more social than PR attempts.  I have a few fun/social races taking place during training for the 1/2 I’m going to PR…it’s all about balance and not losing my love of running!
-I foam roll, stretch, and get massages as needed.  I’m staying on top of injury prevention and when things do pop up I’m quick to get it taken care of. 
-It took a few years for me to feel like a runner, and I think I spent a lot of time underestimating what I’m capable of.  I feel great about where I’m at in my running life, I have a training schedule that I know works for me, and I’m enjoying pushing the pace to an uncomfortable level and seeing how long I can maintain it.  I’m stronger mentally with my running and just more confident overall.    
Are you a social runner, or solo runner?
What are your running goals this year?
  

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