Health and Fitness, Running

Puzzle Pieces

In the spring I will celebrate (if that’s the correct word) the three year mark of when I began running. It has been a journey, to say the least.

To say the most (because you all know I’m capable), it has been, and continues to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I know that I comment a lot about how slow I am and I really am. I mean….SLOW! I run regularly. It seems that by running regularly I should be getting faster and it should be getting easier. This has been a source of great frustration for me. I mean, how on earth can I run consistently for three years and not improve? Unfortunately, that has been my mindset: I am not getting better at it.

This past weekend I was visiting family that had come in for the holidays. My sister is a marathon runner and we got talking about running and I was sharing with her my journey. It hit me pretty hard exactly how far I have come. That’s what I need to remember. Quit focusing on the fact that I’m slow, but focus more on the fact that I can run a 5k. When I first started the Couch to 5k program I could barely run for the full 60 seconds that very first week. At the end of week two when I was struggling so hard to run for 90 seconds, I wound up in a pile of tears, certain that I would never be able to do it. It’s good for me to remember how distraught I was back then. It keeps the running in perspective for me. No, I am not the fastest runner on the planet (like I like to claim). No, I’m not the strongest runner on the face of the earth. No, I’m not the oldest runner in the world. But I can run more than 90 seconds at a time, which at one point I never thought was going to be possible.

Yesterday I was browsing through Runners World’s website. I love their yoga sequences and do the Recovery Yoga sequence after my runs. So I was poking around just seeing what kind of articles there were and I came across this:

Solving the 5k Puzzle.

Turns out, I have been training completely wrong! I kept chuckling as I read through the article because all I do is just go out for runs and do occasional strength training.

This hit me especially strong: “This is the place where most of us make our biggest mistake: We base the pace for our repetitions on the fitness we’d like to have rather than on the fitness we already possess.”

It went on to say that we shouldn’t be skipping steps in our training. “Remember, we don’t run repetitions to practice running faster. We run repetitions to improve the physiological systems that will allow us to run faster in the future.”

First off, I don’t do repetitions, per se. I just do the same route at the same pace at pretty much the same time of day. That is about as repetitious as my workouts get. The article spoke a lot about technique training and physiological training. If we would do those two types of training, we could go without so much as running the 5k distance prior to a race and end up increasing our time because our body would know what to do and would be physiologically prepared to do it.

Three years and I’ve been doing it all wrong!

When I created my December workout plan last night, I incorporated more repetitiousness and more technique drills and less running just for the sake of running (picture me skipping up and down my back yard – my neighbors will think I’ve lost my mind..I can hardly wait). My next 5k is scheduled for April (almost three years to the day when I began my C25K program). I’m practically giddy to see what kind of difference a change in mindset will make.

This means HILL REPEATS! Yikes. We all know that Momma don’t run hills!


running hills
I guess I’d better get at it!


After reading that article I have a renewed enthusiasm for this whole running thing.

I’m excited to do hill repeats.

I’m excited to skip across my yard.

I’m excited to work on some techniques.

I’m excited to lift weights.

It feels good to look forward to it, when I’ve let my frustration with being so freaking slow get in my way of wanting to put any effort into it. I feel like I need to break into song….It’s a new dawn. It’s a new day….and I’m feelin’ good!

Who knows? Maybe one day I’ll feel confident enough to train for a … wait for it …

Half marathon.




4 thoughts on “Puzzle Pieces”

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