BREAKTHROUGH. Small that it was, yesterday was a running breakthrough day. Since learning about the Chi Running method, which was just before the tri season and vacation, I have worked at improving my running. The progress was small but steady. Improvements over the three tris I have already done this season show the progress--first tri: swim, bike, mostly walk; second tri: swim, bike, mostly run; third tri: swim, bike, run. And that time it felt good.
So over the weeks preceding my last tri, and now building up for my next one this weekend, I have been working at improving my running. Some things I had to be reminded of: go back to basics. First get the distance, then the speed. Looking at a marathon training schedule in Runners World recently, I couldn't help but think that it looked easy. Easy only because I have done a few and have tried many programs. But this one struck me in a different way. It basically was a fast track training program for a marathon, going from almost a couch potato to a finish. What I noticed was the consistency of running, not the volume. Consistency always pays off. I have attempted to be consistent, despite the heat, despite the recent 176 mile week, despite not always wanting to run.
Yesterday was another perfect weather day, with cool morning temps. I wanted to do at least a one hour run. I did not want to go to the park and run the same route I normally do my short runs on because it is mostly flat. I needed some hills to challenge me. I considered doing the 5.4 route from my house and adding to that, which I haven't done in quite some time, but the smell of smoke still permeated the neighborhood from Saturday's fire.
I decided to head to the little lake nearby, about 3 miles from home, and the route for a local tri coming up in September, which I plan to do. This way I could get some training in on that course as well.
I also decided the last time I ran it was time to retire my current pair of running shoes. With Chi Running, you really can get quite a few more miles out of a pair of shoes, but they were starting to cause toe numbness, and I did have another pair to fall back on. So I got out another pair I had held on to, which were in a lot better shape. I'm so glad I did! It was like running on air again.
I had allowed myself to fall into the habit of a run/walk method over the last few years to get me through most runs, because of my foot/ankle problem. But now that the foot/ankle isn't an issue, it was just becoming a bad habit, not always necessary. I do not dismiss the need for walking, just that it had become a crutch for me. I needed to push through that. My endurance was up because of the long biking weeks, it was pleasantly cool, and my feet were not cramped, so no excuses!
Off I went, around the lake and then some. I decided to go with the plan our Chi Running coach suggested: run until you are out of breath and then back off. Today that didn't come for almost 45 min! And then I think the only thing that threw me off was I took a wrong turn down a deadend and didn't know where to go but turn back. I finished the run in 57 min. and then decided to keep going to get to the hour mark. It wasn't bad. I could have gone longer, but decided the best thing to do was leave it where it was. This is taper week, and I was happy with my effort.
And then to add the weird thing on this run. I noticed a runner about a block before I came to the end of my run. I didn't know if he was through running, had stopped for a break, or what. When I came to the end of my route, I stopped, and for who knows what reason, this guy is right behind me and runs into me when I stop! What??? I don't understand why, when there is a whole street or sidewalk available, why would someone follow so closely on your heels that they run over you if you stop?? It wasn't like we were in a race. Sheesh.