I haven’t written much about running lately, but it’s not for lack of loving it. In fact, my passion may have even bumped up a notch in the past few months. I’ve been training a little differently than I have in previous summers…
My next big race, the Mill Race half marathon, isn’t until the end of September, so I’m taking things nice and easy. With the minor injuries that plagued me the past year, I decided, with Nick’s urging, to give low mileage a chance. For the past two months I’ve only been running medium distances three times a week. (Compare that to 5-6 times a week previously…) In the past few weeks Nick has begun training for a half marathon in August, so I’ve accompanied him on a few long runs, but I’m still balancing out.
I also stopped timing my runs after my race in the beginning of June. I felt that I was getting too caught up in the numbers, and that pushing the pace as I was recovering from the half marathon would not be a healthy idea. I’ve been pacing by feel, and it’s been liberating and calming.
I have been incorporating some speed work into my weekly routine. It’s usually either a 5 mile tempo run or a few mile repeats. I don’t put any pressure on myself to hit certain splits, but I have still noted a lot of improvement.
Lastly, through practicing yoga again, I’ve regained some of my former strength and flexibility. I can actually see my quads again!
The result of all this has been that I’m enjoying running as much as ever, I’m injury free and stress free, and I’m faster. Yes, I did time my mile repeats last week to see where I was at, and I was well below race pace. (Based on those times, I could see a new PR in the 5K this year!) It’s a little counter-intuitive, but I believe runners have to find what works for them individually, and in my case I’ve gotten faster without using a stopwatch.
I do plan to increase my mileage and the frequency of my runs closer to the Mill Race, but I’m still going to approach training with the mindset that health and happiness come before the numbers.
Are there any other runners that have mixed it up this summer, experimenting with new aspects in their training? I’d love to hear about them!