Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Working on Improvement

"If you keep on doing what you've always done, you'll keep on getting what you've always got."
- W. L. Bateman 

It's a new week and even though my issues from my last post are still not resolved, and probably never fully will be for any of them, no point in dwelling in the past.  I will just say as far as my car window goes, from my experience, I would not ever recommend Gerber Collision and Glass.

Moving on to the post I wanted to write last week but couldn't due to my personal issues.  Did you read the quote above?  How true is that quote?  Whether it is about losing weight... "I can't lose weight.  Let's eat half the container of ice cream."...or anything else in life, in order to see changes, you have to make changes.  

I'm trying to make changes to be a better runner (and better in general, depending on the change).  I want to be a faster and better runner.  I may not be as fast as some of my friends (that run 7 min miles!)...but what do I have to do to be better than where I am now?  I want to be a better version of me.  There are a couple of things I'm implementing right now, which I have no doubt will help me in the future.

First, I'm trying to re-lose some of the weight I gained in the last 2 years.  Losing weight will help me in running but also be better for me in my every day life.  For those that don't know, I originally lost 90 lbs from 2007-2010 but have since put back on some of it.  I'm still down about 65 lbs from the original 90 but I'm not happy about the weight I've gained back.

I'm taking it 10 pounds at a time.  So right now, I want to lose 10 pounds.  I've lost about 7 pounds so far.  I'll move to another 10 pound goal after that.  A few of my run friends made a "secret" group page on facebook with some of their friends and we are all motivating each other and encouraging each other daily.  It's good motivation because even if I have an "off" day, I'm inspired by how well they are doing and it encourages me to get back on track.  

Of course, sometimes when you are me and are out of town...you don't go shopping for a few weeks and your fridge looks like this...

I had no food in my fridge!  It helped me be able to clean it out though and wash all the shelves!

After shopping...the life of a single person...still kind of empty.
In my defense, I have a really large fridge!

Another thing I'm working on to help improve my running is speed work.  Mag Mile Runner's facebook page listed a great link to a runner's world article which explains the difference between tempo runs, intervals, and fartleks.  Therefore, I won't go into detail on the explanation on here...so if you would like to know, check out the article.

I've flirted with one or two tries at speed work in the past but that's all it was.  For one reason or another, I couldn't maintain doing it every week.  Usually it was because I was newly coming off an injury and didn't want to risk re-injuring myself.  Another reason is because I just didn't really understand it or know how to accomplish it.  

One of the reasons I didn't understand it is that I don't know what paces to run for my speed pace.  Since I was recovering from my injuries from earlier in the year, my pace has been changing all year.  Now that I've been successfully injury free since the summer (knock on wood), I can tell more what pace I run at for a normal pace.
Now that I know my normal pace, I've been reading articles and asking friends about my speed pace.  In the article from Runner's World or other articles, it might say to improve for "this distance", run your fast pace 10 seconds slower than your 10k pace, or if you don't know your 10k pace, run "comfortably hard".  Here are my problems with that sentence.  I don't know my 10k pace.  I haven't run a 10k in a couple years.  I ran an 8k race this year but it was the day after running my 16 mile training run, so that's not accurate either.  I have a few 5k's under my belt this year and 10 mile runs and half marathons.  But as I said before, my pace was changing all year.

So I moved on to the part about running "comfortably hard."  I hate that phrase!  lol.  For me, hard and comfortable do not belong in the same sentence. If I'm running hard, it's not comfortable.  But since I'm trying to move forward, I had to suck it up.  Kelly advised me to try my first round of 400 meter intervals without my garmin in order to base my paces on how I'm feeling while running them.  Doing that helped give me some sort of start for my paces, my speed pace vs. my recovery pace.

Since then I have done a speed work run every week.  I'm consistently trying to do them on Monday's, depending on my weekend runs.  This seems to be working out well for me.  I've done 2 rounds of 400's, one attempt at a tempo run, and last night I tried some fartleks because I was going to be running with someone who never does speed work, and I felt this was the easiest way for us to stay together during the run.  I think he quite enjoyed himself actually, even though he says he doesn't like running fast.

I'm also trying to incorporate a day of hills as well.  That proves a little more challenging as I run in the evening during the week and can't hit up the hilly trails.  I've done 2 weekend hills recently, the 9.4 mile run at Waterfall Glen on Black Friday and one last Saturday with the running store in the area, Running For Kicks, at Swallow Cliff for 6 miles.  I will try to do hills once a week, even if that means driving to Palos Hills and running on the streets there on a week night. Although I'll be honest, doesn't look like hills are in my future this week but that's ok.  Maggie and Kelly were talking about doing weekend runs at Schmuhl School (aka major hills) after the holidays at a later start time than some of our other run groups go running.  They all run at the butt crack of dawn (technical term) and the three of us don't have kids and therefore can sleep a little later.  

Swallow Cliff Fun Run 12/1/12
I also have a 5k this Sunday in Kankakee.  It's kind of a far drive for a 5k but there was a Schwaggle deal some time ago and many of my FNRC group decided to do it and then go out for breakfast afterwards.  In fact, some of my group confessed they only signed up for the run as an excuse to go out to breakfast with the group!  Haha!  That's the way the F'N Runners roll!  I, of course, jumped on board.  Should be entertaining as I know a few of us (including myself) are going to look crazy in some of our Christmas run clothes.  I have bits and pieces and have to try it all on and see how crazy I'm going to look!  I'm a little scared of that!  Haha!  Kelly asked if I wanted her to try to pace me for a PR that day.  I was a little hesitant because that means I'll really have to push myself and I'll probably be miserable!  But I couldn't turn down the offer!  I'm not good at being uncomfortable while running...and running "fast" for a long period of time is really hard for me to get myself to do.  But that's what I'm trying to get better at with the speed work.  Not sure if I'm ready to get that PR of mine but I will sure as heck try!  And if not, there are always other 5k's!  BUT...it would be a nice way to round out my year!  :-)


  1. I guess schwaggle does not exist any longer. Which stinks as there won't be a spot where you can pick up $15 to $20 races on a consistent basis. I don't run very many hills, but when it comes to racing on them, I seem to not have too much difficulty with them for some reason. I'm sure if there were enough of them in a race, I would wish I had more hill training. Anyway, good luck in your 5k this weekend. BTW that is a massive fridge! :-)

    1. I have trouble with hills...even a slight incline (like Roosevelt hill after Chicago races. But I have gotten better at them for sure.

  2. Good luck on Sunday!!! You're going to do awesome! And then ... breakfast!!!

  3. When I lived in Oak Park I never really appreciated how flat the street running is - out in Cary it's nothing but hills!

    I have found that doing the intervals on the treadmill makes me go faster - but then again, I am only "sprinting" in 3 minute intervals. :D

    Have fun on Sunday!