Archive for July 13th, 2009

The Key To Running Success: Persistence, Not Perfection

Since I started triathlon training, I have concentrated on the run the most. And it’s paying off. Since it was the one thing I’d never done before, it was also the one thing that freaked me out and made me hesitate about even trying.

I signed up anyway because I can always walk if I have to. I had to in my last race. I had to walk a lot. For the race coming up on August 1 though, I won’t have to walk. I may have to run slow, but I won’t have to walk. I can run now.

Saturday, I ran a full 5k in my neighborhood. I took a new route that I’d mapped out the night before in my car (it’s also kind of my bike route). 3.1 miles. Mostly a flat run with 3 hills (or maybe I should say inclines, but decent ones). I woke up later than I’d planned on Saturday and almost bagged this run too because I had other stuff to do. And then I considered running my usual shorter 2.5 miles. But I wanted the change, and I wanted to challenge myself. My thinking is that if I can run 3 miles, then the 2 miles (even right after the bike leg) won’t feel so bad on race day.

So I did it. I walked .2 miles to warm up and started jogging. It was hot because it was already 9:00 am. But I kept going, kept my pace slow so I didn’t kill myself and I finished in 38 minutes, which running-wise after a walking warmup, was probably about 11:30 to 12 minute miles. I was happy with that because at one point in the run, I didn’t think I’d even be able to run the whole way. It still amazes me how a run can feel great one minute, crappy the next and then good again. I was so thrilled that I completed the distance without walking that I even threw my arms up into the air a little as I turned into my driveway!

This morning I went running again. It was my usual 2.5 mile run. Until I get more comfortable with the distance, I’m keeping the long run to once a week. After race day, I’ll kick that up. This morning’s run was probably the best run I’ve ever had. It was early (6:00 am) and cool and dry. I think it’s the first run I’ve had in a while where there hasn’t been stifling humidity. This morning, I knew I was running a distance I’m comfortable with (amazing how much of a difference half a mile makes) so I decided to open it up a bit. When I’ve been running, I go pretty slow and bump up the pace at least once or twice during the run to get used to a faster pace. IThe faster pace actually feels more natural, (trust me, it’s not that fast), but  it’s been tough to keep up for very long. This morning was different though. I don’t know if it was the crisp weather or how I was feeling, but I opened up and only slowed down on one hill. I even got the thumbs up from a couple of walkers, which made me smile and then run faster. I ran 2. 5 miles this morning in 26.30 minutes, a little over a 10-minute mile pace. For me, that’s sprinting.

I was so pumped after this morning’s run. It felt amazing and I actually can’t wait to go again on Wednesday, although I rarely get the same results two runs in a row.

Thursday is my one year anniversary with Weight Watchers and serious blogging. I was looking back at some of my earlier posts this weekend. I felt triumphant when I went from walking a mile to walking a mile and a half.

Now I’m running three miles and working on going farther and running faster. I would have never thought this was possible a year ago.

MaggieApril, from Taste Not Waist, commented on one of my blog posts recently “Persistence, not perfection. Good Lesson.” It’s so true. My running experiences have been far from perfect. It took me seven months to complete the 9-week couch to 5k program. But I have kept at it and kept at it.

And look, I’m a runner now.

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