How to summarize the weekend? It was hot. Conditions were tough. The team gutted out some excellent races, even though the times didn't match up with their fitness in a lot of cases. I always tell my runners to focus on the process and what they can control. Weather isn't something that we can do anything about. Sometimes, it's perfect for fast times. Sometimes, it's the hardest part of race day. Last weekend was a whole bunch of the latter. That said, competing against the weather is something to be proud of, and these runners deserve recognition for not backing down!
Fall racing season is in full swing. Check back for more amazing performances and results in future weeks!
We've reached a point where technology plays a major role in a lot of what we do as a runner. You can buy GPS watches, running power meters, shoe inserts for cadence and ground force readings, and other wearable technology that will do everything from analyzing your form to estimating your blood lactate concentration in real time. However, there was a time not too long ago when all that technology wasn't ubiquitous, and all running was done by feel. Running by feel is a critical skill for both new and experienced runners, and there is good evidence that running by feel (particularly in races) yields faster times. Rather than relying on technological assistance all the time, we should teach ourselves how to manage distinct effort levels:
You can put this to practice for yourself. Run without a watch or with a basic chronograph watch and work on these effort levels in various contexts. You'll find that you can subsequently execute your specific workouts with greater accuracy and speed. Once you become comfortable running by feel, try it in a short race and you will probably surprise yourself with a new PR!
Chances are, if you are reading this blog, that you are a non-professional runner. That means that your biggest challenge as a runner is finding the time to fit everything into a busy schedule. Running is, necessarily, a secondary priority a lot of the time, which means that there are times when workouts don't happen for one reason or another. But, if you want to get the most out of yourself as an athlete, the only way to accomplish that is to consistently complete your runs in addition to core, flexibility, and rehab/prehab exercises. Developing a system to fit everything in can be more important than your specific runs in some sense.
Here is what I recommend to my athletes and what I do myself: Put everything into a calendar or scheduling app that you follow every day, then treat your exercise appointments like anything else on the schedule.
Even when you have a plan to follow at a high level, it's easy to let other things get in the way of running. But, once you establish the routine of scheduling everything and following that schedule, the habit of consistency gets easier and easier. And, once the habit is established, you have a way to avoid making excuses and communicate to others that your training is a mandatory part of your everyday life.
I know what some readers are going to say: "I just don't have the time to fit it all in." Sure you do. We all have plenty of time available for training. Even if you are training a lot, you might invest 2 hours per day on average. That's a small percentage in the grand scheme of things. And, for those of you who keep telling yourselves that you need to be spending that time work, consider a couple of things: