(I realize that this is the second post in a row in which I’ve used a question as a title, a total cop-out, lazy thing to do, but then again, I never claimed to be the world’s most hard-working blogger!)
Last night, the Gypsy Runner asked me, “If you could do one thing to take your running to the next level, what would it be?” I was stumped. While I know I have plenty of room for improvement, I don’t really know if there’s any one thing that would be the game-changer. Instead, a whole list of possibilities came to mind:
- Increasing confidence. Possibly one of my most self-limiting flaws as a runner, I often sell myself short when it comes to thinking about what I’m capable of. I’m working on this one, but as they say – old habits die hard.
- Increasing resilience/resolve. I’ve improved a lot in this area already, but still have tons of work to do. In the past, I had a tendency to throw my goals out the window when the going got tough during races. That’s why the consistent splits at the end of the Kaiser Half were such a victory to me – I fought hard to the very end.
- Working on my running form. This one is tricky, because it’s hard to know whether the quirks in my running form are harmless or if they’re flaws that impact my performance. One thing I’ve noticed is that when I’m tired, I run with my arms tight against my body. Instead of swinging my arms, I rotate my upper body, which at best is inefficient, and at worst, could be too much torque and lead to injury. (To see what I mean, go to 2:56:03 of this video.)
- Being more consistent with strength and core workouts. I haven’t been great about prioritizing this, and it’s always the first to go if I’m short on time.
- Improving my overall nutrition. I’m pretty good about eating and hydrating in the days leading up to a big race, but I tend to indulge in too much junk right after the race. It then takes my stomach several days to recover. Moderation is key.
This isn’t one of the major points that I thought of, but I have a feeling that my running will improve after the move. As much as I’ll miss running around Lake Merritt, it’s very flat and no longer provides me with much training stimulus. After we move, I’ll be running on Lake Chabot’s trails 2-3 times a week, where even easy runs will include short, steep rollers that translate into built-in strength workouts.
What about you? Is there one thing (or many things) you could do to step up your running game? What would it take for you to get to the next level?
Here’s Oakland Marathon Week 3 training, with links to dailymile. Sorry it’s late, but I didn’t want to post it at the end of the (already very long) Chabot 30K recap.
Mon: Timed mile #3 for 2014. I’m happy to report that I ran a mile in 7:28 – my fastest mile ever, and 16 seconds faster than last month! Not only that, I didn’t have any foot pain. Hurrah!
2.6 miles @ 9:23/mile
Tues: “Strength” workout: 2 x 3 miles @ 28:30 (9:30/mile) with 0.5 mile rest interval. Actual splits: 28:10 (9:23/mile), 28:24 (9:28/mile). Skipped the Cleveland Cascade to rest my legs before the Chabot 30K.
7.6 miles @ 9:45/mile
Sat: Chabot 30K
18.4 miles @ 12:10/mile, 2800′ elevation gain
Total: 36.1 miles. A big jump in mileage over the previous week, but it feels good to finally hit > 30 weekly miles with lots of quality miles to boot. I’m also relieved that the sudden foot pain that hit me 2 Fridays ago went away with some rest. Only 3.5 weeks to go until the Oakland Marathon!