Running Challenge: Enter A Race!

Last night I finished crafting my 6 week training program for the 15km race I entered in mid-June. After I signed up, my ego was already saying, nah, it’s ok. We don’t need to change. Let’s quit. But my spirit said “YES! Something to challenge me!”

Right then I crafted a running schedule, saw myself completing it, and got really excited. Once you start to make plans for something, you’re investing yourself, and even though I wasn’t running yet, I was already taking action.  Once I finished writing my schedule, my goal was as good as realized in spiritual truth. Conceive, believe, achieve.

My 6 week intensive 15km race training schedule: (adapted from a half marathon training guide so it’s a little intense)

Photo 2015-04-30, 8 56 32 PM

Then when I woke up this morning my ego piped up again: “I think maybe I made a bit too strong of a commitment.” It said.  “I’m doing it, ego.” My spirit replied, “It’s going to be fun.” So far my ego has accepted that we’re in it together and that it’s not going to be easy. My spirit has won for now!

I really do love running.  It’s mentally and physically challenging and there’s a huge pay-off via endorphins and a slimmer body.  What I don’t like is the toll it takes on my knees.  Last year I injured my knee and ended up taking the winter off.  So while I do love running, it’s not something that I will do every day for the rest of my life.  I guess you could say I’ve been hacking running due to my knee injury.

Running Hacks

Most of the running I’ve been doing lately has been on the treadmill at an incline of 10 or more. I run/walk/run/walk for 10 minutes as a warm-up and that’s it.  Running on an incline is the biggest bang for your buck. Less time, better challenge = better fitness, and less wear on the knee joints.

If you really want a good running workout then try sprinting on an incline.  For example, at an incline of 10, you straddle the treadmill and turn up the pace to 10 (or wherever your sprint pace is).  Run for 10 seconds, then straddle the belt and rest for 20 seconds, and repeat for 5-10 minutes.  Talk about a good workout in a short amount of time!

For long-distance running, I try to set myself up for success the best I can. I am very lucky to have good trails in a forest about 15 minutes from my house. The air is cleaner, the scenery is beautiful, and running on dirt reduces the wear on my body. If I’m in the forest I always run longer than I intend because the environment feels so right.

I strap on my heart rate monitor, press play on my audiobook, and I am in total bliss. There’s the occasional root that gets the best of me, like today, when I fell hard on my butt and pulled the opposing groin muscle, but for the most part I love the challenging environment of hills, twisting trails, and troublesome roots.

Photo 2015-05-01, 11 26 36 AM

If you’re looking for a challenge, sign up for a race.  

A 5k race is a great place to start. Plan out a training schedule and get excited.  Check off your completed runs every day and keep track of your your daily successes no matter how big or small.  Celebrate that you are doing something for yourself!

Get a heart rate monitor and make it really fun!  I love seeing my heart rate, calories burned, and how fast I’ve accomplished both.  It makes a game out of my game!