Wednesday, November 2, 2016

My Keys to Running Success

It’s been a while since I blogged and I wanted to write a post on some of my keys to running or achieving goals and what has helped me the past few years and this year.  Below are what I find are the three biggest things that have kept me motivated and running great this year and I think are some of the most important things you can do in running and in life to achieve your goals.

1)      Find a way to way to have joy with running.  It’s easy to set goals and strive towards those goals and we can easily find joy when we accomplish them, but if you want to have success with running it has to go beyond that.  You need to find joy in running every day, it can’t just be based on successes or goal races.  It’s really important to have goals as they help us have something to strive for but we need to find a way to love running.  In 2016 I can truly say I have found utter joy in running.  I have missed goals, I have swung for the fences and missed, and I have had some really bad races but I can say I have had so much fun and I love the chance to go out every day and run again.  It’s the single biggest reason to me this year I have been able to keep going strong and race as often as I have.  From great times at races, to group runs, to track workouts with everyone struggling together every time out on a run is a joyful occasion.  I have had the luxury to meet so many friends this year through running and it’s that type of happiness to keeps me coming back for more.  If you can do nothing else for yourself, when it comes to running find a way to absolutely love it aside from just running personal bests.  Or you will find yourself struggling to ever satisfy yourself, because in the end there will always be another goal to achieve and we will never find ourselves happy.  Running for most of us is a hobby we do and not our full time job, if you make it like your second job you will find it may become too much for you.

2)      Consistency – Just like with everything in life the more consistently you do it the better you become at it and running is obviously no different.  The single greatest you can do to become a better runner is just be consistent.  Day in and day out, week after week.  Put together a good week and follow it up with another good week.  Sometimes as runners we get too bogged down with fitting in the perfect workout, or making sure to get in a long run and hit these splits and we get so overwhelmed or tired we end up missing a couple days or burning out or worse getting hurt.  Instead sometimes it’s just important to just keep putting in the work.  If you are sore go slower but get in the run.  It’s hard with running sometimes to stay consistent because the gains we see are usually not instant.  It sometimes takes a long period of consistency to start hitting the times we want, but if you keep with it you will reach your goals.  Running is the great sport that the more you put into it the more you get out.  If you start anywhere with improving your running, be consistent as you do that start fitting in workouts and other stuff from there.

3) The last thing I’d say that is a key to success is just determination.  It kind of goes with joy but it’s just having that desire and fire to be your best.  Determination is something we all have in any aspect of life, it’s what makes us push extra hard to accomplish something when faced with adversity.  It’s what helps us run that extra mile or push through the pain.  When you have a goal you want to achieve you now need the determination to do whatever it takes to reach it.  Having joy with running and being consistent are keys to getting you there but you have to want to get after it.  Only you can control your desire to achieve the goal and what you are willing to do to accomplish it.  In the end the goal you set needs to be something you are willing to push your body to achieve so make sure to never set your goals to something unobtainable.  Set goals that you know you will be determined to achieve not just something that sounds like you should do.  That way you will force yourself to get after it.  For me in 2016, I was determined to PR at every distance from 5k to Marathon and I even added some Ultra's to the plan.  I've wanted to have range at all distances and that goal has allowed me to stay determined all year to try and achieve it.

It’s been a while since I did a recap of my training so here’s a shorter version of what I have done in September and October.  September and October now rank as #1 and #2 all time on my mileage months.  I hit 340 miles in September and 366 miles for October.  In September I had a pretty intense 22 day stretch where I ran 274 miles, 4 races and 4 workouts and 3 long runs all in that period.  It was the most intense period of training of my life but it was worth it when it was all done.  During that period the 4 races I ran were Parks Half Marathon where I was 11th in 1:18:06 on a really hot day, 34:53 for Race for our Kids 10k for 5th place when everyone showed up to get paid, probably one of my best races of the year the Charm City 20 miler where I ran 1:56:23 and got 1st and 5 days later followed that up putting myself among the greats of Falls Road winning the RM Classic 5k in 16:20, now linking myself to Ryan McGrath for the rest of our lives.

As the clocked turned to October the training ramped up a little more.  Running some pretty quick workouts on the track and getting on the trails more often to get ready for JFK.  Probably the most fun I have ever had during a race was during the Baltimore Marathon Relay, where Falls Road put 6 Legends of the Hidden Temple teams in to all race one another.  I decided to run the entire Marathon with my relay team(Blue Barracuda's) and then running the last leg as hard as I could finish.  The team did a great job and I managed to pull us into second place among Falls Road teams and passing the 1st place Mixed Team with 800 meters to go, winning the Mixed Relay for the squad and a sweet Baltimore Cheese Platter pictured below.  But it was just a fantastic day in Baltimore seeing so many friends and family running or cheering along the course.  I ended up running about a 2:52 marathon that day, and 8 days later I was off to Atlantic City to run the AC Marathon.  This was my first race in NJ since 2003 back at Monmouth.  Even 8 days removed from a marathon and doing a long run the day before I was able to get 4th in the Atlantic City Marathon and run a evenly paced 2:37:53 a new 3 minute 27 second personal best on a really windy day.  I finished up this 3 week stretch with another solid workout and long run and now it’s just time to get the body ready for JFK 50 Miler on 19 November.  I can't wait!

A lot of fun in the past two months of running and even a fun experience working at the Baltimore Expo selling some shoes for Falls Road and getting yelled at by my boss for two days.  Check out the pictures below!  I hope you enjoy.