Friday, September 10, 2010

My Brain is Faster Than My Legs-Running Help Needed

I don't seem to have enough ability to match my ambition. I am interested in running a local race next month that benefits a free medical and dental clinic in our area, so I asked a former runner about the course and clocked it in my car.

The distance is right about 4 miles, and it's got some big honkin hills, so I thought I should give it a shot just to see how I'd do. Today. At noon. In 90+ degree heat.

Did I mention that my stomach was growling like crazy when I left for the run, and the last thing I'd eaten was a cake-pop (this concoction on a stick) and a truffle. Both were given to me as a door prize this morning at a big sale. Healthy, I know.

I made it about 3 miles and then couldn't do anymore. I walked, much to my chagrin, the last mile, but still finished the course in about 40 minutes. What this tells me, is that I'm running too fast for my current condition. I don't even run 10 minute miles on my treadmill, so what the heck was I doing out there? I have no way of knowing my pace since I don't have one of those nifty Garmin devices.

Then there's the problem of technique. I know this sounds really stupid, but I don't know if I'm running properly. There have to be some tricks of the trade that I don't know about, right?

So, if you know anything about running, HELP! How do you set a good pace for yourself, and how do you handle going up and down hills? Any other tips that I don't know, since I'm so ignorant about this I can't even come up with many intelligent questions?


  1. Oh, I feel for you. I have gotten considerable slower since I've gotten older, and I'm wondering where my speed went! I laughed when I saw what you had to eat before your run and the heat of your run. Silly girl. Just a couple of tips that may help: use your arms to run up the hills, and run with the down hill - don't try to thud and stop the pace. Hope these help.

  2. OK 4 miles, in 90+ heat, on insufficient fuel AND you walked the last mile??? You must have been smoking those first 3.

    Try the route again, but consciously slow down in the earlier miles and be stubborn about running the entire thing. You can always try the route again and see if you can do it a little faster. But get yourself a baseline for running the whole thing.

    As for form ... really I think some people get too wrapped up in that. My opinion (just my opinion, no professionalism here) is that unless you are an elite athlete, stuck in a plateau with your running, or suffering excessive injuries, your form is probably fine enough for now. Most of us are born able to run naturally. I have seen some very awkward runners at various races. You look at them and wonder how they can even run like that and be comfortable ... but most of them are kicking my butt badly so whatever works for them. I know as I get tired I start to hunch my shoulders and/or thud my feet. So I will pay attention to things like that, but otherwise I just run how it feels right.

  3. Thanks Heidi! I sometimes wonder if I'm not too 'bouncy' when I run; like I've got extra verticle movement when I could put that effort to better use moving forward ;)

    But I drove the same loop again, and have marked off the miles to I can gauge how fast (or slow, as the case may be!) each mile is. If I'm at mile 1 sooner than 10 minutes, than I'll slow it down a little bit.

  4. I joined a running group and my coach is all about taking shorter strides. He says longer strides uses more energy than shorter ones. He's an engineer who has turned running into a science of sorts. ha! So, I've done this and although it hasn't made me run faster, it has allowed me to run longer. I also agree with the comment above about pumping your arms. You can't imagine how much extra power that gives you - especially with those hills. Worse case scenario - briskly walk up the hills (saving your energy) and run down them fast to make up for it. Play around with this to see what works best for you. You are doing awesome!!!!