Friday, October 14, 2011

Can Quantity and Quality balance?!?!

Normally with other things in life you can choose whether you want to have a large quantity  of something and sacrifice quality, OR get something high quality but not a lot of it.

Does this apply to running too???

Obviously I know the TRUE answer is that if you work hard you can have both, but my thoughts about MY running is I can't have both all the time.

This was brought to my attention the other day while at work. I was following up with a member who just so happened to have finished his first half marathon. I congratulated him and asked what was his final time. He said he was too embarrassed because I would probably "smoke him out of the water" (I'm not even fast) After a little coaxing he finally said he ran a 1:46 and change.

I told him it was a GREAT time, especially since he's new to running and this is his half mary.... also  rest assured, I haven't broken into the 1:40s (YET) so hes the one smoking me. His response was something that I've been telling myself for quite some time and it was just hilarious to hear someone else say it:

"Really?!?! With all the races you do I thought you'd be faster" haha thanks
He immediately explained what he meant and apologized.

He brought up a good point though, why aren't I faster??? November marks when I started to get serious about running and adding more mileage. The answer is simple- and is summed up in 3 words

Do I run, yes. Do I have some short runs and some long runs, yes. Here's the catch- I do what I want, when I want. I don't have a plan, each run is whatever I have time for or what sounds good once I get into the run itself. I have a tendency to have the 'fly by the seat of my pants' mentality when it comes to many aspects of life, running is no different (except when planning races!)

So I know this about myself, but yet I continually do nothing about it, and aside from sheer laziness I wasn't able to really pinpoint why until the aforementioned phone call.

I'm coming up on a year of focusing just on quantity- 50 1/2s in 50 states- do I want to do well each race, sure, but at the same time I know I've got so many more to come that I don't worry about each individual race, just a few ones here and there. It's a whole different ball game when you spend months training for 1 specific race vs. doing several races within that same time frame.

With that being said, my routine has just been to do some maintenance runs during the week (3-5 miles) and then either a race on the weekend, or a longer (ish) run 6-9 miles on weekend. In a few weeks this may soon change.

Currently I'm getting ready for my double header this weekend, CT & RI, then the next few weekends are as follows:
Oct 21-22 Ragnar Vegas
Oct 30 potentially doing BIG HIT 1/2 in Louisville (haven't decided)
Nov 4-5  Ragnar Tennessee

After that I'm done for the year- nothing else planned- WOW.

So maybe its time to take advantage and focus on quality at that point.

Only problem- I don't know HOW to do it?!?! Its literally been since high school since I've done any programs and I feel like a fish out of water.

This is where YOU come in. Yes YOU.

What suggestions do you have for transforming this 'go as she pleases' girl to a more 'determined and disciplined" runner?!?!


  1. For me, getting faster meant, well, just that, running faster one mile at a time. Huffing and puffing until that became less and less. I never did track work but I ran tons of hills and ran them like my life depended on it. When I ran races with hills, people were backing up while I was getting stronger.

    I don't have a hard set of goals right now. I know that we've just started following each others blogs but I've had an INSANE year. I started out PR'ing a 10 mile race in Jan with sub 9 minute miles. It was a first for me. I injured myself in that race and went to physical therapy. I'm now up to being able to run 10:30 minute miles over long distances pain free. My viewpoint has completely changed! My speed works are now 9 minute miles and I have to be crazy careful with those.

    Anyway, I think adding speed will do the trick. It did for me anyway. One mile at a time and next thing you know you've got a fast half marathon or full waiting to be unleashed!

  2. Since the idea of a go as she pleases approach kind of stresses me out I have not idea how to go from that to determined and disciplined. I've never know anything else. BUT...that approach has made me faster but not fast. I'm thinking about trying something like this,7120,s6-238-244--8257-1-1X2X3X4X5X6-7,00.html

    or this

    I can run far but not fast. Now, I want to run fast. I'm looking forward to seeing where you go with this. Learn a few tips and tricks along with your decision :)

  3. I'm like you :) But I do have a few plans from my past to draw from when I start flailing... and some good, wise friends to turn to. Speedwork once a week will really help. Doesn't matter if you do long (mile) repeats or short (200) repeats or some sort of pyramidish thing or something different altogether. The idea is to run shortish and hardish and then run easier and then do the hardish thing again. Also, hills. Also, weights. For my recent half, I incorporated some of RLRF and Galloway and a friend's recs and some past workouts into my by the seat of my pants system. You can email me if you want more info... I am happy to share :)

  4. I wish I just ran! I feel like I'm always training!! What race in RI are you running? We're going to be in Newport this weekend! What if you pick a time you want to get...then devise a plan. I added speedwork last year and I actually do love it!

  5. Ok Lisa take my last question about what race you're running as a Duh!!! Go back to bed Nancy comment!! I already knew what race you were running! Sorry!! Looks like great weather for you! Good luck!!!

  6. ahhhhh. okay. i am a total do what i want girl too so that is a tough question for me. every single training plan i write down days for speed work and then DONT do them. i think for now i am going to work on pushing myself at the end of LRs so that when I am tired...i know I still have more to give! good luck this weekend!

  7. Someone mentioned Run Less, Run Faster--if you're happy running 3 times a week you should check out the book! Focuses on speedwork, tempo runs, and then one long run each week (which you probably have in the bag with so many races!)

  8. i am definitely a do as i please training plan kind of girl... that's why i commented about being resistant to idea of running coach :) but at the same time, i have 2-3 of my 4-6 runs a week that i want certain things of of. i want a distance progression with my long runs each week. and i want two really strong paced runs during the week.. 4-8 mi each. i make plans out for my runs and love to do that.. but i DO NOT decide beforehand that this runs will be repeats or this runs has to have target miles of a certain pace. just not my style. i think coy said it best! i run a pace that is hard until it becomes easier. you should go ahead and pick two races for next year to be your target races :)

  9. Well if I could give advice, I would! But you nailed it on the head ... I never realized it in those words, but you just described me! I never train!! I just race and run here and there in-between racing. Speed work? Tempo runs? Hills? pshaw, naw, I just do whatever the heck pleases me - and I usually slack at it!

  10. hmm…i am trying to be a bit more like you but I sadly, am not. I am focused on “plans” and times and less about how many states I can do (partly bc of financial reasons). If you don’t like strict plans, try hal higdon. its not really “time” pressured like RLRF but still gives you a good plan. I shaved over 10 mins off my time following his advanced 1/2 plan. still has speed work but not as strict as RLRF (i.e. specific paces). Hope that helps!