Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Running without a goal & how to run fast(er)

I’ve gone off on a pretty good start of 2016, running-wise. Although I didn’t run a big distance or anything like that, I did go out for 5 runs in January. And for a sporadic runner like me this is VERY good. Although I have big wishes, hopes and dreams of running a marathon one day, I’m still nowhere near that goal. 

I can think of several reasons why I haven't yet signed up to a race for 2016, but one of them is definitely time. I know that “no time” is never a valid excuse, but let me explain myself. To run a marathon or even a half marathon, you need to run at least three times a week. At the moment, I can get one or maybe two runs in. I box two to three times a week and also try to do two strength training workouts at the gym. If I’d have to run 3 times a week next to that, it would just be too much. 

I don’t think I’m committed to running enough to think about doing a serious race. But that might all change soon maybe! My biggest running motivator Annemerel is presenting her new book on Thursday and it’s all about running. And if there’s one person who can get me to run, it’s her. Her enthusiasm about running is endless and she’s participated in some awesome races (I’ve lost count of how many marathons she did). Although I’m more of a short-distance kinda girl, I can’t wait to read her book, get inspired and turn my marathon-dream into reality ;) Stay tuned, I’m sure you’ll be hearing more about it soon!

Second thing I wanted to talk to you about is a question I often get when I upload a running pic on Instagram: 

“How do you get so fast?” 

Although I have no magic answer/secret, I do want to share some of the things which I think help! I want to add that I’m not AT ALL a running expert, but since you've asked…

 Boxing. I think this plays a major role in my running speed. I go boxing two/three times a week, which is one hour and a half of rope skipping, boxing and basically constantly moving. Apart from the fact that this is a super good cardio workout, you also learn how to move quick on your feet, which helps a lot during runs.

 Strength training. Next to boxing, I’ve also been doing strength training for the past 2 years, including training my lower body with heavy weights to get stronger. Strong legs also means they can take a bit more and you can be more "explosive", which again helps with running fast. 

 Your body can take more than your mind. I once read an article (don’t remember where) that research shows that when running, your legs can usually take more than you might think. Running is a mental game for a big part. You think you’re exhausted, or you think you can’t go any faster, but your body/legs might surprise you. I keep this in mind when running and try to think only about how my body, legs and feet are feeling at that moment. 

 Short distances. I have never run a longer distance than 12 km, so you can definitely say that I’m a short-distance runner. Although my genes tell me I’m a long-distance runner (I once took a DNA test, most interesting thing ever!), I prefer short distances. I’m not the biggest running-lover, so often I just want to get it over with. This is probably another reason why I like to run fast!

☆ Run on a track. You won't run faster if you're constantly running on uneven ground. A track is great because it's simply made for running, it kind of bounces and you can easily measure your speed because you're running laps. It's also great for interval training (something which I don't do but it's good to increase your speed apparently!)

☆ Music baby! I can't run without music. Simply impossible. A good track can really push me, help me pick up my pace and forget the fact that I'm tired. I often listen to this set by Martin Garrix because the songs are perfectly mixed so I don't need to fiddle with my iPhone searching for good power songs ;) Also check out my workout/running playlists here and here

☆ It's my thing. If running fast isn't your thing, then it's probably much harder to get faster. I don't really like to feel 100% comfortable while running, and I really push myself to run faster. You either like it or you don't. 

I guess the main reason why I'm a relatively fast runner is the other sports I do: boxing & strength training. It makes a huge difference, so even if I don't run very often, it's not very hard for me because I know that my heart, body & legs can easily take it. Now all I need is a goal to test my running skills! Any ideas?

© whiskers & lions

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