Runners are constantly climbing. It’s in our nature to always have a goal we’re working towards, always wanting to push ourselves to do better. Whether it be chasing new PR’s, challenging yourself to expand your race distance range, or even after we’re past our ‘PR-PR’ years, redefining the times and bests (weekly, yearly, masters, etc.) bests.
Being patient sucks. Waiting for what we want isn’t fun, but the reality is that often times we are forced to wait. Even more often is it that rushing things will ultimately leave us more frustrated in the long term.
As runners, wouldn’t it be awesome if we could just lace up and make our next race/workout/run a PR? If only, right?! The natural tendency to want those faster times and better fitness TODAY is the breeding ground for injuries, overtraining, and slowed progress. Beautiful irony there, right?
Every runner has been guilty of it, and hey, some things you just have to learn yourself the hard way. (Sometimes a few times to really NAIL that lesson home.) Being patient sucks…but we need to learn to embrace it.
Nothing unites complete strangers more than discovering they are both, in fact, injured runners. Because let’s be honest, no one REALLY understands the agony us runners go through when we’re deprived of our ‘fix’. Miles give us endorphins, take those out of the equation and you do the math. It sucks.
A headline caught my eye recently: “Be a better runner without running.” *About face* Now I respect the news outlet that ran the article but the snark in me can’t resist thinking, “This kind of thing belongs in Runner’s World next to the column ‘How to get faster in your sleep!'”
In seriousness though, yes there are ways to improve your running and get faster that aren’t running. HOWEVER, these are thought of like ‘extras’…you still have to run.
Yesterday I was reminded why I’m a runner and have no desire to branch out into cycling. I watched as one of my roommates did this and that to his bike; adjusting things, replacing the brakes, all that good stuff. I learned some fun new terms, which are probably the non-runner’s equivalent to fartleks and pronation.
There was something about ‘truing’ a tire, I probably have this wrong some 18 hours later due to memory lapse, but I’m pretty sure it’s just making sure the wheel is straight and aligned. The brakes have to be ‘toed in'; I liked that one because it makes me think of runner toes, but here it’s just that the brake thingy’s have to be at a certain angle.
When I was a senior in high school, this young runner met the bane of her existence. She even put up her own money and paid to be tortured by this beastly contraption. The rowing machine.
Little did she know what exactly she was getting herself involved with, but when her coach told her that, “Back when I was in college something that REALLY made a marked improvement in my running was the rowing machine. I know it sounds crazy, but the other guys and I would go into the gym, get on the rowers, competitiveness would take over and we’d kill each other on those things. But I’ll tell you what, I never ran faster.”
Here’s what you relearn every time you get back to running after a long hiatus:
* Cross-training is just that. Nothing is the same as running, mentally and physically, and while you’re a world better off doing that tedious cross-training, it’s still a cold slap of reality when you get back to the real deal. Hello, muscles, almost forgot about you until you were sore again.
Tuesday morning and I, admittedly a bit begrudgingly, took to the elliptical machine. (I swear I AM a runner, even if the last time I had an awesome, pain-free run seems like a far-off, distant memory…haha) Let’s be honest, when you’re wrought with an injury the mental part of getting in the cross-training can be as much of a challenge as the physical.
All about the mind games. Distraction is key for me, so today I loaded up Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Johnny Depp edition, in the hopes that waterfalls of chocolate, gum-drops the size of my head, and Oompa Loompas would help make the time with my cross-training ‘pal’ pass a little quicker.
I’m a klutz. I’m one of those people who will wake up with a bruise and not know what it’s from. If I’m opening a package with any kind of hard plastic I’m sure to wind up with a cut trying to pry the thing open. I have no coordination and so I’m a runner…even then I have enough trouble staying erect.
Injuries stink and they come with being a runner, but the injuries or pulls, strains, niggling pains that come from a NON-running related event burn a million times more. Mostly because we have no one to blame but ourselves. (well, usually…getting hit by a car really sucks and in those cases there are others to blame…lol…well, kinda lol.)
Ellipti-what? Okay, I’ll admit I actually heard about the ElliptiGO awhile back when a friend of mine got to test out one of the prototypes. Basically it’s an elliptical that moves…pretty cool, though I’ve heard you probably shouldn’t be trying to hop any curbs on it. 😉