Warning: Runners in mirror are stronger than they appear

Don’t mess with me, I’m a runner. Looks may be a bit deceiving, I’ve had people call me ‘hummingbird arms’ or ‘wishbone’ but I can pack a punch. Runners come in all shapes and sizes, a few of us (okay, probably more than a few) could be dubbed scrawny…but don’t ever confuse that with weak.
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I do my weights, core work like a good little harrier, am no stranger to the plyometrics. I’ll admit that it sometimes feels like I have to choke that stuff down because I’d rather gobble up more miles BUT I know all these ‘extras’ will make me a stronger runner. If you want to be fast, (or at least less slow…hehe) you’ve got to have a core that can keep you standing tall when you’re tired. You can’t have feeble little arms swirling around like a ribbon-dancer if you want to be efficient either.

Those arms can be slender but darn tooting they should be long, lean, and muscular. Okay, we may not ever bench the same amounts as those gym-goers with the permanent protein powder shaker bottles in hand, but that’s not our aim. Distance runners lift for higher reps and lower weight, duh. It’s all about the endurance.

Want to see us be a little more explosive? Then come to the track after a workout and we’ll show you our plyometric routine. Granted it may not be on par as the sprinters but for distance runner standards that’s some POP! You’ll see that same POP come the last lap of our 10k’s…all that explosive power translated into speed is something beautiful, I’ll tell you what! It’s even more beautiful to swing wide and pass that poor fool who neglected working on that power and speed.

Not all of the ways we build speed are so obvious, some of that power comes from the miles and miles run up hills. Hill repeats, yup, long runs on trails, you got it, tempo runs where the times are misleading due to incline…you bet!

But you want to know the BIGGEST reason you shouldn’t mess with a runner? The strongest assest of a distance runner is, in fact, their mind. I open myself up to hate from footballers, b-ballers, curlers (teehee)…but until you’ve done mile repeats until you swear you’re about to barf and then enter into the next rep, the day you run so long you’re not quite sure if you’re running so much as kicking your foot out in front of you and praying it catches, or you refuse to believe you’re beat so you DIG down for that extra gear.

Mental fortitude…that’s why you don’t want to mess with a runner. The rest, well, the rest is just enough for us to kick you @$$ with. πŸ˜‰

1) Finish the sentence: Don’t mess with a runner because…

2) What is one way you’ve gained strength, speed, or power?

3) If you’ve played other sports, can you compare the different skills or mindsets necessary for them versus running. What has been the hardest sport or tested you the most?

4) Sometimes even runners have weaker mental days, it happens. So how do you rebound off of a ‘weak’ mental day, learn from it, and aim to not give up next time?
I always remember how crummy it feels when I know I’ve been a mental weenie.
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18 thoughts on “Warning: Runners in mirror are stronger than they appear

  1. Never played any other sport – not coordinated enough.
    I do love weight-training now that I’m old(er)!!
    I think the weights have increased my speed as well as my strength.
    I also like to challenge myself with long runs (like running my age on my B-day). Just to say that I can!!!

  2. …they’ll run laps around you. ?.?. I’m getting there πŸ™‚

    I’ve noticed that when I spend more time doing circuit style workouts that I run a little faster that week.

    Basketball. Of course, at 4’10” I don’t really think it’ll ever be easy. LOL

    Love your statement about having a strong core. So true!

  3. Despite all the hours they spend in training, I’ve always thought that endurance athletes have a leg up on other employees, in any kind of job: They are strong (many jobs have some physical component, even if it’s only staying composed and alert for long days), they know how to push through discomfort, and when they get caught up in a goal, they won’t.give.up.

    Recently, I’ve been on a BodyPump kick. One hour, strength training for the whole body, some bonus cardio burn, and not even a little bit boring – I’m loving it! And now I can lose the guilt over not doing “on my own” weight training.

    I was a swimmer before I was a runner – and swimmers have it hard because they have very limited access to air. But I do think that swimmers learn how to ‘blank out’ time really, really well, by doing countless laps in unchanging scenery.

    Running is far more interesting – but also more real/raw, for me. I can’t ‘blank out’, even when I’m running hard laps on the track. I’m very present. And being present during pain is harder than blanking out during pain. πŸ™‚

    And cycling tests me in a completely different way altogether. First of all, it’s the sport I’m the most afraid of/intimidated by. While a lot of riding is done in a pretty ‘easy’ zone, it requires constant mental hyper-attention (to watch for traffic, turns, lights, etc). And there’s no other sport in which I’ve experienced near-panic the way I have when I’ve got nothing left in my lungs or legs, but have another 50 meters to the top of a very steep hill, and I can’t even stop because I’m not sure I can clip out fast enough to get my foot down before I fall over (or if said foot would even support me if I got it out).

    So I’m gonna punt on the ‘hardest’ question: All of them, in different ways! πŸ™‚

    • i love ur perspectives here for each of the tri-sports! i will say that i’ve always thought swimmers had to be INANELY good at blanking out because even a track has more ‘sight’s’ than the bottom of a pool!

  4. Mental strength does make a huge difference. Of course, it’s not going to help if you haven’t put in the physical training – you can’t run 10 miles on willpower alone! – but I think it is almost as important as the physical side.

    On your last question – sometimes I just accept I’ve had a crummy day and allow myself to be grateful that it will be easier next time. There’s no definite it will be, but usually I don’t have multiple ‘bad’ runs in a row and if I’ve had one bad one I figure it’s likely to even out next time!

  5. I played soccer forever, and running (especially long distances) is so different because you have so much time to mentally talk yourself out of whatever you want to achieve. With soccer, adrenaline and the immediate fight for the ball fuel the game. But to run 15 miles while you have no distraction from how bad you feel, that’s tough!

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