Wednesday, April 1, 2020

The Right Clothes

A few weeks ago porfessional decathlete and Olympic 2021 hopeful, Chris Helwick reached out to see if he couple provide me with a guest post for RunnerDude's Blog. My reply? "Sure!" Chris writes a blog about his experiences in athletics, and it can all be found on his website ChrisHelwick.com. Below is his post on "The Right Clothes—for better habits, mindset, and performances."
To check out some of RunnerDude's interviews with various Olympians and other great runners click here.




The Right Clothes
— for better habits, mindsets, and performances

My high school soccer team always had the best-looking uniforms. It wasn’t that we had a particularly large budget for such things; rather, it was that my coach had a firm belief that the way our team dressed, both in practice and in competition, had a significant impact on how we performed. His motto was simple:

“When you look good, you feel good”

Most people recognize that the way they dress — no matter their style — sends a message to the outside world about who they are and what they’re all about. But what isn’t as obvious, or well-understood, is how our clothing shapes the opinions and beliefs we have about ourselves.

See, my coach didn’t care what the other team thought about our uniforms, he cared what we thought about them. Or more accurately, he cared what we thought about ourselves when we put them on. His motto — when you look good, you feel good — was all about instilling confidence and belief, knowing that such qualities were the cornerstones of high performance.

High Performance Starts with Better Habits

“We are what we repeatedly do; therefore, excellence is not an act but a habit.” Aristotle

If Aristotle were with us today, he’d probably say something we’ve all heard many times before — If you want to perform at a higher level, you have to train at a higher level.

To become a better athlete, or to achieve the next goal you’ve set for yourself, you must be consistent in your training. No one heroic workout is going to advance your abilities in any meaningful way. So how do you become the type of athlete who has better habits?

The Connection Between Our Clothes and Our Habits

Wearing the right clothes can be an excellent primer for creating better habits. For one, your clothes are highly visual and always right in front of you. That influence is abundant and inescapable — so whatever message you happen to be sending to yourself with your clothes, remember that you’re getting a constant dose of it all day long.

Second, clothes serve as a form of self-expression and are linked to our identities. They are the costumes of real life. In the same way that a good, convincing costume helps an actor get into character, we can use our own clothes to prime ourselves to think and feel like the athlete’s we wish to become. We can literally shape our identities with the clothes we choose to wear.

James Clear, a renowned expert on habits, explains that forming better habits is largely
about changing one’s sense of identity. When we change our beliefs about who we are, we naturally find it easier to change our behavior in a way that aligns with those beliefs. For example, if someone in the habit of staying up late can learn to identify with a statement like — I’m the type of person who goes to bed at 10pm — it will be much easier to change the habit of staying up late. On the other hand, if that same person identifies with a statement like — I’m such a night owl. I hardly ever fall asleep before midnight — then it will be difficult to make any lasting changes to bedtime.

Granted, retooling your athletic wardrobe is not going to turn you into Rocky Balboa overnight. There is always hard work to be done in building better habits and bettering one’s performances. But important insights can be gained from understanding how your clothes impact your sense of self and your duly taken actions.

According to one study from the Journal of SocialPsychological and Personality Science, participants scored much higher in creative and organizational tasks when wearing formal attire opposed to casual attire. The participants wearing formal attire also reported feeling more confident and focused during these tests, indicating their clothes had a significant impact on both their belief in their ability to perform well and their actual performance.

The Right Clothes — Not Necessarily the Most Popular Clothes

The right clothes for you, the ones that make you feel like the athlete you’d ideally like to be, day-in and day-out, aren’t necessarily going to be the most fashionable or luxurious options. They certainly might be — but wearing a set of clothes merely because they’re popular isn’t going to make you feel the way you want to feel. So forget about how your outfit appears to others, and think about how it is impacting your self-image instead.

At the same time, don’t just assume that all of the well-worn clothes in your closet are working against you. Any older garments that you have a positive association with can be extremely valuable. If the tattered and frayed race t-shirt you got six years ago reminds you of the time that, in the face of persistent pain, you charged the last 5k of your half-marathon without ever slowing down — then that old t-shirt is the one for you. Just be careful that the “classics” in your closet aren’t holding you back. While some older clothes have the power to lift you up in ways no others can, some have the potential to lead you back around to a former, worn-out state of mind.

Clothes are an Investment

The most common objection to investing further into one’s wardrobe is — I already have plenty of workout clothes. I really shouldn’t be buying any more.

I get it. You probably feel like you have too many clothes in general. Most people do. Plus many of those clothes are probably perfectly adequate in terms of function.

But in the same way that you invest your time and energy into your sport or activity, it's equally as valid to invest your money into a mindfully constructed wardrobe.

Ask yourself this — How are my clothes affecting the way I see myself as an athlete?

Along with keeping you warm, dry, and protected from the sun, shouldn’t your clothes be helping you feel strong, confident, and determined, too?

How to Get Started

First, give the following questions a generous ponder:

What’s the image of my ideal athletic self?

What habits do I need to form in order to become the athlete I ultimately want to be?

Then come up with 3-4 descriptive words that capture the essence of your answers. As a professional decathlete and pole vault coach, I spend about 4-5 hours each day training, coaching, and writing workouts. To do all of it well (or even decently), I must be able to think in both a long-term and short-term way.

When it’s time to train, I have to narrow my focus and be completely in the moment. When it’s time to write workouts, I have to envision a long-term plan and act strategically. One of my biggest day-to-day challenges is letting go of the long-term, strategic thinking when it’s time to be in the moment of a workout. With that in mind, I’ve landed on the following descriptors that, for me, embody the type of mentally agile athlete-coach I want to be day-in and day-out:

Present
Persistent
Thorough
Objective

Your descriptors may be completely different. In fact, I’m sure they will be! So here are some more descriptive words that many athletes, regardless of sport or skill-level, might use:

Patient
Grateful
Joyful
Supportive
Encouraging
Healthy
Driven
Strong
Determined
Prepared
Tactful
Fearless
Trusting

Once you have a sense of how you want to feel in your clothes, donate each of the items in your closet that fall short of getting you to that place. Then start filling in the gaps with carefully considered pieces that will anchor your thoughts to your chosen descriptors.

Now is the perfect time to make a change like this. It’s the perfect time to pause and reflect on how your athletic wardrobe has been holding you back or lifting you up for the past few months or years. It’s the perfect time to put words to the type of athlete you ultimately like to become. And in a few weeks (God willing), when retail stores all across the country reopen their doors and hold massive sales to jump-start their businesses, it will be the perfect time to find some great deals on the clothes that are going to help you work towards better habits, mindsets, and performances.


Saturday, March 7, 2020

RunTheBoro: A Field Trip for Runners

One of my runners, Rochelle Cook, described the annual Greensboro running event RunTheBoro as "a field trip for runners." It's ironic that the birth of RunTheBoro actually started with a field trip. One day back in April of 2016 (actually it was April Fool's Day), I found myself with a free half day (which is extremely rare). So I took a field trip to Raleigh to a check out a running store I had heard about, Runologie. They had some great T-shirts. One shirt that caught my eye had "Greenway City" printed on the front.  Raleigh has one of the best greenway systems in the country with over 117 miles. The Greenway City shirt was celebrating that awesome network of greenway. Greensboro also has an awesome network of greenways and trails, over 90 miles!

That trip got me thinking that we (Greensboro) needed a shirt to celebrate our great running city. Not just the greenways, but the whole city. There are lots of awesome neighborhoods, including the downtown area, in addition to our vast network of greenways that are great for running. So, when I got back home, I started designing a graphic for the shirts. I used a photograph I had taken of the skyline of Greensboro to help me create a silhouette of the skyline. While working on the graphic, the phrase "Run The Boro" came to mind and it stuck and I added that phrase to the shilhouette.

It's funny how things evolve. Initially, I thought I'd sell the t-shirts and use part of the proceeds to help fund the Greenway Water Fund. In 2012, RunnerDude's Fitness began putting water coolers out in four spots on the Atlantic & Yadkin Greenway each Saturday. We put out about 10,000 bottles of water and Gatorade each year. We recycle all the bottles that are placed in the recycle bags with each cooler. The shirts seemed like a great way to celebrate Greensboro's awesome  running community and help continue the weekly water cooler service on the greenway.

During the process of getting the T-shirts printed, I had the epiphany for a series of runs during May and June getting runners into these cool areas of our city. What better name to call the series than RunTheBoro! I wanted the runs to be free and the shirts would be optional to buy. Two separate ideas that serve the same purpose...bringing runners together and exploring our great city. Idea conceived on April 1st. Shirts printed on April 20th. Runs announced on April 27. First run on May 7th. Quite the whirlwind.

That first run was just one run distance of 7 miles. We explored the Kirkwood, Latham Park, and Old Irving Park neighborhoods. I thought mainly my runners would show for that first run, possibly 30-40 runners, but we had over 75! Each week the numbers grew and we averaged about 110 runners for each run. After that first run, I began offering 2 distances, a 4-5 mile and an 8-10 mile route. This helped increase walker participation. For the last run of 2016's RunTheBoro, we had about 175 runners participate. Overall, for the event, we had over 300 total participants. It was awesome.

RunTheBoro 2017 saw even more growth. We averaged about 120-130 runners for each run and had over 400 total participants. The RunTheBoro newsletter was added as well as some special theme runs like the "Monument Run" and the "City of Murals Run." We had about 400 total participants for RunTheBoro 2017.

RunTheBoro 2018 surpassed my wildest dreams! We averaged 275 runners for each run and had over 600 total participants! Run #9 (the last Saturday run of RunTheBoro 2018) had over 330 runners! It was amazing!

Then in 2019 we grew even more! In 2019 we averaged 350 runners per run with the largest run attendance being 400! RunTheBoro 2019 drew in over 700 unique runners and walkers! The walking group really grew tremendously averaging around 70 each week! 

RunTheBoro 2020 will continue the newsletter, theme-based runs (there are several new murals to add to this year's City of Murals run!) and returning title sponsor Volvo Financial in conjunction with RunnerDude's Fitness will be providing a brand new pint glass this year for those runners that participate in 5 or more Saturday RunTheBoro runs! WeeDoggie!

My dream of bringing the running community together, exploring our city and celebrating our city is happening and growing each year thanks to your support. The Triad's running community rocks!

Hope you'll join us for RunTheBoro 2020 with the first run/walk starting on May 2nd. For more information on RunTheBoro 2020, click here.

Be sure to check out our sponsors:
Crest Leather
REI

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Take Control at Any Age


The first time I had "Mary" do quick steps on the agility ladder, she got so frustrated that she couldn't make her feet do what she wanted to. I told her, "That's why we're doing these drills to help you get better mind muscle control." Second round of quick steps on the agility ladder in the same workout, she went so fast she almost lost control. When she finished she had the biggest smile on her face and said, I can't believe I just did that!" 

Mary who is 70, came to me not too long ago inquiring about fitness training. She shared with me that she had had breast cancer and had had a mastectomy. She said she wanted to do whatever to make herself as strong as possible. We decided on one-on-one training sessions, two times a week.

During our first workout, I asked Mary to get down on a mat on the floor for one of the exercises. She looked at me and said, "I have to get on the floor?" I replied, "Yes."  Then she said, "One of my biggest fears is falling and not being able to get up." I said, "That's exactly why we need to get on the floor. Getting up and down is part of the workout." 

After completing the exercise, I could see the difficulty, Mary had in getting up and a big part of it was not being confident in her ability to get up. So, I showed her how to bend her knee with her foot out front and how to distribute her weight so she'd have better balance when standing up. She did it perfectly and that same smile that I saw when she conquered the agility ladder appeared. 

At the first workout of her second week, Mary told me that she almost didn't come. She said she felt weak and a little lightheaded after the last workout and she almost talked herself out of coming back. But she came and we talked about it being normal to experience a fitness dip when adding new intensities to the body and about the importance of properly fueling and hydrating before and after a workout.

Mary's learned that lack of balance and muscle weakness doesn't entirely happen because of age, it has more to do with inactivity. We've worked on full-body strength as well as working lateral muscles such as her hip abductors to increase balance and that ladder to increase mind muscle control.  Mary is now doing dumbbell step-ups on a 16" step. Every time I increase the number of reps for an exercise or the weight for an exercise, she'll look at me to make sure she heard correctly and then she'll smile before doing the exercise.

Mary continues to conquer the ladder, get up and down with ease and is even starting to run. Even with cancer, Mary is taking control of her life. She's a true inspiration. 

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Fitness Keeps Me Well and Sane

Present Day-54yrs Old
I know it's not a cure-all, but I truly believe that fitness and good eating habits go a long way in
ensuring good health, physically and mentally. Recently, I've been dealing with an Achilles issue that's kept me from running. So glad to have the fitness classes I lead to keep me challenged and motivated while out from running. My early morning boot camps at the studio and two corporate tabata group fitness classes I lead at the Volvo Group North America Headquarters keep me fit and focused. I'm probably about 20 years older than many of the participants in these groups and this grandpa is making them huff and puff and sweat hard...me too! It's been so awesome to see members of these groups get stronger and more confident.

Even in my 20s and 30's I was always in pretty good health, but I realized the true importance of good health about 19 years ago. By 2001, I had run numerous 5K and 10K races and had already completed two full marathons. Then in 2001 when at my 3rd marathon (Chicago), I got sick (as in the night before the race sick). I could not stop using the bathroom. I ended up flying back home and not running the following day. I was depressed and sick as a dog. I went to my family doc and he just thought I had acid reflux. Acid reflux!! My mom had ulcerative colitis and my symptoms seemed awfully similar to her's. I shared my family history with my doc, but he didn't seem to take it seriously. It got so bad, I requested to see another doctor in the practice, and she did a test in the office and immediately said, she thought I had ulcerative colitis. She sent me to a gastroenterologist to confirm her diagnosis. I did indeed have Ulcerative Colitis. UC is one of two Inflammatory Bowl Diseases. The other is Chron's. UC affects the large intestine. Chron's can affect any part of the digestive tract.

Me (38yrs old) at the 2003
Country Music Marathon
It was a rough few moths following the diagnosis. Tried several different medications. Some blew me up like a balloon. Others seemed not to have much effect at all. In 2002 I began having severe pain and they were not sure what was causing it. I ended up in the ER. They sent me home with strong pain meds, but I ended up back in the hospital soon after. Probably too much info, but they discovered I had a fissure in my rectum. I had to have surgery to remove it and kind of reconstruct things. It was a pretty long recovery, but I did well.

I realized in recovery that I needed a goal to keep me from wallowing in my situation and to help me focus on getting better. So, what else would you do....decide to train for a marathon, right? (Keep in mind this was well before RunnerDude). My surgery was in early summer of 2002. Later that summer I began walking to get my strength back. Then slowly added in running. That fall, I focused on getting my strength, stamina, and endurance back. That December, I began training for the 2003 Country Music Marathon in Nashville. I completed the race in 4:10:00 and felt strong. It felt great to accomplish that goal. From then on I ran about one marathon each year for several years in a row.  During this time, working with my doctor, I found a medicine (Colozal) that really worked for me. It worked kind of like a topical medication. I had to take like 6-8 huge capsules a day. They were time-released and would open when they reached the large intestine and coat the walls of the intestine which helped reduce and stop inflammation an ulcers in the large intestine.

In December of 2005, I had a stress fracture in my heel that put me out of running for 4 months. Instead of going stir crazy, I decided to join a gym (remember this was pre-RunnerDude). It was this initial gym membership that I really began to learn the importance of full-body fitness. I also began to pay more attention to my diet and eating healthier. By the fall of 2007 I had set my PRs in the 5K (19:58), Half Marathon (1:30:42) and Marathon (3:42:00). That marathon was Chicago. I had to return and conquer it. 2007 was the year of the big heat wave at Chicago. They actually closed the race at 4hrs. Because of my time, I made it to the finish, but with heat exhaustion. I was on cue to qualify for Boston at mile 18, then the wheels fell off. I was severely dehydrated. But a PR was a PR and that race was really more about redemption for having to miss the race back in 2001.

Around 2008 -2009, my gastroenterologist shared how pleased he was with my progress in managing my UC. I had not had a flare-up in a long while. He thought it was time to wean off the medicine. I did. It's now 2019 and I've not been on medicine for UC since. I've completed 15 marathons, 1 ultra marathon and too many 5Ks, 10Ks, and half marathons to count.  I contribute my remission to my focus on exercise and healthy eating. Yes, I still eat crap sometimes, but in general I'm pretty good about what I put in my body. I'm not quite a vegetarian, but I eat very little meat. When I do, it's lean turkey, chicken, or fish. I eat lots of fiber from fruits, veggies, and whole grains. I'm probably 95% bread. LOL!  I'm a big believer in moderation and accountability when it comes to eating and exercise.  Today, occasionally, I'll have a mild UC flare-up, but nothing like in the early 2000's and today's flares seem to be more stress related. Hence the need for the mental and stress-relief benefits of fitness.

So, if you're not running or working out, give it a try. It will greatly improve your quality of life. I'm a testament to that for sure.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Eating Does a Runner Good


Just read an article about how exercising before breakfast burns more fat. Article makes it sound like it's new news. Heard this for a long time. Problem is that people will just read the headlines and then start running on an empty stomach. It's true that when you run on an empty stomach, your body will use up any remaining glycogen (carb) stores and then begin to burning fat. Nothing wrong with that. However, what a runner has to ask himself/herself is...."What is my goal?"

If your main goal is weight loss, then great idea to get up early and go for that 3-5 mile run before breakfast and possibly burn more fat than if you had eaten first. But, if your goal is training for a half or full marathon, then your main focus should be on achieving a quality run. Running 10-20 miles on an empty stomach is not going to provide a quality run. When a runner comes to me to talk with me about a recent lackluster run, 90% of the time it boils down to improper fueling.

Yes, you can burn fat as a fuel source. When all the fat is gone, you can even burn protein (muscle), which is not good. But the thing to keep in mind is that the body's main fuel source and most efficient fuel source is glycogen (what carbs are turned into and stored as in the muscle). Fat can be an energy source, but it's not as efficient as glycogen.

Sometimes weight loss will happen when half marathon or full marathon training, but I don't encourage runners in the thinking that running long is going to cause weight loss. If you are training properly, your appetite will increase and as long as you're appropriately fueling based on your activity level, then you'll be fine. Most of the time, however, runners will over estimate their calorie burn and they'll eat a lot more than they need. My other concern with this article is there will be people who think.... "I'm going to run on an empty stomach and then I'm not going to refuel afterward either. That way I'll really get a good burn." Problem with that thinking is that when you drastically decrease your caloric intake and drastically increase your activity level, the brain will go into protective mode and actually latch on to and protect your body fat and burn muscle instead. Decreased muscle means less caloric burn, which can mean weight gain or a weight plateau. Not good.

So, long story not so short...if your goal is weight loss, then try running shorter distances before breakfast as a part of your weight loss goal, but if you're goal is a marathon....eat.


Friday, September 13, 2019

Hitting the Training Wall?

Many half or full marathoners can attest to hitting a wall of self-doubt that smacks them in the face about halfway through their training.

For first-time half marathoners it's often around mile nine. For first-time marathoners it's often around mile 15, 16, or 17.

Things are going just dandy in their training  and then all of the sudden, they have a tough run and reality smacks them in the face. "Oh my God! That was hard!" How am I ever going to run 10 or 11 more miles!"

This experience is pretty common with new marathoners. Most have actually had a similar experience on a smaller scale, but they forget from whence they came. In talking with a struggling half marathoner the other day, I reminded her how not too long ago, she was worried about completing the 13-min run/2-min walk intervals when she was in my beginning running group. Also reminded her that she killed it.

For most individuals it's pretty common for self-doubt to creep in when we they dip their toes into the unknown. The initial response for many is, "I Can't!" But here's the thing. You can. You have to just flick-it! Flick that self doubt to the curb! Easier said than done, right?

The first step in clearing your mind of "Can't" is remove it from your vocabulary. Next step is to be "Real." It's going to be hard. Marathon training is one of the hardest things you'll ever do. It will be one of the most rewarding and life-changing things in your life too! Training for a marathon causes you to dig deep and find a you that you may never even knew existed. Once you find this new you, you'll be amazed how much you pull on new you in other areas of your life.

So, why does it happen around mile 15, 16, or 17? Well for most, that's new mileage for them. So just like when they first began to run and it was hard and they were fatigued, and they were sore, they're going through that again. Many at this point will experience an acclimation phase while their body adapts to the new demands of this new frontier.

So, what do you do? You run smart and you listen to your body not your head. If you are extremely tired and fatigued, then skip that next speed workout. When your body say's "Uncle" listen to it and take a rest day. Pull back on the pace on your long runs. You're probably running them too fast anyway and now that you're in new territory, your body isn't able to maintain that same pace (plus you need to be running slower on the long run anyway). Make sure you are hydrating and fueling properly pre-, during-, and post-run. Those two gels your  took for a half marathon probably aren't gong to hack-it for a 20-mile run. figure how how to adjust your fueling for those extra miles. Depleted levels of electrolytes like sodium and potassium can increase dehydration even if you're drinking a lot of water. So be sure you're on top of replacing them through your fueling, electrolyte tablets, or sports drink.

According to Dictionary.com, moxie is the ability to face difficulty with spirit and courage. It goes on further to say that the term was used as far back as 1876 as the name of a patent medicine advertised to "build up your nerve."

Too bad there's not a bottled "marathon moxie" that you can gulp down just before the start and then be miraculously provided with all you need to complete your training. Man, whoever invents that will become a millionaire! In reality, marathon moxie does not come from a bottle, it comes from within you.

If you're having doubts, I want you to do some reflection. Sometimes writing down and documenting all that you've done during your training can visually confirm all your hard work and the commitment you've exuded over the past several months. This doesn't have to be a long and tedious task, just use a brainstorming web like I've done here. Once you see all that you've accomplished there's no way you can doubt yourself! (See my attached pic. This is a web I did a while back when I was training for a marathon.)

Another way to clear you mind of Can't and flick that self-doubt to the curb is by finding a running mantra to help lift you up on those hard runs. The official RunnerDude mantra is Trust. Believe. Conquer! It stands for Trust in your Training, Believe in Yourself and Conquer your Goals. Here are a few more mantras to consider or make up your own!
  • Can't Stop! Won't Stop!
  • No regrets!
  • If you don't, you rust!
  • I'm a running machine, not going down without a fight!
  • The pain of discipline or the pain of regret.
  • Relentless forward motion
  • Make Mom proud!
  • Run like you're being chased!
  • This too shall pass.
  • Perpetual forward motion
  • Not today, I will not be broken.
  • Not if. When.
  • I will keep on.
  • Define yourself!
  • Not everybody can do this!
  • When the going gets tough, the tough get going. So get going!
  • Do this today and you can eat your weight in chocolate tonight!
  • Of course it's hard, if it was easy everyone would do it.
  • I hate you Thad. I hate you Thad. :-)

If you have a coach, talk to him/her about what you're experiencing. Ask about taking rest days. Ask about fueling and hydrating. They are there to support you. They have lots of suggestions and tips to help you. (https://runnerdudesfitness.com)

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Slow is Relative. Let it Go!


I've worked with hundreds of beginning runners and runners new to distance running such as training for a first half or full marathon. The number one single-most  hindrance or hold-back to success that I see in the runners who struggle is latching on to "I'm so slow" and not letting it go.

Slow is a relative term. What's slow to one runner is fast to another and vice versa. I'm not so sure why so many runners are hung up on speed. I've always looked at it as I want to be the best runner I can be. That may be running faster. That may be running longer. That may be running injury-free.

Thinking speed is a mark of a "real" runner gets so many runners (new and experienced) into trouble. Beginning runners that bolt out on that first 1-min run of a 1-min run/5-min walk interval often are the ones who struggle later in the program or quit. The slower-starting runners are usually more successful with the program. Starting slow and building is much easier on the body and mind, then starting out too fast and having to pull back. On the other end of the spectrum,  marathon runners that run all their runs fast even their long run, often end up peaking too soon or getting injured.

Fast is not always good. There's research to back it up. Research shows that runners that mix up their run paces over the course of the week are usually better runners on race day and are less injured. Often runners who always run fast, acclimate to that fast feel. That makes it's hard for them to tell when they're running too hard. This often leads or over-training and often leads to fatigue, lackluster workouts, and often injury.

Tips for the "slower" runner:

  • Embrace your slowness. Own it. It's where you're currently at. Doesn't mean you have to stay there. So embrace the moment. You'll enjoy running more.
  • Don't worry about other runners. It's your race. Your pace.
  • Start where you're at with your running, not where you want to be and you'll get where you want to go. If  you start where you want to be, you'll only be frustrated and disappointed. 
  • Keep in mind that many of those "fast" runners were once "slow" runners. Running is a journey. Yes, there will always be those born as gifted runners. Good for them. Just means  you'll have to work a little more to get where you want to go.
  • Mix up your runs. Get out of your comfort zone. Have one run a week be a shorter run where you push your pace out of your comfort zone. A good workout for this is a fartlek run. Fartlek is a Swedish term for "speed play." To do a farlek run, run the first and last miles at your normal easy pace. For the middle miles, rotate between running 5 mins easy then 1 min "hard". Not a sprint but harder than your normal pace. It should feel labored.  Be sure there is a distinct difference in pace between the hard and easy.
  • Join a running group. One of the best ways to increase pace is to run with someone slightly faster than you. (http://runnerdudesfitness.com/runegades)
  • Stop saying You're slow. Start saying, "I'm a runner and I'm on a mission."
  • Trust. Believe. Conquer!

Let it go! Let it go! No more "slow." Let it go!