One of my more prominent attempts at running happened when I was 15 years-old. One of my older sisters, Kathleen, had been running in college and wanted me to share in the benefits of running. So she made me a "running mix" tape to go along with my bright yellow, shock-proof Walkman. She wanted me to build up to running via songs. I was supposed to run for only one song. “Anyone can run for one song,” she told me. Each time I went out to run I was supposed to increase my running time by one song. I’m old now and can’t remember how long I lasted, but it wasn’t long and when our car was broken into and my walk-man and the running mix inside of it was stolen, I gave up entirely.
These days, I’m an RRCA-certified running coach, an ultra marathoner, a dedicated Stroller Warrior, and a lover of running.
Some of you might ask, how do you get faster or develop the ability to run longer? The answers to those questions are also simpler than you'd imagine. To get faster you need to run faster. To be able to complete longer distance runs you need to run longer. You HAVE to push yourself outside of your comfort zone if you want to be able to change the pace or distance you’re currently doing. Each time you push outside of your comfort zone your body adapts to the challenge before it and you create a new ‘normal’ for your body. Your body is capable of handling far more than you realize. Usually it’s just the mind that doesn’t want to go to that uncomfortable place.
Over the years spanning three Stroller Warriors chapters, I have met a ton of spouses. I've realized that some people have a natural ability to push themselves outside of their comfort zone. At first I thought this mental strength was just available in some and not in others. But then I realized that most of the people I've noticed this ability in have been professional or collegiate athletes at some point in their careers. Someone else (like a coach or a friend) pushed them outside of their comfort zone, and they learned they were capable of far more than they realized. Pushing themselves became the new normal not only physically but also mentally. They realized if they’ve done it before, they can do it again.
If you want to increase your distance start growing your weekend long run by 10%. Take what distance you can do now and do the math to figure out what a 10% increase would be. Then run that distance on the weekend. Each weekend increase your long run distance by 10%.
I guarantee your body will eventually re-adjust to the new normal you’re creating for it and going faster or running longer will become easier. It will take work, but you can do it. I believe in you! Do you believe in yourself?
If your answer to that question is no, please read this blog about positive thinking while running!