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Run easy and get strong

I’ve read a lot of books that say in order to run faster and get stronger you have to slow down. So I have been taking this lesson to heart over the last several weeks. I have one major goal — to be a better runner. I want to be able to run farther without stopping and run faster. I recently switched to Saucony Kinvaras, a more minimalist shoe than my Brooks Adrenaline shoes. I LOVE them. My feet have gotten stronger so the Brooks shoes were overcorrecting and causing shin splints. I’ve been doing more cross training lately, but am trying to keep things fun and not over structured. I want discipline in my life, but not so much that I over-trained and forget why I started running.

I’ve been doing speed work on the treadmill. I have an awesome playlist of fast dance songs. This works well as I don’t use my iPod anywhere except at the gym. The songs give me a beat to use as a cadence baseline. One of my favorite songs is "Bombs over Baghdad" by Outkast. When I first heard it I couldn’t run thru the entire song. Now I can crank the TM up so I’m at a 6-6.5 mph and stay there for as long as I can (last time I did almost 5 minutes). I cranked out a 11:51 mile and 11:21 mile during my TM speed workout last Wednesday. In addition, I’m trying to do more cross-training. I’ve been biking at the gym more and just did my first spin class (don’t know if I love it — we’ll see).

Anyway, to test this theory about slowing down to get faster, I went to the lake this morning with some friends determined to run farther without stopping and keep a consistent pace. And I did! 3.11 miles at a 12:48 pace with only walking somewhere between 1:30 to 2:30 minutes of the entire run. Normally I run 2 minutes and walk 1 minute, but I find I have to run faster to make up the time from the slower walking pace. I don’t have a problem with walk breaks, but I think they aren’t as efficient for me as they were before.

I also felt like I had some gas left in the tank as I was able to speed up towards the end of Mile 3 and get down to a 7:27 sprint pace (although I think I may have been coming off of a small hill). Since this was an easy run, I wanted to make sure to make it an easy run.

I signed up for the winter =PR= Training Programs Winter Distance Training Program. I had a great time over in summer program, but got burnt out towards the end. I’m really looking forward to improving my pace and continue to be able to run longer distances without stopping. The Cherry Blossom (CUCB) 10-miler (April 1, 2012) — I hope I get in– and Frederick Half Marathon (May 6, 2012) are my next two biggest races and I’m on a mission to crush my 2011 times.

Happy running!

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