The theme for the day is half hard work, half fun. Okay – it might be more than half hard work, but I don’t feel like doing the math.
My 4.25 mile run this morning was half fun when I ran with Cash and half really hard work. I ran the first two miles with Cash at about a 10:00/mile pace. We like to stop and smell the roses (or fire hydrants), take pee and poop breaks (Cash, not me) and just enjoy being out and about together.
The second two miles I pushed to keep under a 9:00/mile pace. I fluctuated anywhere from 8:10 to 8:55. It felt good to push myself on my run. I am not only working on build up my overall mileage per week, but I really want to focus on getting faster, too.
Here are some of my tips for picking up the pace on a run:
- Use your arms and your feet will follow. I remember a soccer or track coach telling me that once, and it really is true. If you pump your arms, your legs will follow. Doing upper body strength work will help keep your upper body strong and help push you through tough runs. Bicep curls, push ups, shoulder raises, etc. all help keep your upper body stable and supportive.
- Stay focused. Focus when I am running out on the road is the hardest part for me. I tend to day dream and just chug along at whatever pace is comfortable and forget that it isn’t always just about getting the miles in.
- Make a game out of it. Whether it be trying to run faster than the previous mile, or doing fartleks, break up your speedwork into shorter segments and challenge yourself.
- Repeat a speedy mantra. My favorite is “The faster you run, the faster you’re done!”
- Learn to embrace discomfort. You have to push through the hard stuff to get stronger. This is true in so many areas of life and one reason why I love running. If you only run the pace and distance that is comfortable for you and “easy” then you will never improve. When you are struggling and tired, it means you are improving.
Okay, clearly most of my “speed” strategies are mental. That is probably why my “fast” runs top out at 8:10/mile pace. As I continue to work on my speed, hopefully I will have some more tips!
When I got home from my run, I made the world’s easiest smoothie:
Just blueberries, Greek yogurt and milk in the blender. All I wanted was something quick, cold, refreshing and with protein. This totally did the trick.
Today Aaron and I have a lunch date at the Farmer’s Market. This week is the opening of the summer Wednesday market downtown. Can’t wait to have lunch there and get some yummy summer produce. I am dying for cherries and strawberries and juicy summer tomatoes! Not sure if they will be ready yet, but my fingers are crossed.
The rest of the morning and afternoon and I cranking away on lots of work. I have a fresh to-do list up on the wall and I am checking things off like crazy! I also have my Girls on the Run board meeting tonight. Our 5K is a week and a half away and we are all kind of freaking out. I am looking forward to the race planning to be over and to see it all come together.