On Being a Better Runner….

Sometimes on my long runs I focus on one particular thought or idea and let it simmer in my brain the entire run. Such was the case yesterday during my run. i spend too much time in StumbleUpon. Perhaps you do too. It’s a search engine where you pick some subjects you like, such as: travel, cooking, baseball, and the like and you click “Stumble” and the engine finds different websites that you can like, not like or skip to the next one you stumble to. It’s a lot of fun.

Anyway, I read one particular blog from a distance runner who, in a rough and inarticulate way, stated that he felt there were two types of runners: those who work at getting better and faster at running and those who don’t bother getting better and rather just keep increasing the distance they run instead. The latter, he said, risk injury, never lose the weight they need to and don’t really gain the greatest value they could out of running had they spent more time becoming better runners.

He never said it this way. He was a lot more in-your-face about it, using words like “Suck” and “Fat” and “Crappy”, etc. Somehow, he felt that calling people names would help change their minds, I suppose.

But he had some very valid points. I’ve said for a while now that more and more newbies are discounting the shorter distances. I used to visit a couple running groups on Facebook but I stopped because I couldn’t stand the snobbery towards shorter distances, even by newbs. They looked down upon 5Ks and 10Ks. They could barely run faster than 12-minute miles but run a race shorter than a half marathon? Wouldn’t ever dream of it!!!

I don’t have a link to his blog and I don’t even remember what it was called. But I’ll state it in my own way here. I think there are very few regular runners who spend enough time becoming better runners. Sure, they spend lots of time running, but how much time do they spend becoming faster? How much time do they spend on their form? How much time does a normal runner spend improving their technique, their breathing?

There was this one Facebook running group I used to visit, nearly every other post was about someone being injured. Injuries don’t have to happen! If you’re injured, that means something went wrong!

I realized that I myself am guilty of being tempted by the long races. I have two halfs planned this year, but I don’t think I’ll be doing many more of them. I would really like to be a faster runner.

To run, we runners do NOT have to run half marathons or whole ones. After this half that I’m doing, I don’t have another half scheduled until September, so I won’t be training for it until June, meaning I’ll have over a month to get some good speed work in and get faster. I’ll also be using that time to get serious about getting into better shape. I’m in decent shape now, but I want to get in better shape.

But now, bed time, I have an early morning hill run.

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One comment

  1. Great post! I’ve got my 5th marathon this weekend and after that, I’m quitting long distances. A combination of factors over the last two years since I did my first marathon have meant that I’ve got slower and slower and ‘racing’ long distances at a slow pace is not fun and I don’t believe it’s any good for my body.

    After Brighton Marathon, I’m going to have a couple of weeks off running to help me recover and then I’m going to go back to focus on 5ks and speedwork for a while. I’m still going to do a long run each week (of about 10 miles), but I’ve not entered any races longer than that… with the exception of a half iron distance triathlon in September. In six months time, I want to be faster and in order for that to happen, I’m going to have to get back to the running track and listen carefully to what my coach says about recovery. The other part of my training is going to have to be a focus on what I eat… personal experience has proved the theory that every extra pound is 4 seconds per km or 6 seconds per mile!

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