Anything worth having is worth fighting for. Especially your running goals. They're worth the miles, the soreness, the pain, and the learning process you will go through in your attempt to achieve them.
Some will tell you not to set your goals in life too high, as you might never achieve them. To an extent we would have to agree. Set realistic expectations. Not everyone can run sub 15 minutes in the 5k and that's okay. Not everyone is cut out to be a brain surgeon - and that's REALLY okay. Not everyone can go sub 3 in the marathon and that's okay too. But - why not push yourself a little in the goals you set both in life and in running? Make them realistic, but not so simple that you barely have to work. Additionally, give yourself time to accomplish the goal. Progress takes time, so don't expect HUGE results in a few weeks. For example, in 6 months, you can increase your speed in short distances between 1-3%. So - it's going to take time. Work hard, stay healthy, train efficiently, and most importantly, trust yourself and the process.
There's more to setting a realistic race/running goal than simply picking a time. Not only should you focus on the goal, but you need to focus on the process too. If you are 2:30 half marathon runner and you want to run 2:15, what process is going to help you achieve that goal? If you are a 22:00 5k runner and you want to go sub 20, what workouts and cross training activities do you need to be doing to reach that goal? Focus on what steps you need to take each week to improve to reach that goal. This will help the goal seem more attainable. No week is perfect. Life happens and that is okay. That's what makes life enjoyable - the journey and the process. Don't let one poor week derail you or set you back. Pick up where you need to and keep going.
Think about what you need to be doing to achieve your goals. If you want to run a marathon and your longest run to date is 12 miles, you'll need to work on slowly increasing your mileage so you're able to complete 26.2 on race day. If you want to drop 3 minutes off your 5k time, you'll need to start incorporating more speed work that is focused on shorter races and you'll need to pick up the pace during your daily runs. Maybe your goal is to simply run the whole 5k. You know that you need to increase your run intervals and decrease your walk intervals as you train until you can comfortably run at least 3 miles (hopefully more). Each running goal you set, no matter how insignificant it may seem in the grand scheme of things, is worthy of your time. So, put in the work and do what you need to do. Everyone is different, and our bodies respond differently to different types of training. For example, some people respond well to the taper week before a long race, while others do not and end up getting hurt. You have to learn what works for you and go from there. Again, it's all part of the process.
Take nutrition into consideration as well. For example, if you have weight (fat, not muscle) to lose, you will likely be able to increase your speed as you lose the weight. If you don't have weight to lose, good for you (you are now welcome to eat a cookie). When you eat clean, you feel better. The better you feel, the more likely you will be to lace up your shoes and head out the door or try a new cross training class.
You already know running is mental. So expressing your goals and really honing in on them is key. Approximately 75% of runners set very broad, generic goals, and most of them aren't quite sure why the goal is important to them. Many say "Well, I decided I wanted to go sub-2 in the half because my friends are doing that" or "I think I want to do a 5k because it seems like everyone is doing them so I want to do one too." When you are able to directly clarify why you want to reach your goal, you will have a better chance of reaching that goal, and you will want to put in the work it takes to reach it. Do it for you.
If you are having a hard time setting your goals, take a minute and think about/write down the answers to these things:
Take a couple of days and then come back to what you wrote down. How can you apply what you wrote down above to your running and your life? How can you achieve an attitude of success in running and in life from the way you view yourself? How can you accomplish your goals? Here are a few examples:
These goals are not only applicable to your running, but to your life. It will help you see how running can make a difference in all areas of your life.
Now it's time to take a look at your life and your performance. These are the BIG goals. What is that ONE big thing you want from running? Maybe you don't know yet. That's ok. Remember, these goals may take time.
But, don't forget about your smaller goals you wrote down above. These are just as important. They help you reach the big goals but they're impressive and significant in their own right.
Then, take this even one step further. Look at the small short term goals that will help you reach the bigger goals. These goals can include other things in your life that assist with your overall well being.
Make sure you are continuously working toward and reevaluating your goals. This will help you see if you have set something that is unattainable, or if you simply are slacking on the goals you have set.
You all are talented runners and work very hard. Hopefully this will help you in setting your goals for running/racing. Keep working hard. We love seeing you at 5am on Wednesdays. You have a great attitude - keep it up and you'll see the results you want. Of course, don't hesitate to ask us if you have questions about the goals you have set for yourself. We are always happy to help.
Happy Running and Happy Thursday.
Back in April (4/19 to be exact) we blogged about how to get faster. We talked about how speed work once per week isn't going to cut it. You'll have to start upping the speed during your regular runs as well if you want to see a payoff on race day. Now, you definitely need some slower, easy days to give your body a rest, but those days can't be every day if you want to see results. If you want to race fast, you need to train fast. It's pretty simple.
Of course you don't want to overdo it so you're injured on race day. But, don't let that be the reason you don't train fast. We don't want to hear "Well, I can't do my regular runs faster because I might get hurt." Find your balance and go. You may be tired at first, but your body will adapt.
Here are a few ways to start gaining speed in your daily runs.
1. Do speed work. Fartleks, intervals, hills, tempos. Do them even if you hate them.
2. Fast and fit go hand in hand. Work that core. Planks work wonders when done properly.
3. Nail good form. Poor form will slow you down and cause injury.
4. Don't eat so much junk food. The sugar actually builds up to slow you down. It's okay - we love cake too.
5. Lift. Even two training sessions per week will help you see results. Not to mention working your upper body will help keep your form in good shape.
6. Stretch it out. Add yoga to your routine. Yoga lengthens the muscles. Trust us - you'll see results and you will likely notice less injuries.
7. Cross-train efficiently: spin and swim. Swimming works the whole body and spinning is all about maintaining tough cadences and hip rotation just like running. Give these activities a try on your crosstraining days.
8. Stride it out. Ever watch those "real runners" on race day? You'll see them warming up by doing some sprints. Add these to your routine to help with speed and turnover.
9. Sleep well and hydrate adequately. It's been said the night before the night before your race is the most important. Don't skimp on the water either.
10. Strip down. The less layers and gear you have on the faster you'll be able to go. You don't see the pro's racing with a hydration belt, do you? (Of course take it if you really need it). Just be aware that sometimes all the gadgets and clothing can hinder performance.
11. Lose weight (fat not muscle) - studies show that losing weight can shave time. An average of two seconds per mile faster per pound lost. Another good reason to lay off the dessert. Of course not everyone has weight to lose, and that's okay.
12. Run hills.
13. Train with someone faster than you.
14. Learn how to race. The best way to learn is to do it. Learn from trial and error. What food works for you? What shoes? How much sleep do you need? Learn these things and you'll see better race times.
15. Eat well. Stop fad dieting and looking for quick "fixes" - just treat your body well and balance your diet. Try not to use meal replacements - actually feed your body. Lay off the processed and packaged foods and eat clean. Practice portion control as well. We tend to eat more than we need - slow down as you eat and savor your food. Don't forget to thank your farmer.
16. Think fast. Running is a mental sport. Believe you can do it.
Remember, you have to put the work in if you want to see results. If you want to nail a 20:00 5k, you can't train at 8:00 pace every day. If you want to go sub 4:00 in the marathon, you can't do all of your long runs at 12:00 pace. Put the work in and you will reap the results.
Thank you to everyone who came to our June Poker Run + Yoga in the Park event benefiting Ozark Greenways. The skies were a little cloudy and we watched the radar all day, but the evening turned out to be perfect! There were a few sprinkles, but they felt good. We had about 20 participants for the run and about 10 stayed for our yoga class.
If you're not familiar with how a poker run works, each participant starts with 2 playing cards. Then, everyone runs/walks laps around the park (in this case, Harke Park) for 25 minutes. For each lap you complete, you receive another card. You must complete the entire lap to receive a card. At the end of 25 minutes, you create your hand, and the best hand wins $20. The second best hand wins $10. Nick Weis took first place and Jacob Reagan had the second best hand. Congrats!
Yoga was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, our instructor had to make an unscheduled trip to the hospital and wasn't able to join us. However, she will be with us for our July event! We wish her all the best as she recovers. Joy taught the yoga class, and threw in a little extra ab workout just for fun. We had a few first time yogis, which is wonderful.
We were able to raise approximately $200 for Ozark Greenways. If you would like to add to our donation, please let us know ASAP as we will be sending the check soon. OG is a great organization and assists with many of the trails our runners train and race on. We were very happy to support them.
Our July event will benefit Paws Place Animal Shelter and our charity partner for August will be announced soon.
Additionally, we will start offering a modified version of our workouts for beginning runners. We do ask that you have been running for 4-6 months and can run 3-5 miles without stopping. We post our workouts on our Facebook page weekly so you can see what we will be doing and where we will be meeting. We encourage you to like our page for other updates as well. We are also on Twitter (@thefitclub417) and Instagram (thefitclub417). We would love to have you join our team.
Thank you for all your support. We hope to see you in July and August and on Wednesday mornings of course!
Today, we completed what was probably our most difficult workout to-date. It wasn't our longest, but it was definitely our fastest. As we progress, the goal will be to speed these up. The idea of the workout is to make them 30/30s instead of 40/40s. So - yes. You'll be seeing this workout again. You know you loved it.
You may be wondering how this workout (essentially, 200m repeats) can help you if your fall goal race is a half or full marathon. Here's your answer.
Most marathon runners devote most of their time to logging substantial miles. Obviously, mileage is important when training for a longer race as you need to know you can handle 26.2 miles. This being said, if a marathoner is not incorporating any speed work (fartleks, intervals, tempo runs, etc) into their routine, they may go long periods of time never running faster than 5k pace. Therefore, they lose their ability to generate explosive muscle power and in turn, running efficiency and economy can decline, and proper form can suffer. Additionally, as you age, speed ability will decline on its own. So, for long term progress, it is essential for long distance runners to incorporate speed into their training if they want to see real results.
Speed workouts help you improve your running efficiency. In other words, this helps you run longer and faster while expending less energy. For a full or half marathon runner, this means "race pace" will require less effort and you will be able to conserve energy and use it when needed most.
Additionally, you grow both in life and as a runner when you try new things and incorporate different activities into your routine. Adding these short sprints to your running routine changes up the long 15-20 mile runs and gives you a chance to see what kind of power you have.
After today, we don't think you will be discounting this type of workout any time soon :)
Yesterday we hosted our first learning clinic where we discussed form, nutrition, and racing. Joy, Jamie, and Nick provided some insight and tips into the aforementioned topics, and we wanted to share a few of our favorites. Thank you to those of you who joined us yesterday!
Work on your form from head to toe. Your upper body is as important as your lower body. Your core is essential as well. If you're not already working your core, you should start. A strong core can help keep your upper and lower body healthy.
One of the biggest take-a-ways here is not to cross your arms across your body. Keep your elbows bent at a 90 degree angle or less and keep your arms low and fists un-clenched. When your cross your arms, you are not running efficiently.
Shoes cannot fix poor form - they're merely a tool to help you run better and prevent injury. Fix your form first, and then ensure you're running in the best type of shoe for your specific body type and gait style.
It's all about balance. Don't deprive yourself, and make sure you're getting the right mix of carbs, protein, etc. If you are craving a doughnut, chances are your body needs some sugar, so try some fruit.
Drink lots of water - many times, you're just thirsty and not hungry.
Also, remember that on days you're doing long, hard workouts, you need more calories than on days you are not working out or just going easy. That being said, you don't need to eat the whole loaf of bread or the whole cake. Make the calories good, healthy ones to boost performance.
Food is fuel for your body and can enhance or hinder your performance.
Whether you run a 16 minute 5k or an 8 hour marathon, you can still "race" as it is all about doing your best. Remember to go out hard, but not too hard. You don't want to ruin your race in the first 1/4 mile. Leading the pack during the first part of the race is not the best idea as you will exert more energy than the rest of the pack.
Remember why you are racing, and remember that you do belong there. Physical training is as important as mental training.
When you start to get tired, and your body starts to hurt remember why you are racing. Do not give up - think to yourself "Don't let this be the reason I do not _______________ today."
Your kick should not be the last 100 meters. For a 5k, think the last half mile. For a half marathon, it's the last 2 miles. If you have the spring in your step to kick it into high gear for the last 100 meters, you left too much on the course.
"Most people run a race to see who is fastest. I run a race to see who has the most guts." - Steve Prefontaine
Well, the 2015 CoxHealth Medical Mile was interesting to say the least.
The competitive men's mile went at 7am with the competitive women heading out at 7:07. Nick, Joy, Heidi, and Jody raced the 1 mile (a few others used the course as a warm-up), which ended up being closer to 1.1 miles. This may not sound like much, but over the course of a short race like the mile, it adds about 20-30 seconds to your time. For example, Nick went through the mile at 5:01, but his time reads closer to 5:30. Same for Joy. Her mile time was 6:28 but her time reads 7:02. That being said, we need to remember that not all courses will be perfect, and that's part of racing as frustrating as it may be.
Moving on to the 5k - most runners only ran 2.4 miles. Now, you have to laugh at this because the lead bike went the wrong way and everyone followed. Problem is, was the bike actually part of the race or was he just some dude out for a bike ride? Unfortunately you cannot count a course that short as a PR, or Jamie would have a 5k PR of 14:57 (Helllooooo, Olympics).
To remedy this, Ridge Runner Sports (the timing company) decided to add 3 minutes to each of the first 105 finishers (are we positive 106 went the right way???) When you think about this, adding 3 minutes really only works for the first couple runners. Not everyone can complete the remaining .7 miles in 3 minutes. Perhaps the first few can, but what about the last few? So, this did not really remedy anything either and left most people feeling even more confused.
That being said, all our runners had great races. We are still waiting for Ridge Runner Sports and CoxHealth to post results, and we will post times as soon as we can find them.
Nick (3rd Male Overall)
Joy (3rd Female Overall)
Jamie (Overall Female)
So, what can we learn from our experience on Saturday?
1. Long courses are just as frustrating as super short courses
2. Race day doesn't always go your way
3. Winning a race on a course that is really short can make you feel like you didn't really earn it
4. Do not follow a random guy on a bike - if you do, hope he leads you to a doughnut shop.
5. Look at the course map before you start. Ask questions if you have them.
6. Speedwork is working - your times were great and we are really proud of the work you have put it.
Thank you all for participating. We had a fun time supporting Children's Miracle network.
We will pick another race to do as a group soon!
#thefitclub417 #earnednotgiven #dontfollowdudeonbike
Who Picks the Topics?
Each week, we notice different things. We try to incorporate the questions we are receiving or the training issues we are noticing into our post(s) for the week. If there is something you'd like us to cover, let us know!