There's my girl Buzu, leading the pack.

The Things I'm Doing To Become A Better, Stronger, Faster Runner

Date: January 31, 2012 at 2:44 pm- by Ali- Comment(s): 61

I attempted a speedwork session this morning.

The plan was to follow an old workout Coach Cane used to give me when I was training for the Hamptons Marathon:

  • 1 mile warm-up
  • 1 mile at 5K pace (or sub-8:00, whatever we’re working with here)
  • .3 mile recovery jog
  • 1 mile at 5K pace
  • .3 mile recovery jog
  • 1 mile at 5K pace
  • .3 mile recovery jog
  • 1 mile cool-down

I realize that many of you will refer to this as “mile repeats” or “3 x 1 mile repeats” or some other fancy way of writing out what I just did in bullet points. But to me, writing it this way makes the most sense, and for a long time I had no idea what a “3 x 800″ or whatever was.

So I wanted to throw in some speed to today’s run. Apparently, however, today was not my day.

I did my warm-up. Great. Wonderful. Easy.

As I headed up to the Reservoir — and spotted Mary Wittenberg of New York Road Runners fame — I started to pick it up for the first mile. I didn’t want to look down at my watch too much, because I want to get used to running by feel and not letting the Garmin do all the work.

At one point, I looked down because I felt good, like I was running hard, and was psyched to see a 7:37 show up as my current pace. I knew I needed to reel it in a bit if I was going to maintain a strong pace for three miles, but I kept pushing as best I could.

And then I slowed down, I guess too much, because my first mile clocked in at 8:02.

I regrouped, jogged for .3 miles, and then picked it up again. This repeat kicked my butt. Even though I was throwing myself into the run, pushing hard and working as best I could, I couldn’t seem to break the 8:20 pace. I did, according to my splits, but I didn’t go sub-8:00 as I would have liked.

I vowed to go all out on the third repeat, and I happily ran this one — a mile and a half, actually, because I felt solid — at a 7:47 pace. Still not quite as fast as I’d like on a third repeat, but at least it was better than the second one.

These splits won't make a whole lot of sense because the recovery jogs are mixed in there, but overall it's not terrible.

As I cooled down for a few miles to hit 7 miles total for the day, I did a mental replay of my run. It wasn’t my best. I did a Chisel class at the gym last night — plus I’m coming off a stellar 15-miler from the weekend — and my legs felt a bit fatigued. And maybe it just wasn’t my day. So I shook it off, acknowledged that it “wasn’t my best run, but also wasn’t my worst,” and moved on.

While I jogged home, I realized, “Holy crap, I have changed.”

I used to beat myself up when I didn’t have a perfect run. Whether it was because my stomach hurt (all good today! yay!) or my pace felt “too hard,” I would obsess over the details and let it bring me down for a least a significant part of my morning. Until I ate my trail mix, roughly, at which point all things are always wonderful again.

After that disheartening-but-I’m-way-over-it-now Las Vegas Half Marathon, I wrote a post that was therapeutic for me. I’d had a tough race. I trained hard for the half, I wanted to PR, and it didn’t come together for me out on the course that night. Now I can look back and say, “OK, it didn’t work out. It will eventually. It’s OK, Crazy Ali.”

Happy with Brian before the race! Not super psyched afterward.

But at the time I beat myself up, and I got a comment on that post regarding my immaturity as a runner.

At first, the comment stung. I was already a little sensitive because I was in the process of mentally kicking my own butt, but I was starting to feel better after writing it all out and reflecting for a bit. When I first read that comment — “this alone makes me realize the immaturity as a runner” — I was sad. Ouch, man. But then I thought about it some more, and I realized that I really am an immature runner — and that’s OK! I haven’t been doing the distance running thing for long and I still have so much to learn. I’m trying to gain as much knowledge as I can so that I can be a better runner, and I’m slowly starting to figure out which things work for me and which things don’t.

Today, I felt proud that I finished that last repeat without giving up, and that I reflected on the run, realized the reasons it may have been tough for me, and moved on. That, to me, is a sign that I’m maturing as a runner. Finally.

Now, any advice I may have comes from a place of experience, not of actual knowledge. I’m no running coach, I have no degrees to show off in order for you to trust me (unless you count a print journalism major and Spanish minor — hola, amigas, bueno!) and I’m certainly no superstar athlete.

Does this look like the face — or pose — of someone you should trust? Maybe not.

But! I have made some changes to my running habits over the past few months, and I think they’re helping. So now I will share those things with you, because maybe you’ll find them interesting or helpful or silly or pathetic. I don’t know. Here you go:

I tweaked my form ever so slightly. When I first started running longer distances, I noticed that my shoulders and neck were always sore the next day. A-ha! Signs of a shrugged-shoulder runner. I spent time trying to relax my arms as I ran, but I always felt awkward, like I was swinging them too much, and was exerting too much effort in my upper body. After watching the New York City Marathon in November, I developed a minor obsession with Buzunesh Deba, who came in second that day.

There's my girl Buzu, leading the pack.

I think Buzu is the coolest, and I love catching her training in Central Park on the weekends. I noticed that she runs with her arms up very high, and I think that looks cool, so I tried it one day. And interestingly, it felt good! It felt comfortable. Now I don’t know if, for me, this is good form or bad form or lazy form or awesome form, but I know that lately I’ve been holding my arms slightly higher as I run, and I like it.

I stopped taking pictures on my runs. I look back on my old posts and I am confused. I ran 11 miles and I have 23 photos to show for it? How does that even make sense. How was I running if I was working on my professional running photography career? Ah right, I would run, see something cool, and stop to take a picture of it. And I think that’s fine for some people, and that’s fine on recovery days. But these days, when I’m out for a run, I’m out for a run. No more playtime. Focus.

I stopped running with my phone in my hand. I will never forget the email I got from Coach Cane after he saw — and was surely horrified by — my Brooklyn Half Marathon race photos.

This is the photo in question. I look psyched. Coach Cane was not impressed.

I will never forget that email because I have it saved in my “Coach Cane” folder. Here is what it said: You gotta lose the phone. If you want music, wear a shuffle. Carrying anything in your hand throws off your stride. I can tell a runner with “ipod arms” a mile away. One arm moves, one stays tucked and nearly motionless. 

Now he’s the professional you can trust taking advice from. Since that race, I’ve stopped doing serious races with anything in my hands. I still carry my phone on me during long training runs, because if I’m going to get attacked on the West Side Highway I’d at least like to call my mom to say “what up” before I’m thrown into the Hudson River. (I’m sorry, Mom, for that super-sick thought. Don’t worry. I’m all good and safe and stuff.) But I don’t carry it in my hands, particularly in the winter. Instead, I make sure my clothing has pockets where I can stash it, that way my arms and hands are free for swinging. And waving to tourists. And shoving people out of my way.

I stopped being so batshit crazy and beating myself up after every run. I wrote about this already. But to me, the mental game has proven to be just as much of a battle as the physical one. I’m learning to tone down the brain madness and not obsess over my runs and races. It’s never the end of the world (unless the above Hudson River scenario happens in which case that would, in fact, be the end of my world).

I cooled it with the Monday doubles at the gym. I used to love hitting up the gym on Monday nights for a grueling Chisel class (mmmmm weight lifting!) followed by Melinda’s always-intense spin class. It was 90 minutes of sweating and I loved it. But when I realized that Coach Cane scheduled speed sessions for Tuesday mornings, I quickly realized that my Monday night plan had to change. If I want to spin, that’s fine, but I can’t get angry when I’m not fast on Tuesday mornings, because it will be no one’s fault but my own. And Melinda’s.

I started running with intimidating people who are much faster than I am. I have fast friends. They used to scare me.

Fast friends wear veils, but they are still fast.

Now I run with them so I can try and keep up. I have way too much pride to let a running buddy speed ahead and leave me in her dust. Yeah it’s scary at first to agree to run with a 3:03 marathoner, but I know that doing so will make me stronger — even if I’m sprinting and she’s on a “recovery run.”

That’s all for now. I’m working on my mental game, pushing my speed and ditching the constant photo-taking. If I’m gunning for a 3:59 marathon this year, it’s not going to happen with a giant iPhone in my hand.

AND BECAUSE SHARING IS SPECIAL: I’d love to hear any tips and tricks you have for becoming a better runner. I know that none of us are experts (though if you are, for the love of running, chime in!), but I always like hearing things that work for other people and seeing if they’ll work for me, too. Let’s all get faster together, shall we?

61 Responses to "The Things I'm Doing To Become A Better, Stronger, Faster Runner"

I loved reading this post because I’ve seen you transform as a runner over the past year. You will run sub-4:00 for a marathon (and SOON) no doubt about it. I’ve found that higher mileage works for me, BUT the majority of those miles have to be easy. And I’m talking 9:00+ pace easy. If I’m running 60-80 miles a week, my body needs recovery runs. So my motto is: keep the easy days easy and the hard days hard.

Nice job on the workout! Running fast is HARD in the morning. I can barely get myself out of bed for a jog, heh.

For me, I get the best runs when I eat a little something before a run and drink coffee. I don’t do this every day but when I know I have a hard workout coming up, it really helps.

Also, I like your new blog cause it doesn’t get caught in the work filters anymore. :)

I’ve learned to refuel right after runs and to listen to my body. To have the best runs, I need to rest accordingly, otherwise I set myself up for failure.

I love how running makes me know myself a bit better. I found out that I need to drink a lot more water before I go to a run. And with before, I don’t mean an hour before, but as soon as I get back from the run before.

Its interesting that you bring up that holding your arms up high feels better. I went to a running workshop once and he referred to arms as “spring loaded chicken wings” i.e. they should be up high and slightly back.

I don’t have any tips… I’m still trying to figure all this out! But I totally agree with you on the not being batshit crazy thing. I should try that one of these days.

You will become even more hardcore than you already are! I wish I could run today, amazing weather! But timing didn’t work out for me.

i learned to trust my coach and my training plan. sure running at a very low heart rate means running at a slow pace, but it will pay off in the end… speaking of this ali, does coach cane ever have you wear/train with a HR monitor?

This is probably a silly tip, but when running repeats, you can probably manually click the lap button of your watch at the end of your recovery jogs–this will leave you with a .3 mile split and start over the mile autolap, so that you can get a more accurate sense of your lap pace for the mile repeats. I don’t know all the forms of Garmins, so I’m mostly guessing that this works :)

I was going to comment this too! I discovered it by accident but it works awesome for showing the actual pace of the fast parts of a speedwork run separate from the slower “jog” portions!

It may sound insane (it did to me at first), but I actually think I started getting faster when I stopped listening to music on my hard runs. I’d run a tempo run and whenever I would get fatigued, I would simply turn up the music and zone out. Now, sans music, I simply have to focus and push myself through the hard portions of a run. I think it allowed me to see that I can push myself without having the distractions. On the flip side, if I didn’t have music for the easy runs, I would probably be bored to tears

FYI, this “no more pictures” thing doesn’t apply to runs you go on with your #cheesewedding friends.

Second FYI, I echo Megan’s comment. It’s been a joy to watch you transform into a speedster/smarter runner and it will be a joy to watch you cross the finish line under 4 hours, because I will be there, promise. Likely with champagne in one hand and cheese in the other. Some people throw confetti to celebrate, I will cover you in grated cheese. Hope that’s okay.

I’m still trying to figure out what works best for me but I do know that I need coffee and a banana before I hit the road in the morning!

I hate carrying anything in my hands. The winter is nice that I have pockets for my ipod. And my husband is making me carry my phone, I never have before, so either shove it in my pocket or use an armband holder that I got free at an expo. I’m looking into some sort of belt for my phone, keys, fuel etc for summer when I’m not wearing layers. Great post, new follower!!

Spi Belt! Seriously it totally rules. I’m able to carry an iphone, and ipod and gu without it bouncing around and driving me nuts. i’m a huge nerd and wear it super high because I have massive hips, but most normal people can wear it low without any problems.

Great post! Love the new look of the blog and love your attitude :-). These days coming back from an injury I just tell myself that every mile is a victory!

Ok, I’m not trying to be critical here (I promise!) but you’re probably feeling fatigued because you do your long runs WAY too fast! Long runs aren’t for proving how fast you can run, they are for building endurance which you do at a slower pace. When training for my last marathon (which I ran in 3:24), I did my long runs at an 8:45 pace, which is a full minute slower than my marathon pace. You really only should run fast (ie <8:30 min/mile) like once or twice a week. Then you should feel fresh and great for your speedwork, and use the rest as recovery. Even Kara Goucher says she only runs hard 20% of the time :)

Great advice! Exactly what i was thinking!!

I totally agree that you need to slow down a bit on long runs and recovery runs. If you don’t you’ll fall into a training “black hole” where all of your runs are within a certain effort range because you push too hard on easy days then don’t have the strength to push out of that effort range on your high-intensity/speed days. Here’s an interesting article from Outside on the “black hole.”

http://www.outsideonline.com/fitness/endurance-training/Beware-the-Black-Hole.html

I have been really working at the negative split thing. Its way harder than it sounds. But I know if I stay comfortable for the first half and push myself in the second half of a run, I am learning to pace myself better. This helps me get a little faster come race time… at least thats my hope. Once I master the simple basics of a negative split, I will toss in some serious speed work!

What’s worked well for me is slowing the down the bulk of my miles. Many runs I do feel painfully slow. But running slow on easy days is what has enabled me to nail the right paces on my “hard” days and increase the overall volume of my weekly mileage.

this is a great post. i’ve been thinking about this in regards to my yoga practice, and how i shunned slower paced classes for awhile that didn’t feel like as much of a workout, which really meant not as much sweat. i now see the importance of these focused, slower classes and want to get better sooo badly. but it takes work. and focus. this list is inspiring, i should make my own for yoga-stuffs. thanks :)

You are such an inspiration. I am excited to read about all your running accomplishments this year.

I never run with my phone but might have to break the free hands rule on our Queensboro Bridge run next week and bring my camera (because my BlackBerry takes crappy pictures). :)

Nice run! I’m definitely going to try to focus more on speedwork during my next marathon training cycle (which is months away, woot!).

Hi Ali! I love your new outlook, and I think it will really pay off. As someone who is not a badass runner by any means, and has only run one marathon (CIM in December – 3:57! yes I’m still SO proud), the BIGGEST thing for me was training faster (aside from my long runs) so I could race faster, and also the non running workouts I did – Pilates. The core, leg, arm and booty strength I developed over 4 mos of training helped like nothing else when the going got tough in the last 10K! I honestly can’t say enough about how much of a better runner it’s made me! :) Try it!

I love this post, and I feel exactly the same way sometimes. There’s so much to learn but that’s part of what makes every run and race an adventure!

One thing I’ve been doing for the past few months is doing regular combo speed workouts. Within one workout, I’ll combine either tempo miles or mile repeats with shorter repeats (800s or 400s) toward the end of the workout. It’s hard to do the speedier stuff toward the end, but I think it’s helped improve my speed on tired legs, especially at the end of races.

I am right there with ya. I did speed work yesterday and it felt like crap, but I did it.

I’ll echo everyone else – I loved this post too. I’ve been running since jr high, but I still suck at so many aspects of it. I get so discouraged when I have a bad run or take a month off from serious running and come back to a slow ass run. Last night, I ran outside, it was glorious (and only bc I forgot my lock in my gym bag and had to leave the gym – wah). I didn’t run with my Garmin bc it wasn’t charged. I went out for 35 min and who even knows what my pace was, but it was so refreshing to just run, without looking down at my wrist every 3 seconds. I’m a slave to the Garmin, I’ll admit it, but I think I’m going to try to run at least once a week (on easy runs) without it. I think it will mellow me out during some of my runs. Running along Lake Michigan in Chicago is just so pretty, i need to appreciate just being out there for at least one run a week!

Oh and, I totally remember that comment about the “iPod arms” from earlier in the year. I still run short runs holding my phone, but I use my shuffle for long ones! Thanks, Coach Cane!

I have found that running higher mileage really helps me. Also varying the paces of my workouts. My fastest workouts are sometimes as much as 2-3 minute faster pace than my easy recovery workouts. It is necessary for me to recover to run harder on the other days and also to be able to run more miles in a week.

You are definitely maturing as a runner. I am by NO MEANS an expert now but I love to look back at my own maturation as a runner. Sometimes I can’t believe how stupid i used to be. I will probably look back in the future and think the same thing about the way i am now. haha! It’s all a part of learning and growing!

I have gone to Good Form Running clinics to work on my running form. I have found them very helpful. I was a major heel striker before the classes. I bet there are similar classes some where near you. You can always check out goodformrunning.com to check out their videos and such.

I am totally with you on the doubles. I used to go to Body Jam Monday nights at 7:30-8:30, and then be shocked when I didn’t run to my best the next day. I miss that class but I realized I can’t do everything all the time or I won’t be able to do any one thing well.

I think that looking back as a runner is a good thing but looking forward can be better. I took a book out of the library that I haven’t read yet called The power of story : rewrite your destiny in business and in life. From the summary – ” As human beings, we continually tell ourselves stories — of success or failure; of power or victimhood; stories that endure for an hour, or a day, or an entire lifetime. We have stories about our work, our families and relationships, our health; about what we want and what we’re capable of achieving. Yet, while our stories profoundly affect how others see us and we see ourselves, too few of us even recognize that we’re telling stories, or what they are, or that we can change them — and, in turn, transform our very destinies.” Sounds a little hand wavey, but it does make sense. If you tell yourself you aren’t something then it will be true. If you tell yourself you are, then you will be. For my own perspective I have to tell myself I am a strong person and a strong runner. I also have to constantly fight with myself to not put myself in a mental box of how fast I can be.

I ran with a phone in my hand in the very beginning for my “short” / “long” runs. My friend told me that it would feel like a huge weight after a few miles, and he was so right, so I stopped.

Also, I have always had trouble keeping my arms low, it just seems a lot harder. A friend of mine runs with his arms pretty much dangling from his body (seriously, that`s what he looks like), and he is good! Fast, and in great form. I, however have to keep my arms quite high. Though sometimes I need to remember to relax, because my neck gets tight easily.
I love reading your blog and seeing how you work on yourself.

Ugh, I def have iPod arms. Such a bad habit I haven’t yet broke.

Thank you so, so much for this post. I love looking at accomplished runners for form ideas. One thing I do is more for endurance than speed and it is to shorten my stride. Small strides seem like a huge relief and you can run fairly quickly by increasing foot turnover. I’ve run with an IPOD nano in my hand for the past 6 years. I’m going to find an alternative immediately–thank you! I also agree to the high arms; I saw an extremely accomplished master runner run with the chicken arms; I think its great too. thank you for your blog; i love it!

You have become a really amazing runner!! It is so impressive plus I am still amazed at your times running through Central Park, those are some serious hills. being gentle on yourself is so hard especially when you feel you “should” have run faster and reached certain goals. I am so impressed with your ability to move on from that. But don’t feel bad if it still feels hard some days to be that gentle. As per advice, people hate this but I swear by elliptical cross training.

I agree with the previous commenters about running more miles in the slower range. I, too, do my long runs about a minute per mile slower than my race pace. You will continue to build endurance, be less fatigued overall and therefore be able to crush your speedwork at an even faster pace. You are definitely going sub-4 this year (and SO AM I) – I look forward to reading your race recap when you do!

Re: pacing workouts, have you checked this out? http://www.runbayou.com/jackd.htm (My running coach swears by Jack Daniels, that’s why I mention it). It helps me a lot, because when I have a pace target to hit,I get to feel accomplished even if I haven’t gone all-out. (And, of course, I shouldn’t go all-out during most training).

Anyway, hm, how I’m trying to improve…

Like you, I’m being much more mindful of overtraining and doing too much crosstraining (i.e. I’m no longer doing plyos and heavy deadlifts the day before a tough speed workout or a race–that’s stupid). I think that is so important. Otherwise, like you said, I wind up doing poorly in the workout and wondering why. Why? Duh, trying to set a back squat PR is not the activity to do the night before 8 x 400m sprints! In my case it comes out of paranoia that I’ll lose muscle, lose fitness, gain weight… and that attitude is truly, truly unhealthy, so I’m working to cut it out.

I’m working on form right now, too. For me the key thing is keeping my arms down and to my sides and my chest way out, shoulders BACK. It helps me to engage my core more and even helps me breathe.

AND FINALLY, I have been doing my speed workouts either with the team with which I run or with a buddy from the team. It helps SO much to have someone just slightly faster to motivate me to pick it up during a rough 400m repeat, or to chase during 1200m cruising. Have you thought of going back to group training or doing some more structured workouts with friends?

I am so excited to read about when you SUB 4! I know it’s going to happen soon. Just hang in there. I think you are doing all of the right things. Just enjoy your runs, and try not to be hard on yourself. It’s going to happen. What works for someone may or may not work for you too. What has worked for me is definitely just being a consistent runner…and listening to my body. Rest when you need to rest. Foam roll, stretch. Get massages. Vary your pace from time to time. I have enjoyed watching you grow as a runner and I know you have lots of running success in your future! Keep up the great work!

Very interesting, thoughtful post, and I think I may try your 3×1 mile workout this week. I need more accountability for doing speed work! It’s always great motivation to read about others doing it even when it’s rough, you persevered even when the going got tough! And now, who’s ass is getting kicked for calling you immature?!

I stick my phone in my bra to run. It makes my boob look weird but I feel like it is the perfect spot if I need to grab it while kicking an attacker in the balls and elbowing his eyes out.

I have to stop running with my iphone too. I run with dogs. I work part time as a dog runner and track my runs with runkeeper so I need to have my phone on me. I have leash in one hand and my phone in the other. Can you say really bad runnign form? Sometimes I put my phone in my pocket, if the running gear I’m wearing has pockets. Good post! I’m still relatively new to running also, so I don’t have any tips. I’m running my first marathon in October. Yikes!

I’ve run full marathons with a phone in my hand – never really thought too much about it before! I may have to try ditching it; I just hate fanny packs unless I absolutely HAVE to wear one. I can’t imagine that an armband would be any better than carrying the phone though, b/c it’s still on one arm. Any tips? Shuffle isn’t really an option because I don’t feel safe running without a phone for emergencies…

http://youtu.be/ef3cF6rln30
If the link doesn’t work just search for shit runners say…its great! Just had to share it with you in hopes you haven’t seen it yet.

I took my first spin class today and I can see why you love them so much! It helped me to realize that I don’t have to be THE best, just MY best. Happy running and spinning and yoga-ing!

Ali, this was such a great post! Especially because I have definitely noticed you transform as a runner, too. You are certainly taking great strides (ha, ha) towards becoming a better, faster runner. You are still pretty new to the sport which is so exciting because that means there is SO much room for improvement and learning! It’s easier to take good/bad runs in stride when you know there will be hundreds more to come, ya know? And a sub-4:00 is totally yours. Don’t let the 3:03 scare ya, I’d run at any pace with you, any day. :) Preferably soon, miss you!

Loved it!! Ali I love that you put everything in plain terms. Exactly like me. Bullet points FTW.

I carry a shuffle in my hand because I am so ADD about my music I have to change it every minute, but I am definitely going to try holding my arms higher! When I get tired at the end of a race, I pump my arms faster and my legs can’t help but try and keep up! Works for me.

Wow, I love all that you have learned, you HAVE changed, and you are maturing as a runner! and you rea teaching me that there is so much for me to keep learning, because every day, I learn something more. And that’s what makes running never boring, right? We are always learning! I have also learned not to hunch or tighten my shoulders, because it makes the rest of me tense up unecessarily and affects my breathing. big difference!

I love the new style!! Very you. A big thing for me in becoming a better runner is taking rest and/or cutbacks more often and knowing it’s not going to affect my fitness. And also at the same time being serious about incorporating speedwork regularly – can’t get faster if you don’t practice it! Nice running, my friend!

What an awesome post! While I’m sure there are still going to be days where you are too hard on yourself (it’s a hard habit to break) you have made such great improvements on the mental aspect of running since your marathon.

A lot of people are saying run more miles slower, I am in the other camp that says run quality miles and get rid of the junk ones. Faster paces, less miles. But I know this is what works for me after testing my body for years and knowing that too many miles will break me down. (I’m also reading Run Less, Run Faster)

So best advice? 1) Figure out what YOUR body needs, there are training plans for every type of runner. Consult with Coach Cane.
2) Speed work/track work will get you faster. Don’t neglect it.
3) Abs- keep that core strength up
4) Keep your head together, bad runs/races happen to good people. You are a good person and a good runner. Remember that while running is important to you, it’s not all that defines you.

I’m trying to improve my form, too. I got professionally fitted for shoes last year and found out that I’m a big time heel striker and that I way over-pronate. On my runs now, both short and long, I try to check in with myself every half mile and see how my feet are landing. It’s such a hard thing to change and adjust, but it’s definitely helpful!

I did your speedworkout yesterday! It sucked. Enough said. Thanks for the inspiration!

I’m def not as fast as you, but I’ve certainly noticed an improvement in my speed since starting interval training!

Congrats on the new blog look – love it! And all your ways to increase your speed sound great. I did much of the same when trying to qualify for Boston. One of the best things for me was signing up for LOTS of race and really racing every single one of them. It made a big difference for me.

Cathryn Ramsden says: February 1, 2012 at 11:08 pm

Hmmm. Would you mind asking Coach Cane about holding drinks on my behalf? I am doing my first half marathon in 7 years on Sunday and I usually carry and drink as I go…is that the same as iPod arm? And what else would he do instead of carrying it? Or what wildlife YOU do???

Excited…SO excited about my half!!! Saw the road closure signs up today and nearly died. This is all YOUR fault, Ali Feller ;)

AliOnTheRun says: February 2, 2012 at 12:56 am

Same goes for drinks! He always recommended finding ways around running with a water bottle, since that will throw off your stride as well.

YAY half marathon SO soon!!! GOOD LUCK!!!

Cathryn Ramsden says: February 2, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Okay…brain going to work!! Thanks for the reply. HURRAH for Sunday!

Cathryn Ramsden says: February 1, 2012 at 11:09 pm

Obvious I didn’t ask what wildlife you do…that was spellcheck. I meant, what would YOU do??

These are great tips! I actually ran my first two halfs with my ipod in my hand. its a nano, so its small, but im sure it messed w/ my form anyway. this is good to know. i love holding onto it, though, because its so much easier to change songs. i guess ill just have to make a super awesome playlist i can listen to the whole way through!

I love this post. It made me think! I have grown a lot as a runner… I think grown for the better. I run a lot by feel now. When my legs feel good I’ll do some speed work and really go at it. Other days my legs are slow and thats okay! I’ve also realized I have a cycle where I’ll have some really high energy good runs followed by some REALLY awful runs. But that’s the thing. It’s a cycle and I always will come back from the slow ones.

Great tips! Experience is a great teacher. Always stretch, warm up and cool down every after run. It greatly helps the body tune up and prevents injury. Take pre and post work out meal. It gives more energy and helps in recovery.

I just discovered your blog. I love your blog. <3

This post is super! I’m very guilty of running holding my phone or ipod (whichever is my music device that day!). That’s going to have to change!