State of Running – April Edition (I Wanna Get Better)

Hey, I Wanna Get Better!

I love a good theme song – especially when training for a goal race. It’s a great way to pump me up when I think I can’t finish that last mile, lap, or interval.  Even if I hear “theme” song from several years ago starts playing on my IPod or radio – I am transported back to that time, place and how I was running at the time.

Last summer, while training for the NYC Marathon my theme song was “I Wanna Get Better” by Bleachers.  Specifically the chorus.

I didn’t know I was lonely ’til I saw your face
I wanna get better, better, better, better,
I wanna get better
I didn’t know I was broken ’til I wanted to change
I wanna get better, better, better, better,
I wanna get better

I love, love (and still) love this song and when it came on the other day (and also while I was trying to think of what to write about in this month’s “State of Running” post) I though – “Yes, I wanna get better”

I mean isn’t that what a training cycle is about – doing a specific activity on a certain day so that come race day you can put forth an Olympic Effort.

Yes BUT what many non-runners don’t realize is that to perform and succeed there are other things outside of “just running” to make sure you get to the start line ready to put your best foot forward.

Therefore – this month I am going to document a couple of ways that I am trying to work smarter so that come June 5 I can put my best foot forward.

  1. Strength – I am “famous” for focusing on running and not strength, especially during my previous marathon training cycles.  I just focused on getting the mileage in..and…that has lead me to several injuries that have de-railed training more than once over the 7 or so years I have been running.  However – I am making an effort during this training cycle to dedicating at least one day to strength and making sure I do some core work as soon as I come back from each run.  My idea is that if I can get this ingrained into my running routine now, when I start training for my fall marathon it will become part of my “normal”.

    Running and Strength Training
    Strength Training for the Win!
  2. Post Run – I am notorious for (in the past) getting up early, running my prescribed mileage, coming home, and….nothing.  No stretching, no icing, no rolling, nada.  Just a quick drink of water and then heading off to work.  That had lead to tightness and again injury.  So I am making a conscious effort to change that (as well as to have the running czar gently bully me).

    Running Foam Rollers
  3. Quality Workouts– I have (for the most part) embraced the track but I think one of the areas that might have weakened me during my marathon last year was not performing any of these workouts on the road.  A soft and consistent running surface is great – and I will continue to utilize it but unfortunately race courses are NOT flat, soft, or even.  So last week I headed to Walnut Hill Park to do some intervals.  In addition to it being super windy and challenging in itself, I had to contend with a slight uphill.  It forced me to focused on pace but also effort, something that I need to develop over the coming months.
  4. Finding Focus – Those whom know me know I love a good beer, burger and many times both but with more races on my calendar in the coming months AND my Spring “A” race coming up in a little over 2 months, now begins the time of having to determine what is more important to me.  Does that mean I will be giving up what I love – heck no! BUT it does mean cutting back and maybe  having a beer(s) every other weekend.  For all that work that I do during the week – I don’t want to back peddle when the weekend arrives.

    Still Hill Brewery
    Official Mug Club Members!

Notice I did not necessarily say that I am trying to work harder.

Yes running is not always easy – but I have found in the past working out harder (through unfocused miles, not paying attention to aches and pains, etc.) has not always benefited me nor my running.

Running Track Selfie

So that’s where we are on April 1st – I also have a race tomorrow which I am pumped (and of course nervous)to run.  Hartford Track Club always puts on a great race and tomorrow’s 1/4 marathon at the West Hartford Reservoir should be great.

It’s also the longest sustained interval I have run this year, so it’s going to be a test of my endurance.

Question:  Goals?  Do you have them for the month of April?  Let me know! 🙂 



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