In the past 10 years I’ve been running, I learned the following about myself as a runner:
1. I’m not naturally speedy.
2. I have to work my ass off to get faster.
3. Endurance is my strength. In many ways, running 20 miles is easier and more pleasant than a speed workout.
4. Because of #3, I shy away from 5Ks and 10Ks.
5. I’m a morning runner; running in the evening is tough for me.
6. I run my long runs at or within 30-45 seconds of marathon pace. Long, slow distance doesn’t work for me. Practice makes perfect.
7. Although my mental game has improved, negative thoughts and self-doubt still haunt me.
It took lots of trail and error but I’ve learned so much about myself from marathon #1 to marathon #8.
Don’t compare yourself to other runners
This is pointless and will get you nowhere. Every runner has different abilities. The speedsters who make it seem so easy are genetically gifted. Trying to copy their training schedule to “be like them” will also get you nowhere. It’s important to know your strengths, weaknesses, and limitations as a runner so you can train smart for you.
Easier said then done, right? I still compare myself to other runners. Case and point: after the NJ Marathon I was bummed about my PR (yes, I was bummed about a PR) and kept reading Twitter updates of everyone’s fabulous PRs. I said to Matt, “I’m sick of reading about everyone’s PRs”. His reply, “Oh…and how about your PR?” Enough said. Thanks Matt.
Training plans are NOT one-size-fits-all
As I said above, don’t take your super fast runner friend’s training schedule and follow it to a T and expect the same results. Training plans need to be modified to fit your needs and they need to be modified while training so they continue to meet your needs.
What lessons have you learned about yourself as a runner?
I’ve learned that I really enjoy doing long runs with others, even to the point that I will bend my plan to be able to meet up with someone for just 6 miles of my run. It’s such a mental help to me (it breaks up the long run) and it keeps me from overthinking what I’m doing. 🙂
I have had such a similar experience, totally can relate to most of the things you have learned! I too am extremely hard on myself, even if I still get a great time, unless I reach my goal. It’s a blessing and a curse, to push yourself so hard and to really want to achieve so much. You have to have that kind of focus to dedicate yourself to the sport, and yet it would be nice if we could brush aside all the negative thoughts.
It frustrates me knowing I’ll never be able to run as fast as I wish I could, but it helps to remind myself that I’m still placing quite well, and in the larger pool of people out there who don’t even care about their health, I’m doing great! 🙂 I also know that I have the potential to improve dramatically, if I make the commitment – I too have to work my butt off – but hey, it makes it that much more satisfying when you DO hit your goals, when you surprise yourself by what you are able to get your body to do, because you know it wasn’t an easy path to get there.
I happen to think you are a speedster 🙂
I love seeing the pics – seeing you doing 8 marathons is so inspiring for me! I really agree with a lot of your lessons, especially that I’d rather run 20 miles than do speedwork (most times!). I’ve learned that joining a training group is the best idea ever and it’s totally worth it for me to drive 30 minutes to run with friends than just run out my door by myself. BUT I’ve also learned that I need to get used to doing some runs alone.
I can totally see why you are Kara are running the 50K together! She pretty much posted the exact same comment!
I totally agree with you and I have the same issue with speed work. I am deftly more of an endurance runner and to get faster I have to work my butt off!
This is such a great post. I think we’d be great running partners. I really need to work hard to get faster. Also, I like the whole, “Don’t compare yourself to other runners!” I try not to do this, but sometimes I’m like, “Why can’t I be that fast?????” Practice, Practice, Practice.
I am so intimidated by 5ks. Seriously. It’s all about speed, right? It’s a whole other sport. ;o) But, I bet it really helps with your speed in general. Perhaps post-pregnancy I’ll work on some 5ks for speed?!?
I have a question for you. Have you ran the Philly Marathon in November? I’m thinking of signing up for it.
Okay, scratch that off — I just looked under your races and saw you ran it back in 2008! I’ll let you know if I sign up for it so you can be there at mile 22. LOL
Even if I run the half, I like to stay and watch the marathoners. I will cheer for you!!!!!
Yes! I ran the marathon once and the half numerous times. I actually signed up for the marathon a few months ago, not knowing I would be running another marathon on 9/11…so I might drop to the half. I’m completely biased since it’s my hometown but it’s a great race. Mostly flat – 2 hills – one around mile 9 and one around mile 14. The crowd support for the first 13.1 is amazing. There are crowds for the last 13.1 are OK…they tend to congregate in a few areas. Weather is usually good but the year I ran the full it was 15 degrees at the start! Eeek, a little too cold for me.
Do it! Do it!!!! 🙂
Wow I love this post…I absolutely agree about the long runs- I would much rather run for miles and miles than push myself for a few- and when i’m doing my long runs I tend to go faster than a lot of the training plans recommend- who wants to run 20- 10 minute miles?! I also get myself down when I don’t PR but I try and remember that realistically you’re not going to everytime because every course is different and you could be totally on one day and off the next but as long as you felt like you left it all out there you should be happy with yourself
Running Girl says
Lvoe this post – it’s a great reminder. I’m such a beginner that I haven’t started to get hung up much on what other people are doing. I do remind myself to go slow (with the training) & make sure that I’m enjoying the ride & not adding too many miles too quickly. I’m all about injury prevention, and listening to my body.
Well then you are going to be a great runner! Injury prevention and listening to your body seem to get brushed aside sometimes but they are so important!
GREAT post – we are very similar 🙂 not comparing yourself and no training plan is one size fits all are BIG things I have learned too 🙂
Hi, new reader here! I think this is a great post, I especially love the “no comparing yourself”. I’m still new to running and get frustrated that I can only run 3 miles at a time, and slow at that especially when compared to the running blogs I read. But I’m just starting out and I shouldn’t be so hard on myself, I’ve come so far in the last few months!
Running on Faith says
You are so spot on with some of those lessons! You are NOT someone else! That is really hard to accept. I also realize the importance of recovery, rest, and balance.
I put SF pictures! When I was running, i brought my camera.
That’s a good one too! Knowing when to rest and allowing yourself ample time to recover.
I did see the pictures!!! And, of course, LOVED them!