Monday, June 19, 2017

Why I Wasn't Improving my 5K

I'm sharing some things about improving my 5k time today, but first, how was everyone's Father's day weekend? Friday started out as kind of a lazy day. We stuck around the house in the morning. I made a new batch of granola. You can find the recipe HERE. I alter it just a little so there's not quite as much sugar in it. But it's a super easy and delicious recipe. 

Friday afternoon we made a Target run. There was something I needed to pick up, but I honestly don't know what it was, and I don't know that I even left with it. 

Going to Target right around dinner time was not one of my better ideas on Friday, the kids were not happy and would not stay in or by the cart. Even though I'm pretty sure we only got one thing on our list (ok, maybe two), we found V some great sunglasses. 

Saturday started out with a morning 3 mile run at race pace (which is not impressive at the moment, I have some work to do). I did some stretching while the kids played in V's ball pit. 

The rest of Saturday was for camper stuff. We are finally feeling like we are making some progress, there will be pictures soon.  Around dinner time, my parents came down to see the progress and then came to Lowes with us to pick up some more camper supplies.  My mom is way better at shopping with kids than I am. They were entertained the entire time. They like her to drive down the aisle crazy. 

Sunday was a great Father's day. We went to church, spent time with family and had lots of yummy treats.  Trevon and V did a little tree climbing too. I wish this picture wasn't so blurry.  We are blessed to have such a great Daddy to our family.

When I first started running, I remember I would train so hard all week long and then when the race came I never felt like I was improving. I could see my teammates always PR-ing. Always improving and moving forward, but I wasn't. I would get so frustrated, and I would push myself even harder the next week, just to have the same results during the race as the week before and the cycle would keep going.

I remember after one race, I came home so frustrated. My oldest brother, who was my role model in running, was there and he could tell that I wasn't happy with how my race went. He had noticed the last few races that it hadn't gone as well as I hoped.  I started to vent about how I worked so hard, I trained with the boys running group instead of the girls running group even. I always gave it my all. So why wasn't I improving when it counted (race day)?

He listened to me whine and then he started to explain things to me in a way that I hadn't thought of before. He told me not to push myself so hard during my practice runs.

There were a lot of reasons I wasn't improving. I wasn't getting faster, placing better, I wasn't even PR-ing in most races. I was pushing myself too hard all week long, by running with the boy's group, that come race day my body was worn out and ready for a break. When it wouldn't get that break, I would get injured. So then the question was when DO I push myself? When DO I give it my all?

I think there's probably more than one answer for this, but here is what I've learned works for me. I don't race every week anymore, so I give it my all more than once a week.  I start the week off with a strength training day on Mondays. Then most Tuesdays I push myself hard, I give it my all in some kind of speed run.  Wednesdays is an off day for me. Unless we have a schedule change, most Wednesdays are too busy for me to get a run in, plus my body could use a break day every once in a while. Thursday is my hills day, I don't push myself hard, I do an easy pace, but I make sure to add hills in there. Friday is kind of a wild card day. I do whatever I feel like I want to do.  In a perfect world, Friday would be my long run, but it really just depends on how much time I have.  Saturday is my "race day". Like I said, I don't race every week, but on the weeks that I don't, I pick a 5k course around my neighborhood and I run it as if I was running a race.  So that means I'm giving it my all twice a week.

When we take a few easier days during our week and when we take our off days (Like everyone needs to be taking), our bodies have time to recover and rest and regroup for our next run. If we push ourselves to the limit every time we run, we are never going to have the strength and energy to push ourselves even harder on race day. We will probably end up injured, burned out, and tired and then you start to feel discouraged and frustrated and the cycle will start again. So we need to make sure that you're giving your body the breaks it needs and that you're listening to what it's trying to tell you. 

What is your favorite kind of run?

How many times a week do you give it your all?

How often do you race?

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