Thursday, June 26, 2014

Guest Post - Running for Fun vs. Time… Can it be both?

I have been stalking following Dani for quite some time now. If you don't read her blog, follow her on Instagram, tweet (no, I did not say twerk) with her on Twitter, like her on Facebook, then YOU, MY FRIEND, are definitely missing out! She is one inspiring woman... She has shed over 80 pounds (with the help of Weight Watchers, healthy eating habits, and an active lifestyle) and has gone from a self proclaimed couch potato to marathoner and beyond. She is proof that you can do anything you set your mind to, and I am stoked to be along with her for the journey (even if it is virtually). {PS I am also really honored to be the first blog that she wrote a guest post for.... YAY!} 

Running for Run vs. Time... Can it be both?

Ab-so-freakin-lutely! :)
But it takes balance and time.

PR stands for Personal Record.
A PR is fun, exhilarating, shiny and new! And maybe there is a little high that comes with it as well.
It is so very very true.
In June 2011, I rekindled my love of running after undergoing a microdiscectomy in my L4-L5 region of my back in January of that year. I was focusing that year falling back in love with running.
(Note: I started running in January 2005 and stopped in September 2006 after completing my first marathon and getting injured.)
By 2012, I felt on the top of my game and made it my mission to set some PRs as I had hit my goal weight with Weight Watchers (shedding 64 lbs) and my back was feeling strong.
But, I was blinded by the PRs.
What the heck does that mean?
There were plenty of times during the 28 races I did in 2012, where I completely lost the joy of running the race itself because I was so worried about pace and time rather than fun.
I became a slave to my Garmin. I stopped taking in the awesomeness (yes it is a word in my dictionary) of the race crowd, stopped looking at the scenery/crowd during the race and occasionally deemed the race a failure if I didn’t PR.
THAT my friends is NOT a way to run. In my humble opinion.
So in 2013, I made a pact with myself to live in the moment of the race, take the pressure off the pace and let fun be my #1 priority.
Almost immediately this new mindset paid off.
On January 12, 2013, I ran the Walt Disney World Half Marathon, had one of the best times of my running career… AND set a PR.
I mean the Run Disney races are special as you run through the parks, take pictures with characters along the way and run through Cinderella’s Castle…
… but even with that I realized during the race that I would set a PR.
I hadn’t really been paying attention to my Garmin during the race except to make sure my timing for fueling was on schedule.
It was an amazing feeling though. Being able to enjoy every step of the race, take pictures with every character along the way AND set a nice shiny PR.
But the best part was not sacrificing the in-race moments.
From experience and as a result of chatting with a ton of runners thanks to my blog and social media, I have compiled my top 5 tips to finding the balance to make this a reality … especially for new runners.
1) Run YOUR own race – As a new runner myself back in 2005 and then again in 2011, I got too swept up in comparing my stats and times to other more experienced or more talented runners. Rather than enjoying and living my own running story.
2) Trust in your training – The real work for the race is done before race day. You aren’t usually going to find a new found speed or stride or fueling method on the morning of the race.
3) The race is the party – This stems off #2. While training for the Boston Marathon during the winter of 2012-2013, Tedy Bruschi (former New England Patriot & head of Tedy’s Team, the charity team I run for) said to us that the Start Line was actually the Finish Line and the race itself should be treated as the after party. He was urging all of us – who were nervous for the impending marathon – to drink in the race, the spectators and the experience.
4) Seed appropriately – If you line up before the race with people who are projecting the pace you want, you can take the worry of looking at your watch and missing the scenery of the race. Many races have corrals based on estimated finish time or signs designating where specific paces should gather – use those to your benefit. If your race is small and doesn’t have signs or pace groups, don’t be scared to ask other racers their estimated finish times. One question could save you loads of bobbing and weaving through folks at a slower pace than you.
5) Flip the watch over – Instead of having the face of your Garmin/watch in your line of sight every time you look to to your left or right, put the face of your watch on the under side of your wrist. It takes more effort to flip the arm over to continuously check on your pace/time.
photo (13)
These tips have helped me turn from a pace-obsessed racer to a person treating the race like a party with a possible PR at the end! :)
Have you found the balance of running for time and running for fun?

1 comment:

Rachael P. said...

I've just started bracing this theory. I still do intervals and speed workouts, but I try not to judge my race experience on my pace and time. A PR is fun, but also is actually ENJOYING the race you paid and trained for. I don't let times, paces or anything else ruin running for me!