It’s no secret that I struggled with my runs this summer. In fact, I think I whined about it quite a bit. After finishing up my triathlon season in mid July, I knew it was time to take a look at what was going on and see what I could do about it. With the help of my trainer, we started to tweak my running form. I was mad. I was frustrated. I started to dread running. The heat and humidity only exacerbated all my feelings. Then, slowly something started to happen. I began to realize that I had to take one step backwards, two steps forward to see improvement.
One Step Backwards, Two Steps Forward
Backing up just a bit, after having lingering Plantar Fasciitus issues for over a year, I decided to put more of my energies into the swim and bike legs of my triathlon season. I kept my run mileage (3-4 miles) and frequency (2-3 runs per week) low to baby the PF. I put much of my efforts into swimming and biking and it paid off. I had better bike and swim times this season than I ever have. I saw real improvement for the first time in a while. My triathlon run times started to suffer and by the end of the season, I was having my worst performance times ever. I had such a dismal run my last race that I didn’t even write about it all.
Back to Basics
For the past month, I’ve been quietly focusing on revamping my running. My trainer has been helping me go back to basics. We started with a pretty rough track workout where I concentrated on every step I took. We went back to body lean, arm swing, hill running and shorter strides. We added back in my one mile treadmill runs before our strength training sessions. Some days I felt so slow that I know I could have walked faster. I could no longer keep up with my friends on our group runs. How could this be so hard? Why was I even more frustrated than I was during tri season? Is this really a good idea?
Then, all of the sudden, about 3 weeks ago I started to feel a little bit better on my runs. I was starting to feel more natural again and not so obsessed with whether I was doing something right. I started to feel improvement. Almost by accident, I started running longer again and feeling good about it. The cooler temps and the rainy runs made running more enjoyable again. Those one mile treadmill runs are getting just a little bit faster. I started to look forward to my runs again.
I envy those for whom running has always come easy. I have always had to work to see improvements and perhaps that’s what makes it so rewarding to me. This time, I need to take one step backwards to take two steps forward. I still have a way to go to get back to where I once was but I am hopeful I can get there.