Do you run to compete against others? Or do you do it for yourself?
I tend to be a little introvert so I definitely run for myself and against myself. I have noticed I am constantly trying to better previous marks. The funny thing is that, most times, whenever I have a breakthrough, I think "there is no way I am going to better that performance", but, one thing I have also learned with running is that if you keep I consistent, more often than not, you end up surprising yourself with more and more breakthroughs until you start gaining confidence in yourself and want to do the next run to see how much better you can outdo yourself. Here are a few points to consider before running.
• Dress conformable. Don’t overdo your outfit. You only need a shirt, shorts and a good pair of running shoes. Professional clothing is not necessary for amateurs so keep it simple.
• Get to the trail/track hydrated. Let’s face it, carrying a water bottle for a one-hour-or-so run is not going to help your hydration and rather will hold you back.
• Run light. Forget about the gadgets and stuff, like the water bottle, hip pouch bag or even the iphone or itouch. Even car keys are a distraction, I have even come to learning the keyless entry code of my car so that I can run as light as possible.
• Strategize on your route. Lake Fayetteville trail (check previous blog: http://alberto-albertosblog.blogspot.com/2011/06/am-i-in-best-shape-of-my-life-at-age-45.html) is a great training trail and I stick to it whenever I can put one full hour on my running any given day. Lately, this summer season, temperatures have reached triple digits, something a little unusual for the northwest Arkansas area but it’s either you do it or you don’t. I have chosen the former and thus, have endured 98-100 temperatures, so what do I do? Of course I wait until the evening, about 7-7:30 pm and run counterclockwise, starting on the veterans park, if it is in the evening, because the first part goes through the woods, completely shaded and by the time I reach the open, paved, section of the trail, the sun is setting or at least very low. Temperatures are still in the upper 90s but at least sun does not hit you directly as that open section of the trail is shaded by then and you can also feel a light breeze.
• Time yourself and know your landmarks. By knowing your landmarks and the time it takes to get there, you can measure progress.
• You may laugh about this but if you can run with an empty stomach, or even better, empty bowels, your performance running should be improved. Most times, I go for a run after work and what I do is take a light lunch and certainly no dinner before my evening runs.
• Push it. Make and extra effort and push yourself harder, even if it is only for short stretches of your run and then slow down to catch back your breath. Take advantage when going downhill and, even if you feel short of breath, push it. It’s not that hard when going down slope, simply lean your core body a little forward and let gravity provide your legs the incentive required to move them faster. You know what I mean when you do it.
Considering some of these points before running will take a starting , self taught, runner, ahead in the achievement of better shape.