After running the Savannah Half-Marathon in November, I needed a break. My body and mind needed rest, time to heal and less stress. I didn’t stop running but I did cut way back on my mileage and my intensity. To sum it up, I needed a change. I’ve been going pretty hard in my training and preparations for my half marathons over the past year and it was time for a change. Life came at me unexpectedly, again. And as in the past, I was forced to make a change. So, we’re one month into January and here I am. I just finished my first race of the year, a 5K and I got a PR! Whoo-whoo! I made a goal, set my mind to it, determined what I needed to do and ran hard to achieve it. For the last month, I’ve changed up my workout program. I mixed some things up, tried some new things and eliminated some things (some by choice others just as a consequence). But, the biggest thing I did differently was alter my race day/night preparations and consequently this set the stage for my #Vision2012 revelation. I let go of what I felt I needed or had to do and went out and just pushed hard. Moral of the story, it’s ok to change. Accept it, embrace it and let go. I’ve set myself to stick to a comfortable running level and programed myself to only run “so hard”. We get so hung up on doing things a certain way and sticking to the plan that we sometimes sacrifice important things in our lives such as success, personal records, friendships, relationships and even jobs. I don’t know what my other races could have been like. I don’t know if my 5K time would have been better had I raced more of them. I don’t know because I didn’t give it a chance.
Racing is hard. Shoot, running is hard. The first and the last mile are usually the hardest. Something happens in those middle miles that will either make or break your race. You either slow, get comfortable, quit or run faster. In all of my races, I always slow down during the middle miles. The first mile is hard because you have to figure out how to pace yourself. The last mile is hard because you’re running on tired legs trying to make it to the finish. The middle miles test your strength and build you. You figure out how to adjust to rolling hills, weather and sometimes physical ailments (runner’s typically experience GI distress). The middle miles are where you learn to run comfortably hard. I know the phrase is contrary. I mean really? What is comfortably hard? Comfortably hard is keeping your target pace. It’s not letting the course deter, derail or defeat you. Comfortably hard is learning and recognizing your ability to dig deep and push hard.
A fundamental principle of training is overload. It means changing the stimulus by adding a greater stress or overload to produce an adaptation. In other words, you have to change in order to see results. You can’t lift the same 5lb weight for 12 repetitions and expect to see lean and strong muscles. To get lean, strong and cut you have to add more weight, alter the repetitions and mix up the exercises. It comes down to change and your body’s ability to adapt to change. I am a runner. I run according to schedule. I train according to a plan. I eat the same breakfast before every run. I follow a certain order before every long run. I race with a specific goal in mind. By nature, runners appear to be reluctant to change. I realized the importance of change on Saturday after my race. I can be good, better or mo’ better. I have a choice as to which type of runner I will be. #Vision2012. What are you willing to let go, go hard for and change to allow better things to happen this year? This applies to running as well as other aspects of life. What changes in attitudes, beliefs, friendships, relationships, careers or finances need to change to make you mo’ better in 2012? I am a witness that when you let go and are willing to change, you will run better, stronger and faster. I am a runner and I will run faster. #Vision2012, I am changing for the better.
Jada Richardson, Runner, Certified Coach and Trainer and Health Educator