I began my running journey about 7 months ago, and in that time I have learned some big lessons! I mean, how could you not? I have so many people to thank for all of the advice and support I have received, but there is also a lot that I had to learn on my own as well.
I've recently had an epiphany about my own system of running. Starting last fall and into the winter and spring I used the Couch to 5K app (which I highly recommend). I did not follow it week by week, instead I listened to my body and pushed myself on my own terms. I got really stuck on the week where you were supposed to run 10 minutes, walk 3 and run another 10 minutes. This was supposed to be working your endurance up to running long periods of time without stopping to walk.I really liked this level of running.
The 10 minute thing just really stuck with me. I liked it. I was comfortable with it. It felt safe.
So, I used that system for my first long distance race. After Lisa mentioned that people run entire marathons doing 10 minute
bouts of running, I knew it was going to work for me too. And, actually it has a name! It is called the Jeff Galloway method, which I learned later from Emily that what I was doing was popular and many other runners used a system just like it.
So, I trained that way, and I ran the race that way. If after 10 minutes I could keep running, I did, but for 9 miles, I did not run less than those 10 minutes. I really pushed myself to keep going in those 10 minutes and it just worked. (Until the last 3 miles where I just pooped out!). During training runs I was less likely to stop within the 10 minutes because that just seemed silly to stop when I only had a few minutes to go, but if I wasn't keeping track of intervals of running and walking, I was more likely to stop running when I felt like it and not push myself.
Well, now I am training for the Des Moines Half Marathon and to keep moving forward and advancing as a runner, I decided to try and focus on running longer periods of time without walking. I've been trying to do that for the past couple months and over this past weekend I had a huge realization. I was not enjoying this anymore. If I wasn't enjoying it, then why was I doing it?
Sunday, I headed out for my scheduled long run of 8 miles. I decided not to try to run longer than 10 minutes at a time. Why mess with something that worked out so well? When I thought about all my long runs training for Dam to Dam, they were all enjoyable runs and I used my tried and true method of 10:3:10. So, I did my 10 minute run, walk 3 minute, run 10 minute again for about an hour and 40 minutes (slow, I know) and it was such an enjoyable run! I felt so good at the end of the 8 miles and I actually felt like I could go longer. I thought about maybe going for another couple of miles, but then I thought maybe I shouldn't push it. 8 miles is the longest run I have done since June 2 and an injury is the last thing I need.
So, the thought of giving up on training for this race is gone, and I'm honestly more excited than I have ever been! I have learned my biggest lesson as a newbie runner, don't mess with what works! I enjoy running this way and I do not plan on changing it anytime soon!
Do you tend to run long periods of time without stopping to walk? What is a big lesson you have learned in running?