Here’s what I’m starting to realize about quality over distance

I ran a total of 17 races in 2015 and in between that, over 200 runs, either track sessions or runs from home. This is according to my Strava activity log. It was the year I ran 2:44 (my PB’s) for Pick ‘n Pay, Sarens as well as Kaapsehoop half marathons. By the end of the year I was exhausted. I was tired of running and when I started 2016, I couldn’t find that running mojo again. Hey, it happens and I did consciously decide that I would rest a bit and focus more on improving my form, as I’ve shared in my blog post about sessions with my bio, Mari.

One of the insights that came out of a session with Mari is that I should focus on shorter distances for now, while I strengthen my legs and core. As she put it, “There’s no point running half marathons every weekend, hating the run and not being able to walk for days afterwards.” She suggested that I rather run shorter, manageable distances, but use the run to focus on key elements of improvement. She was right.

I’ve realized that, for me, it’s not about the distances, but the quality of the run. While I don’t have any big distance running goals like KK to run Comrades, my running is currently for enjoyment and improvement. It’s taken a few weeks but when I was analyzing my Strava results, this slowly started to sink in. Here’s what I started to notice:

  • I am able to get home from work and run 3kms easily and still get  back sweating and bursting with those amazing feel-good hormoneseasy-run-3km
  • Running the shorter races requires less intensive road trainingkaapsehoop-10km-race
  • I am starting to see real improvements in the races I’ve runrac-5km-race

Seeing these results has made me feel excited and motivated and has also helped set proper goals for 2017, knowing what I need to do this year. 

Sometimes, we are too focused on the wrong things and before we look, we’re disappointed that we didn’t see the results we wanted to obtain. 

It only takes a bit of slowing down and self-assessment to get back on track. I’m also running more km’s under 8mins/km. Did you see that? *grinning*

Focus. It’s on my list. #microblogmondays

Focus.

I’ve started my week off with a new plan. A new strategy. And it’s all about focus. I find that I am easily distracted by everything else but ‘proper’ work all day long.

I spend way too much time and energy on stuff like emails and trying to clear my inbox. I waste more time doing too many little things than focusing on what matters. And do I even know how to sift through all the noise and know what this is?

I need to start doing work that adds real value.Lists

My first ‘back to basic’ action item was to get into the office this morning and make a list of everything I need to do this week.

First task – Done. *tick*

Focus.

I also need to find more time to blog instead of letting all the thoughts swim around in my head. I’m drowning. So here goes. Focus.

Losing focus in order to refocus

On the eve of the Sarens half marathon, I lay wide awake in bed knowing something was gnawing at me inside with regards to my running but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I was unsure if I was over-training, if I was mentally or physically drained but something wasn’t right. After an hour of over – analysis, it suddenly dawned on me what was wrong. Here’s what I realised:

  • I keep comparing myself to other runners I follow on social media instead of focussing on my own running journey. In my mind, everyone seems to be running faster times and improving a hell of a lot quicker than me. (Really?)
  • I’ve constantly been improving my PB, yet after 7 months with Coach Dave, I am still slower than some of the familiar faces I see at the races. I can’t keep up with runners that I used to. Why not? This bugs me.
  • I am trying to keep up with my Running Junkie Two friends and frustrated that I can’t.
  • Once again, I am caught up in that mad whirlwind they call “Two Oceans” and desperately wanting to run a good time down in Cape Town in a race I really hate.

You see, it isn’t just one thing. It is a few things that added up to one major issue: I have lost sight of my goals. I have started to look around at everything else except at my own running journey and the progress I have made since August last year.

But it’s even more than that. Lying in bed at 00h35, I knew that I wanted to run Sarens faster than 2:46 but I had no race plan. No strategy. I didn’t even know what my average pace should be. How crazy that after so many months of running, I had not worked this out in my head!

Surely no runner should go into any race so unprepared. Surely it’s the same with life? With no plan, no vision, do we really know how to reach our goals and how to measure success? set goals

I need to go back to the drawing board. I need to reset some of my goals because the goal posts have shifted. And they should shift as I improve, right?

Sarens was a great race, by the way. I ran it in 2:44.