my secrets to running success

I ran another race on Saturday that supported the cross country and track programs for the school where I coach.  Normally I would dedicate a post to a race recap, but really, it was pretty much like every other race I’ve ran lately.  I started out slow, passed people as I went, and found a comfortable pace I could keep for the entire race.  Plus, I took absolutely no pictures since I try to keep where I work and coach private for the most part since I work with kids and want to respect their privacy as much as possible.

I was actually pretty nervous about the race and didn’t really know what to expect.  There were only 65 people running since it was a small, local race, but several of the people running were actually the high school cross country runners, 2 of which went to state a few weeks ago.  I knew both of them were faster than me, so I was pretty sure they would blow me out of the water with their time, but to my surprise, I ended up passing them in the first mile and winning the race by a good 2 minutes.  I not only surprised myself with another great 5K time (20:16 – not a PR, but certainly a time to be proud of) but I had a few people come up to me afterward telling me that I had impressed them.  It left me beaming with pride and happy with all the hard work I’ve been putting in to my training.

IMG_3638

I’m feeling really great about my running lately.  I am in better shape now than I think I even have been, even before I had MacKenna.  I’m not PRing every race, but my times are improving and I’m running faster than I ever have been, both in training and at races.  I would love to say that it’s just hitting my times during 400 repeats and tempo runs, but it comes down to more than that.

1. I’ve increased my endurance.  A few months back, I was doing some long training runs with a running group.  We met every Saturday for about 2 months and run anywhere from 4 to 11 miles.  I pushed MacKenna at every single one of these runs which really helped me improve my strength and power, but what really helped was running slower.  I never thought running slow would actually make me a faster runner, but I really feel like it has.  Instead of running 11 miles in less than 90 minutes, it took me almost 2 hours, meaning I was on my feet for a much longer time.  Building up that endurance has helped me feel comfortable running faster for a longer period of time.  I no longer feel like I’m going to die at the end of a race and actually have some energy to push myself at the finish.

Stroller run

2. Running more often.  This sort of ties into the endurance thing as well.  I am absolutely NOT an endurance runner, and I am starting to realize that more and more.  My least favorite runs are long runs – I HATE them.  If I never train for a marathon again, I honestly don’t think I’ll care.  But, I know some of the keys to being successful with running is weekly mileage.  I simply do not have the time to run more than a few miles every day during the week and I refuse to run more than 8 miles for a long run.  So, in order to build up my weekly mileage total, I’ve added an extra day to my weekly running, from 5 days a week to 6.  Most of my runs are between 3 and 5 miles, but the extra day has helped me average between 25 and 30 miles a week, which I feel is perfect for my busy schedule and for my running. 

3. Regular visits to the chiropractor.  I used to work for a physical therapy company and was always anti-chiropractor.  But after Matt started going a little over a year ago and was actually able to start running again after chronic injuries, I decided I would give it a try.  In the year that I’ve been going to them, they’ve “healed” minor injuries I’ve had in a week’s time and have helped me feel more “comfortable” with running.  I don’t really know how to explain in, except that my body just feels better when I run.  It’s amazing what a little adjustment to get your body back in alignment will do for you!  Now, I know when it’s been almost a week since I’ve seen them because I start feeling those little nagging aches and pains again!

I don’t really feel like these are secrets at all, just things that I’ve started doing that I think have helped me improve as an athlete.  I am also seeking to understand what is going to make me a better runner, and lately, these have worked for me.  Makes me wonder what would happen if I ever get my eating back on track!

  • You are a speed demon!!

  • MIZ

    ahhh trying chiropractic has been on my list for 44 years 😉
    must
    try.
    MIZ recently posted..Comfort food.

    • Kristen

      You must! I refer everyone to my chiropractor! Changed my life! 😉

  • you know I was going consistently to the chiro and did love it. I just haven’t found one in Orlando that I really like so I stopped…ok you’ve gotten me ready to find one!
    Amanda @runtothefinish recently posted..Stretching is Not Yoga

  • Looove the Chiro. Where do you go?
    Courtney @ Journey of a Dreamer recently posted..BAMR Bands Review and Giveaway

    • Kristen

      I go to Midwest Family Wellness (formerly Fink Chiropractic) in Cottleville.

  • Jen

    Congrats on another great race!

    I agree with all of your points and am SO happy you mentioned the chiropractor. It’s so true – before Jeff became one I thought my “normal” feeling was “healthy” but it couldn’t be further from the truth.

    • Kristen

      Seriously! I thought I felt normal until I went to the chiropractor. Definitely has made a difference in my running!

  • I am much much much slower than you, but the stroller has helped me become a stronger runner for sure :). I’ve been searching for a chiro. I’ve been to 2 different ones, but they no longer take my insurance so I need to find another.
    Kristen @ The Running Mom recently posted..What I love lately

    • Kristen

      I totally agree! Stroller running definitely makes you faster!

  • Nice job with your running times!

    Back when I was fast (ish), I didn’t need a chiropractor. Now that I am older and slower, I don’t think it would make me fast (ish) again 🙂
    Debbie @ Live from La Quinta recently posted..Monday Runday: 5 More Running Questions Answered. Plus the Week in Running

  • You’re such an inspiration, Kristin!! I go to the chiropractor every 3 weeks and it’s amazing – makes a HUGE difference.
    Megan (The Lyons’ Share) recently posted..Quick & Healthy Crockpot Turkey Vegetable Soup