If you haven't noticed I have put up some huge numbers in the last couple of races I've done. Sure, I'm not winning any races (yet) but I've dropped my marathon time by 5 minutes and my half marathon time by 3 minutes. Those numbers are HUGE considering I've been running marathons and half marathons for 8 years.
So I've been asked by a few people, how am I doing this?
To me, there are basically three parts.
Firstly, I hired a coach. An expert. I don't have to think about coming up with my own training plans or worry about my paces. She does all of this for me. There are two things I love about having a coach. One, there is accountability. Every day I have to enter my workouts. There is no cheating; there is no hiding from the truth. Secondly, she is truth. When I told her what I wanted my goals to be, she believed in me without question. And when she believes in me, I believe in me more. Not that I fear her or anything, but I've always had this ingrained part of me that cannot disappoint people who believe in me, like my parents or coaches. She puts it on my schedule to run 7:00/miles, I'm going to run 7:00/miles.
Secondly, every workout has purpose. As Lindsay put it yesterday, I'm not really running all that many miles. And when I started working out with Coach, I really struggled to wrap my head around running so little. Now I'm a believer. I don't do miles to do miles. Every workout has some kind of speed work, even if it's only in zone 2. And speaking of zones, most of my workouts are done by minutes and heart rate zones. It's very rare that she assigns me a number of miles. Towards the end of my training cycle, I get to take the HRM off and run on feel. Truly I work out 6 days a week but only 4-5 include running. There are lots of other cross training including swimming, biking, weight training, and stretching.
Finally, I set my goals and they're something I want. I'm not running my races and setting goals for anyone else anymore. And the combination of having a coach and working out with purpose has finally caught my head up with my body. My body has always been capable of running these faster paces, but now I believe I can run them.
It's really not rocket science, but it's been a long 8 year journey to find the runner I have wanted to be. Now, I'm happy (and fast:)).