So, I’ve been running faster lately. I’ve been running with one of my friends a couple nights a week, and last week one of our runs turned rather competitive we weren’t quite racing, but we were definitely cruisin,’ averaging about 7:30 per mile (note: this is based on my internal “runners clock” and not any system of timing recognized as exact by anyone anywhere on planet Earth).
Then I went out and ran six miles at a similar pace the next night.
Feeling fast and confident, I decided to begin doing actual speed work. Crazy, I know! This week, I’ve done some strideouts after a couple runs to get prepared. Strideouts (also known as flying thirties) are an exercise that prepares your body for an actual speed workout. You start slow and build speed for 30-35 meters, sprint for 30-35 meters, and then slow back down for 30-35 meters.
Let me tell you, folks, it has felt goooooooood to go out and run fast for once. The first set of strideouts that I did this week wasn’t that great; I engaged in egregious overstriding and looked like a newborn calf. Tonight, however, I shortened up my stride and I felt like I was flying. I honestly surprised myself with my footspeed.
(Note: So as not to sound egotistical, I must note that I ran these with a friend who focuses most of his training on weightlifting and building explosiveness. He totally blew me away.)
After I got done, my legs felt like solid blocks of lactic acid. I actually had to stop early, because I was so gassed. Now, I have been tired during my training this summer. Very tired. But this was different. Before, my muscles would complain in a whiny, nasal voice and say “Emyeaaaah, I’m not used to ruuuunning. I’m tiiiiiiireed. This huuuuuurts.”
Now, my muscles were sounding different. Now, they have deep voices and New Jersey accents, and they say things like “Great workout, bro! Really feeling it! Let’s go spike our hair, spray ourselves with axe body spray, pop the collars on our polo shirts, and go hit the clubs!”
Obviously, I’m being facetious. But I really feel like I’m turning a corner in my running. I’m feeling less and less like a runner coming off a lupus related hiatus and more and more like a runner, period.
Actual, real, not-imagined muscles are developing in my legs. While I don’t have a classic runner’s physique by any stretch of the imagination, I’m becoming leaner and leaner. Most importantly, I’m moving faster and faster.
My legs hurt more than they have all summer today. Consequently, I feel amazing. I think I’m going to try and jump in a 5k before the summer ends and see how much faster I can get. Some abbreviated speed training is going to happen before that, and I am excited for it.
Hill repeats start next week. I’m pumped.