I’m happy to introduce you to Cait, a freelance writer and artist who has a passion for running I can’t even wrap my head around. She has a thing or two she can teach me about running and how to cultivate a passion for it. I bet she could run laps around me! Take it away, Cait!
I’m not shy about my slight, okay probably more than slight, obsession with running. You can’t really hold it against me though because it IS one of the best sports around, right?
But it’s not as if I loved it from the start, running is hard; no two ways about it, but what it teaches us extends far past the mere act of left foot, right foot, right. Running has made me a better, stronger person, no doubt.
I was highly competitive in high school and upon graduating I was fortunate enough to run professionally for Nike. I ran under the guidance of some of the world’s best coaches, experts in all areas of sports performance, some pretty fancy training equipment, and able to train alongside Olympians. Running is NEVER easy, but the friendships I developed among that team certainly took the edge off of it; it’s funny how much bonding can be done over a gruel-fest of mile repeats.
Some of the things I learned from training as an elite distance runner are [and you can read more tips and advice on my blog:
1) The ‘Extras’: There is more to improving your running that just running. Being more flexible allows you greater range of motion and better stride. A strong core enables you to stay upright as you tire and be more efficient. Drills, stretches, weight work, form work, hurdle drills, all of these ‘extras’ make a big difference. They also help reduce your risk for injury.
2) Recovery: Sleep is incredibly important for recovery and I can’t say enforced naps were a bad thing! We can’t all be so fortunate but not skimping on the zzz’s is important for runners. So is icing, massage and self-massage (think foam rolling) and giving your body that TLC. As runners we break down those muscles in training so we have to treat them extra nice to build them back up.
3) Easy and Hard Days: You need a CLEAR difference between your easy days and your hard workout days. The aim is to be able to run fast for those hard workouts, but if you aren’t allowing yourself to actually recovery between the hard sessions you won’t be able to run as fast as you should. Think of hard and easy days as black and white; if you start going too hard on the easy days you wind up blurring the difference and just wind up with a bunch of grey, only so-so runs.
4) Motivation: We ALL have those days where your running motivation lulls; in times like these I remind myself how I will feel after the run. I know that if I just skip it for no reason that runner ‘guilt’ isn’t worth it. Instead, I know that once I start those first few strides motivation usually picks up and once done I’ll be thankful I didn’t skip out. Finally, remember WHY you run and make sure to always keep that innate passion for it…keep running fun, that’s why you started it in the first place, right?
Running seems like a part of me, both from what it’s taught me and how it’s shaped me into the person I am today. In 2010 I was hit by a car while out running and nearly lost my right leg. The doctors told me I probably wouldn’t walk normally ever again and that running again would be near impossible.
I channeled the tenacity of a distance runner and worked like mad until the day that I could prove them wrong. In my struggle to return to my first passion I turned to my other passion for art as an outlet and it sparked in me the desire to create a line of running shirts that could help motivate and inspire other people to achieve their own goals, even if those dreams may seem impossible at the moment.
I've personally designed each shirt, each has a deeper meaning behind it, and are screened on tech-tees. I hope that my running shirts may ignite in others the drive to dream big and go for it. [see more at my store ]
If you are a runner the sport has shaped you as a person regardless of what level you train at. Running also opens us up to an entire community of people who ‘get it’ and don’t think us just plain crazy for actually WANTING to run. Though in truth, perhaps we are all just a little crazy, but crazy in the best possible way.
Thank you so much to Stephanie for allowing me to hog up some space on her lovely blog and thank you for reading. Happy running!