By Nicole Cesare for Philadelphia Runner
Woof, winter is still wintering, huh? That was the story of Week 3 for me.
I'll admit, when I did my long run the day after the first nor'easter, I felt pretty hardcore running around downed trees and fighting the intense winds. I did 6 miles down Broad Street and into The Navy Yard, which is a really cool spot to run if you haven't checked it out. There are old battleships, a bunch of tugboats, and some intriguing new developments. And, of course, it's a nice dry run for the last quarter mile of the Broad Street Run.
Then the second nor'easter came, leaving snow and ice on the sidewalks, and pushing me to the gym for my training run. And now, with rumors of a third nor'easter on the way (at least as I write this), I'm pretty much over it. Definitely looking forward to runs a few weeks from now, when flowers will start blooming and I can retire the fleece leggings.
Speaking of the gym, I imagine most runners feel some type of way about the treadmill. I don't mind it much for shorter runs, but anything beyond about 40 minutes and I start to get pretty antsy.
However, I do really enjoy doing speed runs on the treadmill. For a long time, speed runs were not in my vocabulary. I figured bodies built like mine weren't capable of speed, so I would just plug away at my steady pace and focus on endurance. Recently, however, I've been using the Nike Run Club's guided runs, including their speed runs. They make a treadmill run so much more engaging, and have helped me see that even at my turtle-like speed, I can differentiate between a 10K pace, a 5K pace, and a mile pace. I'm not sure if this will translate to a faster race time, but at least it gets me through the training runs.
Which brings me to my goal for this year's BSR, which is identical to my biggest concern: completing the race without injury. I've spent the last two summers in physical therapy for various running-related ailments, and again, I'm over it.
The first round of PT I went through was really educational, and working my way through an injury made me feel even more like a runner. After all, most runners, regardless of size or experience level, deal with injury at some point. It felt like I had earned a runner's merit badge.
But then I got injured again, and all the novelty was gone. I didn't mind the actual physical therapy--it's helpful for learning different exercises, you can see yourself make progress, and you get stronger all-around. But I really don't want to have to do it AGAIN any time soon.
So, I'm keeping up with my stretching and the exercises my therapist gave me when I 'graduated.' I'm doing three runs a week rather than four to avoid overtraining, and I'm incorporating walk breaks into my longer runs (check out the Galloway method if this sounds interesting).
And I'm not setting a goal pace, because I just want to get across the finish line feeling strong and fit, no tugboat necessary.