I’ve mentioned before that currently I am not training for a race. I am training to be a faster runner though. I am following a somewhat loose plan I made up myself with the goal to improve my overall speed. We should always strive to do a little better, don’t you think? And I love having goals.
In short, my good intention (isn’t that what the road to hell is paved with?) is to start an 18-week marathon training schedule in January for a marathon I have my eye on in May. I would like to start that 18-week training schedule faster and stronger than ever. So this fall, that is what I am focusing on…becoming a stronger, faster runner. RB is working on a similar plan, though her time goals are a bit more aggressive than mine (she’s a faster runner than I am). But we are doing our long runs together because believe it or not, the long-run time goals are similar.
Here is a quick breakdown of where I am now vs. where I would like to be by the end of the year:
• Slow, comfortable pace for LSD runs (8+ miles) and for intense hill work (easy to converse, not breathing too hard): 9:30/mile
• Favorite, natural pace for short to medium length runs (3 to 6 miles) (not too hard, but not too easy, I can still talk, but it’s a little harder): 9:00/mile
• Hard pace for short runs (3 miles) (breathing really hard, feeling way outside my comfort level, not really able to converse outside of short grunts and dirty looks): 8:30/mile
The times above are all averages… obviously some days I am going to run a bit faster and other days I will run a bit slower. Also, if it is 80 degrees or more outside, that tends to make me run a LOT slower.
So my goals for the end of year are as follows:
• Slow, comfortable pace: 9:00/mile
• Natural pace: 8:30/mile
• Hard pace: 8:00/mile
Those are fairly aggressive goals, don’t you think? I have been working pretty hard on them though since August, and I am really trying to maintain a consistent running regimen…and we all know how hard that can be with no scheduled race looming on the horizon. No race and a busy work schedule, 3 children, a husband, and all that comes with the territory can impede even the most dedicated runner’s training regimen. Oh and I really hate getting up before 6am so scratch getting the runs done before the sun comes up…at least for now.
So what’s the best way to stay motivated, inspired, and on target with achieving my goals? For me, it’s through reading about running… a LOT. I devour my Runner’s World magazine each month, I love reading books about running and marathon training, and of course I love cruising the internet looking for great websites and blogs. I thought I would give you a run-down of some of my favorite blogs and websites I like to visit when looking for running inspiration and motivational tips.
Marathon Mama – I just recently discovered this one. She’s funny and tells great stories. She just qualified for Boston and it was inspiring to read about the hardcore training she put herself through to achieve her time goal for a BQ. Can’t wait to see what’s next for her.
Feet Meet Street – This guy’s sarcastic and witty and I always get a good chuckle out of his posts. Unfortunately, he doesn’t post all that often, which is a bummer.
(never) home makers – This is an upbeat, creative, healthy living blog, but Ashley writes a lot of great posts on running and motivation. It’s very reader-friendly and one that I visit daily. Ashley and I “found” each other last fall online when training for the Philadelphia Marathon. We were following the same training schedule for the same race, and it was cool to have that connection.
Not Unless I Am Being Chased – Bethany writes some really funny posts. I have lol’d a number of times at some of her more random stuff. I found her when I was training for a half marathon last spring, and have really enjoyed her posts describing training for her first marathon this fall.
Lehigh Valley Running Scene – this is a great resource for runners in the Lehigh Valley area in Pennsylvania, and even though I don’t live in Lehigh Valley, I enjoy it. There are runner spotlights, product reviews, book reviews, and lots of tidbits of great running info.
Sneaker Sister – I just recently discovered this blog too. It’s by the same person who does the Lehigh Valley Running Scene site. It’s more or less her weekly training log, but I love reading about her training sessions. She is an incredible runner and inspires me to push myself beyond my comfort level.
Hal Higdon – Yes I am a geek because I love going to the Hal Higdon training website. Go ahead and pick a training schedule and then click on the descriptions he gives for each week of training. I loved reading those little descriptions before each new week of marathon training last fall…it was like opening the little flaps on a Nativity calendar at Christmas. He’s just awesome and has a training schedule for every type of runner and every type of race. It’s like having a virtual coach and father figure all rolled into one.
Runner’s World – If you haven’t checked out the Runner’s World website, do it right now. My favorite is the Runner Spotlight section, but there is a ton of great info on this site.
There are some other great blogs I follow on a daily basis (check out the widget on my right side bar), but what I included in the list above are blogs that either primarily focus on running or have a heavy lean toward running.
These blogs and websites are just a part of what keep me inspired and motivated to try and improve my skills as a runner. My family and friends are probably my biggest inspiration to push past comfortable running and into more competitive running. But when I am feeling down or needing a little inspirational boost or just want to feel a part of the running community, I can check out any one of the above blogs and feel a little boost in my motivation to be a better runner.
What inspires you? What are your favorite books, websites, or blogs to visit for a little running inspiration? I would love to hear from you.