A quarter of lessons

running, March 2011 If I ever stop learning while running, I'm going to hang up my shoes and do something else. As the first quarter of 2011 comes to an end, I'm realizing how much of a learning experience the past few months have been for me.

  • There are more important things in life than running. Take it away from me and I'll find something else.
  • My core was weak. Very weak. I've learned to take better care of my core; now I have to continue to strengthen it and get stronger and stronger. I think I've logged more core workouts in the past three months than I did all of last year. Seriously.
  • Last year I learned to enjoy running and not complain about it. I've learned to appreciate the ability to run even more in the past few months.
  • I've learned to love the Bosu ball — it's great for push-ups, birddogs, sit-ups, squats and just standing on, among other things.
  • I have learned to block other negative people out. Please people, stop complaining about the hill work or speed work or long run you HAVE to do. No, you don't have to do it. You're choosing to run. Don't tell me that you're happy with running and then approach it with a sense of dread. I'm actually staying away from Twitter as much as I used to because I'm kind of tired of all the negativity.
  • I feel that I am becoming a better runner with my new stride. My foot strikes for a minute the other day were just shy of 90 with one foot. In just a few short weeks, that's an increase of nearly 10 foot strikes per minute. Surprisingly my normal, everyday comfortable pace is about 20 seconds faster per mile than a month ago. That's without much intentional speed work. It feels weird, but when I slip into my old way of running, I can quickly tell how bad it was for me.

I have said to many people that injuries are the body's way to make you stop and think about what you're doing. I've certainly done my share of thinking. I have said to others in the same situation that they'll come back stronger and smarter. That's happened to me after every injury.

I'm not afraid to boast about being smarter and stronger, and I feel like I'm right there on the cusp of breaking through some barriers with my running. Whether that translates into PRs this year or just feeling better overall or training for another marathon, I'm looking forward to what the future holds.