Running Faster


Get out of your Comfort Zone!

You have probably heard this phrase bandied about a lot by gym instructors and personal trainers and of course my favorite Lazy Runner quote of all time is when I told Mark of Noosa to get out of his comfort zone and he replied "I'm out of my comfort zone when I get out of bed in the morning".

Being out of your comfort zone is a very individual thing but you usually know when you are's usually when you are not enjoying yourself, you are feeling pretty bad, you want to stop and you know you mustn't and you may even feel sick..your legs are turning to jelly, your breathing is heavy, you can't talk, you are hot, sweaty and even a bit you need me to keep going? Now I know you are going to say that Lazy Runner says  running is supposed to be fun, easy and enjoyable..and it should be..BUT... on one day of the week you need to be feeling all the horrible things I just described (or at least 3 of them)...WHY? you ask.

Muscles and your heart/ lung (Cardio) capacity work when we exercise and they get stronger and more efficient, when we exercise to a point and then stay at that point (or in our case distance and time) our muscle and cardio stay at that point as well. For instance, If I'm not training for anything, I tend to run three times a week at about 10km a time in about under an hour..lovely, easy work for me, and it is keeping my fitness steady and I am doing the required amount of work to meet my fitness needs...however, I'm not improving. As soon as I make one of those runs 12km, I feel it. As soon as I run one of those 10km under 50mins, I improve it, as soon as I make one of those runs a tough cross country or put hills in I improve it..I'm going out of my comfort zone to improve my fitness,

An example of that was this morning..8 days ago I ran a marathon in under four of the toughest in the world, or so I'm told (Bangkok) 31 degree you would think I must be pretty fit and there's nothing I can't do in running.....WRONG. I emailed Richard (Noosa) yesterday asking could we run together this morning (always something I live to regret!), yeah no worries meet at 5.30 at the Yacht Club. We decided we would run the 12 km (now I know that Richard ran that in 48 minutes yesterday ) so I warned him no speed stuff today (I was just looking after him of course!!). Richard didn't do any speedwork..for him...however, his speed and my speed are greatly the 5km mark I was breaking my own records and he was on a stroll, by 12km I was still running a great time for me but I was feeling all the things I outlined above...coming back I was trying to slow and of course he wouldn't let me...I kept telling him to take off and of course he wouldn' the time we got to Gympie Terrace he was talking about sprinting the last km, what he didn't understand was that I was already sprinting!! He got me back in 57mins, 10 minutes slower for him and the fastest 12km I've run in a long, long time. I was dead, I hated Richard, I had my head between my legs, and of course the only sympathy I got from him was "now you know how we feel on the Wednesdays". We did our stretches and I didn't hate him but I still wasn't his friend. We had a coffee and after that I liked him again..see recovery is everything! I was so far out of my comfort zone.

I felt great afterwards and that's the main thing. After all the distance stuff I've been doing over the past 3 months, this mornings 12km run was very different and so hard, but really invigorating.

One day a week push your limits. If it's with Lazy Runner, push until you want to puke!! (It will not kill you believe me). If it's the long run try to chase someone you know who is faster than you, or try to keep them in your sights on the whole run. Ask someone who is faster than you to run with you one morning, ask them to run a bit slower than their pace and a bit faster than yours, most faster runners need an easy run so that is fine and the company is always good. Start timing yourself and one day a week try to get a PB. One day a week, run longer..and alway remember to try sprinting the last km. One day a week be conscious that you are feeling that you cannot work any harder than you are are possibly working..and the physical symptoms should be expressing that.

Don't do it everytime you hit the road though, because you will start to hate your training, really enjoy your comfort running and then one day, usually the day you are feeling pretty good in yourself, do something crazy and hard. You will benefit mentally and physically from will feel better afterwards and you will improve your running.




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