New speedy goals

My long term goal is to run the Chicago Marathon in 2014. But what can I work on until I’m ready to start actually training for that marathon that will improve me as a runner?

A few of my running friends have been telling me for quite some time that I should be able to run faster than I do. They say I’m built like a runner, whatever that means. I’ve always just laughed them off. But, I’m a thinker. So quite often when I’m reflecting on where I’ve come from and what’s ahead for me, I think about their comments and I can’t help but wonder if they’re right.

After some recent comments, and an unexpected offer of help and mentoring, I have decided to work on my speed. So, I’ve signed up for a 5k race next Saturday to gage where I’m at right now, and I will do another 5k race in a few months to see if my time has improved. It’s going to be a ton of hard work if I want to see even the smallest improvement at all and I’m going to have to make some big changes to my usual training routine.

Here’s the plan as it stands today: I’ve upped my game for my Tuesday night runs by dropping my crutch (the 10 and 1s) and started running continuous, and I’ve introduced a speed workout into the mix on Thursday nights. I’ve also decided to add a cross training day to do some cycling in the gym (I just have to figure out where this best fits into my schedule). After next week’s 22k, my Sunday runs will be considerably reduced in length for awhile  in order to give my legs a bit of a break from the pain of the long runs so that they are better prepared to take on a brand new kind of pain.

I don’t know if I’ll succeed at being speedy or not, but I know what I have to do to find out – Focus on the goal, follow the training schedule, push hard and take myself out of my comfort zone, and dig in and keep going even when it hurts. And it will hurt. But anything worthwhile is worth the pain right?