What I’ve Learned from Kara

I’ve been reading/highlighting/underlining the heck out of the first few chapters of Kara Goucher’s book, Running for Women; From First Steps to Marathons.  I love it!  It’s elaborated on so many topics that I wanted to know about in greater detail that focus on running and training.  I’ve only read through the first three chapters, but I thought I would share with you three topics that really stood out to me:

1.  Kara’s take on runners:  “We tend to be an open-minded, whatever-you’re-in-it-for-is-fine-with-me group.  It’s all about what motivates you, whether that’s competition, health, weight control, meeting guys at races, or darn near anything else” (7).

This quote couldn’t be more true.  In every blog that is written by someone who has run anywhere from two blocks to twenty-six miles, they all share the same core personality traits: being open, supportive, show empathy, and resiliency.  There is absolutely no rule that excludes someone from joining the club.  With the exception of teachers, I have never seen another group of people who have a commonality be more accepting and encouraging of each other than runners.  If you cross the finish line first or last, it doesn’t matter.  You signed up, showed up, and they’re pumped up you’re there.  (Photo Source)

a MUST to avoid

2.  Routine VS Rut:  “A routine is enjoyable; a rut is not…A routine is a framework that evolves over time, but at any given point, it is serving its purpose in a positive, functional manner.  A rut doesn’t evolve, and as opposed to being a framework, it’s more than a prison” (16).

You can take this quote to a higher application than just your running routine.  Isn’t that why some of us started running in the first place?  Well that’s why I decided to begin.  I didn’t like how I felt.  I didn’t like feeling sedentary, and I didn’t have a lot of money to invest in a gym membership.  Also, running is something that I can do just about anywhere…just not in the halls or with scissors.   So I pulled myself out of my rut and found a great running routine, thanks to Hal Hidgon and my half-marathon training schedule.  I also think that you can avoid creating a rut-inducing, monotonous program by scheduling out your workouts at least one week ahead of time.  You may do the same types of runs or exercises on the same day of the week, but at least you can see, literally, what is coming up.  And if it starts to put you to sleep, you can get our your big eraser and glitter pens and jazz up your routine.  (Photo Source)
3.  “One of the most important early lessons each runner learns is that when you think you’re running as hard as you can, you’re not…That’s what building a foundation as a runner is really all about: gradually strengthening your body with moderate training, learning to make the most of every mile (especially by discovering how to run harder than you thought you could), soaking up experience, and getting to know your body” (40-1).
How many times have I been less than halfway through either a run or a strength training set and wanted to quit?  More times than I’d like to admit, and if I did you should at least double it to come close to a realistic number.  I have to give myself a pep talk, let the lyrics of my iPod drift into my head.  “You’re halfway done!  The hard part is over!”  “You can run one more mile; one mile is nothin!”  “Picture getting to cross off this scheduled run off the planner!”  “Super sweat soaked clothing is super sexy, Tigress.”  Yea, those are all legit.  Get off me.    I don’t think any runner would be ok with quitting at the point of their run when the first bead of perspiration budded, or taking their first deep breath.  Part of the high of running, and routinely running harder and longer, is feeling the strength and endurance of your body develop.  After a few workouts, we’re all secret Hulk Hogans when nobody is looking.  Don’t lie.  (Photo Source)
It’s great to read a book that makes you think beyond just the written words.  Kara’s approach to the mental aspect of training and running is incredibly helpful.  It’s very easy to want to give up or question why the hell you’re doing this B.S. 30 minute tempo run.  So far, Kara has hit on all the reasons why someone would want to start running and is realistic about some of the struggles.  However, if you’ve got the notion that running might be for you, GET THIS BOOK!  If you’re a runner, GET THIS BOOK!  If you’re looking to be inspired, GET THIS BOOK!  And if you’re Kara Goucher, COME BE MY TRAINER!

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