Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Advanced Maggotry II

Are you really ready for Advanced Maggotry? Take the following quiz:

  1. Have you been running (nearly) every other day for at least six months?
  2. Can you run for more than 30 minutes without stopping?
  3. Do you always resist the temptation to run two days in a row?

If any of your answers are No, go back to Beginners.
If all of them are yes, you might be ready for the next step.

How To Get Faster

  • When you're running nice and slow and then you suddenly feel all tired and weak and like you have to walk, instead break into a sprint. Just for a little way, then you can walk if you want. You can finish your run sprinting/walking or sprinting/slow running.
  • Do a faster run in a different direction that is much shorter than your usual run. (This works particularly well if you're pressed for time and contemplating not running at all.)
  • In general, try to avoid just doing your usual run faster. Your brain will tell you that it's impossible. You need to distract yourself.

How To Go Farther

  • Plot out an out-and-back run -- a straight line -- that is new and that is farther than you usually go. Make extra sure to go slowly on the way out. You'll feel fine at the turnaround, and you'll have no way to cut your run short at that point.
  • If you're having trouble adding distance to your usual route, it's easier to change the beginning of the route than the end.
  • In general, it's better to do one longer run per week rather than adding a little time on to every run. For instance, if you usually run 40 minutes, do one 60 minute run and three 40 minute runs rather than four 45 minute ones.

and lastly:

How To Sneak In An Extra Run

A lot of people have a problem with the every-other-day plan, because weeks, inconveniently, have an odd number of days. If there's one day you really can't run, you're forced into a pattern where you have only three running days every week. If you're ready for Advanced Maggotry, once a week you are allowed to have two runs that are 36 hours apart instead of 48. So you could, for example, run Tuesday evening, Thursday evening, Saturday morning, and Sunday evening. It means you add in one morning run if you're an evening runner or one evening run if you're a morning runner. Do not abuse this privilege. You may have four runs per week MAXIMUM.

Other suggestions?

Oh and p.s. I do have a twitter thing now. We'll see.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Running Ruts

In a rut? Tired of running? Too bad! You have to do it anyway.

But there's ways to get you over the hump. Here are 10 ways I've overcome running ruts:

  1. Hack a new trail: change up your running route. If you're running in the city, find a bit of country. If you're running in the country, find a town. If you're running by water, look for some hills. This is starting to sound like that creepy Runaway Bunny story, so I'll stop, but you get the idea.
  2. If you're running on a treadmill or track, run someplace real instead, for chrissake.
  3. If you still can't run three miles without having to stop and walk, run more slowly. Even if you're being overtaken by elderly nuns, the kick from having run the whole way will make you want to keep it up.
  4. Run away from home. Some of the most memorable runs I've had have been in new places. Search "running routes in ____" online and you'll find all sorts of suggestions, often including safety tips. (My all-time favorite run was on Santorini in 1999, and I doubt it will ever be surpassed - I mean, come on, it's Santorini - but I've had great runs in lots of odd places, including the industrial wasteland near O'Hare airport, where I came face-to-face with a deer.)
  5. Buy new shoes.
  6. Buy new laces if you don't need/can't afford new shoes.
  7. Find a running partner.
  8. Ditch your running partner. (Tell them it's not them, it's DoctorMama.)
  9. Sign up for a race. (Note that I have done this exactly once, and it was a marathon, which has its perils. I'd do a race again, but only if it started after 10 am, which they NEVER DO. Why?! They are discriminating against us stiff late runners.)
  10. If your significant other is putting up a fuss, tell them that running will make you less crazy, and this is good for everyone. If they continue to whine about it, give them a demonstration of crazy.
What's worked for you? And/or where was your all-time favorite run?