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Train insane or remain the same: Kyle's Blog Posted on February 13, 2014


Are you getting tired of not getting any better? Running consistently but not seeing any significant results? Are you questioning why you even get out of bed and lace up the ol’ trainers anymore? If you answered yes to any of those three questions, you are not alone. I have been there, too, and I understand how difficult it is to break out. But I have found the key and it lies in a fun little phrase that rhymes…kinda… “Train insane or remain the same.”

There are two stages when one initially takes up running. The first phase is the one in which you find yourself succeeding at an incredible level. You may have started at only a few miles, but with a few weeks, those few miles turned into a few x 2 and now you have started running races. Those races started out slow, but you get faster with each new race and the confidence is pouring out of you like sweat on a nice long run. But, if you have been in the business long enough, you realize that there comes a point when you hit a plateau, a rut, and there’s no more dropping time like you were before. Now it gets harder to drop even a second or two off of your 5k and now instead of confidence that you’re wiping from your brow - it’s frustration. This second phase is the one that stops many a runner in their tracks. You may start to get lax with your stretching and maybe even start skipping runs for less strenuous activities like web surfing and couch potato-ing. But here’s the secret – just for you, John Q. Reader – there’s a THIRD PHASE!

You heard (read) me right! There’s a third phase in the running process and it happens when you finally climb over the brick wall you have encountered. Let me explain with a personal anecdote:

After I quit soccer for running full time in 2009, my 1600m instantly dropped from 4:58 to 4:48. My 3200m immediately dropped from a 10:58 to a 10:19. My 5k instantly dropped from a 17:31 to a 16:45. But 15 months later, heading into the senior year of track, I was only at 4:36, 10:05, and 16:42. This plateau phenomenon has an explanation and it’s actually quite simple…

See, when I first started training full time, my body got shocked and I was basically training insane just by running 45-50 miles a week (6 days). But, I didn’t go anywhere from there. I got up to about 65-70 miles in 7 days and my hard days hadn’t gotten much harder. I basically assumed that I would get better just by continuing to run. That is not the case. And after an intense winter of training insane (Nov 2010- March 2011), I dropped to a 9:31 3200m, a difference of 34 seconds or ~4 seconds a lap. And then in college I plateaued again. Two years of only slight improvements until I upped the mileage and started to hammer every workout harder than I’d ever gone. I moved up to 90-110 miles every week over the summer, cranking out 15-22 mile runs like it was nothing. I was dropping the pace on all my easy runs and killing the workouts and I went into cross country season with a 26:14 8k that, by the end of the year, became a 25:33 and a 10k (in xc) of 33:30 that became a 32:36 (both 10k times from the same course). The numbers don’t lie. The insane training had changed my game and I had not remained the same, know what I’m sayin’? And now in indoor track season, even though I haven’t been able to get in many good speed workouts on the track with all of the snow, I’m still dropping time and feeling fast.

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is – The only way to improve your situation, whether you’re stuck in a running funk or a life funk, is to take a risk! Do something crazy and see what happens! Go for a 3 hour run and see what happens (I did it – IT FELT GREAT!). Go base jumping, skydiving, ride a giant roller coaster, whitewater raft, ask that beautiful girl at work out on a date, eat like 40 oreos, raise some hell, live the life!! It’s not enough to just want to change; you have to need to change. You have to crave it, to covet it, to require it out of yourself to change. So go for it! Go insane or remain the same! I believe in you!

How sweet it is!


*Kyle is a freelance blogger for the More Miles More Smiles team!*

by Mark Spewak

1 Comment

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