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May 4th, 2009 No Comments


Today, we’re going to stop talking and set you off on one of my favorite workouts that will, I promise, build character.

To get faster and stronger as a runner, I knew I would have to design a route that constantly tested and pushed both aspects of my training. I went to Google maps and plotted the distance of a home-centric Los Angeles lap: Melrose to La Cienega to Santa Monica to Crescent Heights – 2.19 miles. I knew the route was graded. It meant that no matter which direction I was moving, I would always have an up-hill and I would always have a down-hill. This is important. Monotony has its place out there on the road, just not in this workout. Every week for the past 10 weeks, as I crossed the finish and watched my times shrink (our aim), I felt strength. I felt like I was growing. That’s why I’m here, telling you to try it. If you commit, really commit to getting under the surface of this run, it becomes something bigger than getting in shape. 

Here’s the recipe…

Pick a smart route that’s graded and Google it. Make a strong but realistic choice on your distance. You can always add later. If you live in the city, pick a route where a stoplight won’t stop you, where you can always turn in and cut over without sacrificing time or distance. Obviously, a square route is optimal. 

Start strong.  The first lap should be your second fastest. Wind yourself slightly, it’s okay. Overshoot, it’s okay. Second two laps should be maintaining. Last lap is your anchor – your fastest lap. 

Attack the hills. Don’t fall behind on the climbs – they’re supposed to be nasty, let them be. Don’t coast running down hill – push that speed. If we’re always trying to better our time, these two legs of each lap are key. 

Run with grace. Don’t panic if you get tired.  Let your form keep you strong, and don’t let your mind tell you to stop.  Stride with confidence.  You’re the runner.  Everyone else is in their cars, comfortable and allowing life to be effortless while you are living it.

Be relentless. The body is going to give you a thousand reasons to quit…and the harder things get, the more intelligent and rational these reasons become. Don’t listen. Power through. This is good for you. This will save you. Listen to me instead, think about everything your body was telling you AFTER you finish. 

That’s it. It doesn’t matter if your laps are quarter miles or 10’s. It doesn’t matter if you’re sprinting or walking…as long as you’re making strong choices. If you don’t know what that means, eventually you will…or keep reading and maybe I’ll cover that next time. But for now, dive in. Find yourself a battle out there…

Accept it, love it, tell me about it.