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Spring Training: 4 Ways To Run A Different Race

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Spring is here and I can’t wait to lace up and gear up for a RAD training season. Yes I run all year long, but there’s something about the crisp air and layer-less fun that running in the spring provides that really rocks my world. That, and I usually run my annual half marathon in the spring. This year it is the Airbnb Brooklyn Half, the largest half-marathon in the country, again. Last year’s race was my first go round with this infamous borough’s race, so I’m looking forward to hitting the ground running with a different mindset, body, and power this year. Here is a little bit on how I plan on “running a different race” this spring.

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1) Run For Fun

Feels just like yesterday I was running my first half marathon. So with #7 on the horizon in just a couple months I can say that the one thing that has remained the last few years is that I always try and make my runs fun. Whether it be taking dance breaks under the bridge in Harlem while running in Central Park or just doing what I call a crazy run – a run where I literally change directions and routes every half mile (don’t worry, thanks to my GPS apps I don’t get lost).

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2) Running Hard Isn’t Hard

Considering that exercise induced stomach issues kept me from really training last year (think unbearable cramps for 2-4 hours immediately after running more than an hour), I am still trying to find the balance between wanting to just have a pain free training season and wanting to push myself and run “hard.” Hard meaning taking on my tempo runs like a boss. Usually I play it safe on my tempo run days out of fear of being knocked out the game with cramps post run, but this year I have been experimenting with intensity in a way that has been so far so good (knock on wood). I just added, in my opinion the best treadmill class ever, Precision Running to my Equinox teaching line up. It is a “balanced interval training experience” (based on the BITE method) that makes running hard not only possible but safe and super effective. This season I will replace all my tempo runs with this class and do one medium distance and one long distance run outside for a total of four runs per week. It’s only been a couple weeks and I can already tell the difference. No stomach issues and tons of miles.

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3) Run The Distance

Speaking of those two outdoor runs, I plan on going back to my original approach to running when this whole half marathon addiction started back in 2011 – hello running music free. While this is the preferred approach of most competitive runners I initially started running in order to be alone and pray. An hour long moving mediation became a huge part of my life and sustained my mind, body and spirit in ways that made running an overnight necessity. However somewhere along the way I started bringing the party to my run almost every single time with the beats of 2 Chainz or Lecrae. Still a moving meditation, but definitely a distracted one. So this year I am kicking it old school and only focusing on running the distance in silence. I’ve run the same loops for several years now so I don’t need a gadget to tell me how long I am running anymore. Also how fast I’m going is irrelevant to me at this point. Combine all the above and I can honestly say that I am super happy running with my bestie above, and enjoying once again some #JCandRobbie time.

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4) Run A New PR

Lastly, while we are on the topic of time being irrelevant, I have also decided this training season that I will run a new PR (personal record). I truly believe that if you do the work then the work will carry you through on race day. I am running harder than ever, it feels safer than ever and consequently I’m stronger than ever (appreciate ya Precision Running). With that said I am pretty sure a PR is on the horizon for me. And not a “finally run a half marathon under two hours PR” – although that would be nice, but a run a half marathon without injury (more on this topic soon), without pain, without pressure and without gadgets or music. To do all the above would be the epitome of what a PR means to me – to set and crush a “record” that is “personal.”

Fitness fashion courtesy of Onzie. Running shoes courtesy of Mizuno Running

What are your training goals this spring? Can’t wait to hear all about them below.

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