10 Years of Running: Changes

>> Friday, June 15, 2012


I started running in a pair of Adidas trail sneaks I found at a discount store at the mall. I kept running in them for two years -- until the model changed enough and I got a black toenail because they didn't fit the same way anymore. I graduated to Mizunos for several years, Wave Runner, I think, at one of my friend's suggestions. Those got old after a while, so I tried the Asics Gel Nimbus and even Kayanos. Runner's World seemed to say they were all the rage, but they were so expensive and just not for my feet.

Then I tried barefooting for a while. I ran 17 miles once in my Vibrams. But my relationship with the Five Fingers lasted about as long as most Hollywood marriages do. (Stephen, on the other hand, is committed to Vibrams -- and me -- for life, it seems.) Now you all know I run in Nike Frees. I've been in them the last two years and, at least at this point, don't see going back.


This one's obvious. If you move towns/cities, your routes change. I did an entire post a while back that covered my first running routes. Ah, the memories. I guess more than the physical routes have changed, the way I treat these paths in my head is different.

I used to favor loops and doing several repeats of the same thing (for whatever reason, I don't know). Repeating the same stuff a couple times a week. Then I liked out-and-back runs. I HATE them now. Then there were the long, ambling loops when I was deep into marathon training.

At this point, I'm into random twists and turns. Not running the same ones several times a week. Keeps me guessing.

Club Involvement.

When I was in college, I shied away from running partners and getting too involved with the local club. To be entirely honest, those serious runners intimidated me. I'd overhear them at races making plans to meet up for an "easy 12-miler" on the weekend. AT that point, my longest runs were around 6 miles. 12 sounded grueling and anything but easy.

Now I understand that type of talk. And I'm guilty of it myself -- when you run a marathon or other longer/faster/crazier race, your perception changes. But even better: Our local runners club is totally into including EVERYONE, no matter the ability. I'm all in.

Gear and Fuel.

I started out sans watch. Then I got a basic Timex. I used to HAVE to run with a hat on. Hydration packs. Shot blocks. Gu. Homemade energy chunks. These days, I slap on my shoes and head out to clear my head. If I run long, I drop by the house and have a glass of water with a handful or cereal or the occasional Honey Stinger.

My running is much simpler. And all that performance enhancing stuff has never done much to help with my race times anyway.


It's true. When you're bitten with the running bug, you get the fever. Did I just mix two things there? Whatever. When I first started running, it was all I ever talked about, thought about, and dreamed about. College classes were in there, too -- but if I wasn't studying, I was running, signing up for races, or reading about, well, running.

Now my life is more balanced. Of course, having a blog focused on fitness means I get a little carried away sometimes with how much I think about best ways to do speed work, etc. But I'm much better at switching off the running and enjoying other facets of my life. Balance is good.


I don't think I'm the model of how to train smart. I am overly conservative. I am only now starting to engage in formal speedwork. I skip runs if I feel the slightest bit sick or injured. Still, my fitness level over the years from sticking with running has improved. So have my race times.

What I've done to supplement my running has always changed. Yoga. Strength training. Biking. Swimming. Running has always been in the mix, though. As a result, I have become a stronger runner over time simply by keeping up my routine.


Of course I always am interested in participating in different races or chasing specific times. But I guess what I mean in that my goals have changed is this: I don't race all races like I used to. I don't NEED to PR to feel good about a run like I used to. In fact, I don't need to race at all to have running in my life and stay with it.

This weekend, for example, I'm running a 20K. Slowly. And I'm cool with that. I have kept up with 10-milers, but nothing above that since the half marathon. My goal is to finish and not look at a watch once. I think some people think if you're going to do a race, you should definitely race to do your best. I disagree because "best" on any given day is influenced by so many factors. And there's nothing wrong with that.


I started running with a motivation to get fit, but more to lose the freshman 15. Then I got really into improving my times and distances. Things continually change, but as I have mentioned recently, my main motivation for running these days is to be a role model for Ada.

I also want to be a runner for life. That's pretty motivating, too.

What's changed in your running (or other exercises) routine over the years?

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