Saturday, May 5, 2012

Lessons I'm Trying To Learn

During my orientation week of business school (almost four years ago, holy crap), a marketing professor made a presentation about Nike and Reebok in the 1980s.

Both came out with campaigns with catchy slogans.
Reebok's was "Let U. B. U.", and Nike's was "Just Do It".  You can probably guess which one was the success and which one was the huge failure.

The Nike campaign featured some of the best athletes on the planet kicking butt and then the "Just Do It" slogan.  (The best athletes wearing Nike is still a thing! Ahem Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan).  

The Reebok commercials?  They were kinda weird.  Well see for yourself:


The commercial featured a bunch of people who look like they escaped from an insane asylum doing crazy things and wearing Reeboks.  Kind of fun to watch, but doesn't really make me want to buy the shoes.  No wonder the thing bombed, right?

But I like the slogan.

"Let You Be You".  (or U. B. U. if you use their ridiculous spelling). 

I totally didn't do that when I was training for Eugene / Ragnar.  

It's important to understand what works for your body and I spent most of the time telling my body that it was an asshole.  

I spent most of the last couple months really disliking running and feeling sore all the time.  Pushing harder than I should.  This definitely didn't work for me physically or mentally.  I felt myself get slower.   Or at least less motivated. 

I really want to improve as a runner.  I want to be faster, love it more, be able to push harder.  So here's what I'm trying to learn.   Basically I want to take a more balanced approach to training in the future and hopefully that will pay off in loving running more and faster times! 


1)  Recovery: It takes forever for my legs to feel ok after a race.  So I need to let my legs recover after working out.  It seems like so many of my blogger friends are able to bang out race after race and be ok.  I'm totally jealous they are so awesome but I gotta remember that's not me. 

2) Mileage:  Right now, it doesn't seem like I can handle 50+ mile weeks without having really heavy legs.  Maybe I could gradually increase my mileage, but a jump from around 30 to 50 in a couple months was too much for me.

3)  Cross Training:  Not only do I think road biking is a blast, I also think it makes me a better runner.  In the interest of increasing running miles, I stopped biking as much.  Bad idea.  Cross training is a good mental and physical recovery for me.

4) Treat an A race like an A race:   I am the world's worst planner.  This may sound crazy, but it wasn't until a couple months back that SarahOual pointed out that Ragnar Ultra and Eugene were a week apart that I realized it.  Accidental bad planning or not, I didn't treat either as an A race.  And yet I expected an A results.  My bad ;-).

5) Races are not like a Pop Tart: As Sarah so cleverly pointed out, marathons (and other races as well...and life), are not like a Pop Tart.   Insert hard training into microwave and pull out deliciously toasty race of life?  Doesn't always work that way.  That's life, right?

6) Keeping Up With the Badasses: Stop looking at other people's training and thinking "if they are doing that, I should be doing more".  A quick recipe to feel crappy about your own training and abilities.

7) Getting A Life: I forgot to get a life. I need to have more fun in a training cycle.   That means more going out with friends, finding cool events, hanging out with Tupac holograms, and going to the OC Beer Fest. Some of those things might not be true, but you get the idea.

What works for you in your training?  Any other suggestions for how I can become a better (but not stressed out) runner?

A quick shout out to everyone running tomorrow at PCRF and the OC marathon.

And if you haven't given to Team Gab yet, go do it!


  1. I sometimes have to "unplug" when I start getting burned out. I take a few days and really track - no GPS, no Mapmyrun, no splits, no thinking about my "plan" - I just run. That said, I also have to be wary about reading about others' training during this time because I always feel like I can do better, go faster, and need to push harder. But for the love of running...sometimes a girl's just gotta slip on her shoes and hit the trails!

  2. OMG, I soo needed to read that..."races are not like a pop tart." Wow, so RIGHT!

    We all have a lot to learn, and listening to our bodies, not always easy. Sometimes, we are right but usually, its our bodies that over rule.

    Just keep moving forward! Congrats on the marathon.- M

  3. Really great post Ms Bunny! As I enter into training for my next marathon in the next few weeks, I can't help but think about nearly everything you wrote above. I see everyone with their shiny new PR's and I'm still picking up the pieces of what should have been a great start to the new year thanks to my damn hip flexor. It's hard not to compare, it's hard to reel yourself in and be realistic about your fitness and it's hard to find a program that works without burning you out.

    Currently I'm still head over heels about running, mainly because I couldn't for 3 months. I know that feeling will probably fade, so to avoid burnout I'm hiring a running coach to help me train smart and get to the start of the next few races healthy and happy. I'm convinced this will be the extra push I need to not burnout. Happy running to you!

  4. Right on, sister.

    Given that your legs need ample race recovery, the same is true for hardworkouts like tempos, track, and the long run. Some people can squeeze all three in a week plus a race! I know when I did that I ended up with lower back spasms and missed my last 22 miler for Carlsbad. Now I know that I can do one, and occasionally two (not every week), speed/tempo per week safely.

  5. Aaaaaagreed. On all counts. When you figure it out, I hope you'll share.

    The only thing I've figured out is that, personally, I can only run 3 times a week. I trained for MCM last year using the FIRST program and I'm a much stronger runner because of it! (although MCM was my proof positive that races are not pop tarts) Maybe check out the book Run Less, Run Faster?

    1. I have that book! Yet I totally ignored it. Next time I am totally following it!

    2. Nice! It's the best :)

  6. Yesssss, on so many levels. For me, the cross training thing is HUGE. I'm not a runner by nature, and if I run too often, I start missing cycling, hiking, etc and it makes me resent running. As long as I keep all of my stuff balanced, I remember that I love them all equally :)

  7. Amazing advice!! I live by two things: listen to my body and have fun. If I'm not doing one or the other, I need to reset and evaluate things. I stopped running with a watch because it made me frustrated and hate running. Since then I've PRed in my marathon time by 10 minutes. By having fun, it helps me remember why I'm doing this in the first place and keeps me motivated and excited for the next race.

  8. I agree!! I'm constantly comparing my abilities to other runners and wondering why I'm not doing what they are training-wise. Why? Because I'm different and have different needs. We're all different and figuring out what works best for us is half the battle! I'm glad that having some fun time is a priority of yours, you deserve it!!
    Are you still planning on Vegas for your birthday?! I'm starting to plan my 30th. SO EXCITED!

  9. Great lessons! I'm sure we can all work on some of these. It took me a long time to realize the importance of cross-training, and I'm still trying to fully implement it!

  10. I agree with basically...ummm...everything you've said. All of it. Yup.

    You are wise beyond your years, Faster Bunny :)

  11. You are clever Bunny and I think you did outstanding. Still in awe of you dominating Leg 5 at HTC last year!

    And, I thought I was already following your b-loggy-blog! SOrry!