I say this with confidence because I am about to encourage you to incorporate a “hard” run into your regular routine. That means that in this writer’s opinion, our readers should make it a point to get out of your comfort zone–and away from the “fun” runs that we so much enjoy–and do a grueling two-mile “hard” run once or twice a week. Just get out and run–HARD!
There’s no escaping it: running hard means WORK! It also means that there is no escape from the not-so-wonderful experience of pain that comes from running hard. It hurts and it is mostly not much fun–except for the feeling of accomplishment from which your post-run pleasure is derived.
The idea here is to retard the aging process for a runner, and through my experiments, it is my belief that this can only be done by incorporating “hard” runs on a regular basis. We need to keep ourselves strong as we age, and in my opinion, it is very important to get in that fast-paced run once or twice a week.
We all have a training routine.
For those of us who do not race (or who do not race very often) it is easy to get into a pleasant routine of pure “fun” runs–which is of course one of the main reasons we run and enjoy our sport so exuberantly.
For those runners who race, I would assume that there is some kind of regimen undertaken in order to try to do one’s best on a given race day. Speed training on a track could be part of that regimen, and that would be great for those runners who enjoy it.
There are many runners, like myself, who cannot bring themselves around to the habit of so-called “interval” training on the oval. Surges on the road are better for runners like me. I am sure that we are all familiar with the term “all out runs” which some us are in the habit of implementing during the course of our regular run.
I suggest that instead of doing short “hard” runs during the course of our regular run (as in “I’m going to run full-on flat out HARD from tree A to tree B and then go back to my regular pace after that.”) during our daily runs, why not just do some good old-fashioned flat-out “hard” runs in addition to our regular runs.
The important thing to bear in mind, in this writer’s opinion, is that we need these hard runs. We need to do them, training-wise, in order to really keep fit as we age. A hard work-out or two each week has so many benefits. I know from my personal experience that “hard” runs make me feel like I have achieved pure accomplishment. They also, by-golly, make me feel young, young, and younger!
We senior runners can do “hard” runs! Afterwards, we can take tremendous satisfaction knowing that we did it! We can do it! We can amaze ourselves! Talk about a runner’s high!!!
That being said, I now have to say this: Just be careful! The goal is to preserve our bodies by doing the “hard” runs, not injure them!
Strive to keep an even pace during a “hard” run. That said, I have to comment that an even pace is not as significant as knowing–by the sound of your breathing–that you are pushing yourself very hard.
Many runners try to run at an even, comfortable pace–so they look good to passing folks (or to folks that they are passing). When doing a “hard” run, some of us prefer to stick to the two or three mile runs, but others of us, with more ambition, prefer longer “hard” runs.
When I started running “hard” two to three milers–sometimes as often as five times a week–I threw the rules of “looking good” out the window!
I grunt and I moan as I run! Pain from the exertion starts to build and I and start yelling out loud to myself as I run “THIS HURTS!”, I yell, and “I HATE MYSELF FOR DOING THIS TO MYSELF!”. It’s a little unorthodox, for sure, but yelling, for me, releases the stress of the pain and discomfort that the “hard” run generates on my body. As a matter of fact, pushing myself to my limit during a “hard” run, all yelling aside, has turned into an addiction! Running on the edge of my endurance has become a pleasure that I want to duplicate, over and over again!
Okay so down to the nitty-gritty:
• If you run at a slow pace, day after day, there will no doubt be benefits to you physically–so don’t deter one from this routine!
• If you never change your routine and only run slowly each day, in this writer’s opinion, in most cases, you can lose your mental edge.
• My belief is that you have to have some “hard” runs, even if you hate every moment of the pain involved in the process–please keep your eye on the accomplishment instead in order to reap the satisfaction!
• If you have not integrated “hard” runs into your regimen, and if you do not run in races, try adding “hard” runs to your running routine and see great results.
• I know from experience that what I am suggesting is not easy, but it is well, well, worth the price you pay in physical exertion!
Try out my suggestion, and then come up with your own personalized routine and send Senior Runner the results of your experiments and efforts. We’d love to know if, after trying it out, you would agree with this writer.
If you have a special training method you would like to share with us, please send us an email, we would love to hear from you!
As always, enjoy and best of health from Senior Runner.
Founder Of Senior Runners