Okay, that title might be a little dramatic. In my opinion, you should never train until it hurts, but being a little sore after a hard workout is totally fine. This past year, I realized something in my running form. Prior to 2016, I wasn’t really running. As my physical therapist and marathon-winning wife would put it, I was moving while shuffling my feet. *my wife really loves me.* Unfortunately, as hard as she was on me, it was the truth.
Looking back at my run times in 2014 & 2015, my average pace was around 9 minutes/mile. Not bad, but I always knew I could do better. Why you ask? Well, leading up to my first marathon, I was training hard and running pretty quick on my short runs. However, I wasn’t able to keep up a good pace for my longer runs.
In 2016, I didn’t start running until June when I signed up for a RunStrong class organized by Generation Care in Grand Haven. The class was made up of my fellow GHRC runners and I got the itch to start training again. As a result of taking the class, my running form changed and I found myself running better splits and staying strong on longer runs. That endurance was tested when I ran the Michigan Ragnar, a grueling 100+ mile relay run in the rain from Muskegon to Traverse City.
However, as it happens every year, by the time I get to the end of the warm months of training, I find myself burnt out. I was running, swimming, biking less in October, tried to ramp up in November, and then with the holidays (and nursing a nasty cold), December was a wash. Now I find myself in January with six months before my first big race and a little anxious.
So back to my original thought…Training until it hurts. Yes, you probably should not train until it hurts physically, but it will hurt mentally. Getting up early (or staying up late) to get in an extra 30-40 miles on the trainer is going to hurt you mentally if you’re trying to put in 9 workouts in 7 days. As a fellow runner said, when you train for a big race, you find yourself on certain days “having to workout, instead of wanting to workout.”
What’s great about training with the GHRC is that we all support each other’s goals and race objectives. There are runners of all levels willing to help you along the way or meet you on a Sunday to get in an open water swim (OWS), or tag along on a long run around Spring Lake (RASL). If you’re unfamiliar with the club, you can always join us on one of the many runs put on by club members throughout the week.