Did you run this morning? Why? Did you run with a group? Did you listen to music? Did you start your watch or check your pace? These are some questions you may want to ask yourself when you are discovering what your real goals are. Every run should have a purpose, even if it is just to relax and enjoy yourself! Here are some suggestions for a more purposeful run:

True easy pace

Your slow pace can change through the years depending on what you are training for. Every once in a while it’s a great idea to relax and test your true easy pace. Plan out a 30-40 minute run along an easy and scenic route. You want to be able to relax, have a conversation, or let your mind wonder. Start your watch and don’t look back down at it (or hide it under your sleeve) until your run is completed. The splits of that run will be considered considered your new easy pace.

Feel uneven

If you are starting to feel uneven, a great way to tell what is wrong is to unplug. Pick a route that is flat and quiet. Run without music and pay attention to the sound of your feet. You may notice that you land heavier on one side or that your knee is clicking.

Race strategy

Sometimes the best way to practice how to race is to race! Sign up for a small (and inexpensive!) 5k and decide on your strategy. You may want to practice switching between paces or dodging traffic. A great idea is to pick a target person 200 feet in front of you and create a strategy for passing them.

Cadence

A metronome is a great way to work on your cadence, but it isn’t always practical. On a short run, count your steps every 5 minutes to see how well your cadence training is going.

One is the loneliest number

This may be the hardest thing to practice but it is also one of the most important. Do you run without your headphones in? If not, give it a try. This is an important way to practice your mental strategy. You can practice how to remind yourself how much you love running or to practice your breathing. This is also an important time to practice looking up. You may not realize how often your eyes drift to the ground. Try looking for a red car, or the next stop light. This can help correct your posture!

Kathleen Leninger, DPT