Moving: Should You Evaluate More Than Your New Routes?
Habitual is a very accurate word to describe runners. Like most things in life, sometimes it’s a really good thing and other times it can be problematic and hinder performance. Many things in life can get in the way of our good running habits: traveling, work, sick kids and life events. One of the more stressful and life-altering events that can throw a wrench in a runner’s habit is moving. So much of our running routine is based on our home location on this large planet: your gym, your routes, the running group you choose to run with regularly. A lot more is based on what you know about your local geography; you have made running decisions like the time of day you run and which route you take based on shade or traffic patterns or water and bathroom stops. When you move you are forced to reevaluate and create new routes but is this the only thing you should be evaluating? Is moving a good time to reevaluate others aspects of your running?
Your Weekly Mileage
Have you been logging the same number of miles on the exact same days for years? Do you always run a half marathon in the spring and train for a full marathon in the fall? Do you seem to lose motivation around the same time each year? You could easily be stuck in a mileage rut. While schedules and routines can be comforting and ensure you get all you need to be accomplished in a day, they can also suck the life out of, well, life and your runs.
It might be time to shake up the routine. While some runs like your long runs absolutely have to occur on certain days, your tempo, speed and hill workouts could use not only your new location change but a change in duration or distance. The small change could be what you need to look forward to your runs again. It’s also a real possibility you didn’t even realize you were simply going through the miles.
Your Comfortable Pace
Rarely (if ever) would you ever hear that someone runs too fast especially when speaking about their average or comfortable pace. Sure, some people blow their long run paces out of the water often to the detriment of the race on race day and a lot of runners can be accused of running rest days too quickly. Yet “I’m too fast” is not something you’ll likely ever hear a runner claim.
What occurs most often is runners getting accustomed with a set or comfortable pace and living there. Pushing yourself to increase your base pace by just a few seconds a mile is easy and can be done quite quickly. It might even surprise you how easy it is to maintain your new pace so much so that you might increase it again sooner rather than later. Even if you are at the “fastest” you’ve ever been, if you have been running the same pace for a year or more your body is on cruise control. Your body and your race times could probably stand to benefit from a pick-up in pace.
Your Running Shoes
Looking at a new shoe type is tough for a lot of runners. Most are unfalteringly loyal to either a brand or a very specific model shoe and that’s ok if you are making sure that it’s still the best literal fit for you. If the last time you slipped another brand of shoes on your feet was more than 5 years ago you are doing yourself a disservice. Shoes companies are constantly improving and changing to keep up with each other. Its understandable being loyal to one brand that works and is the whole “if it isn’t broke don’t fix it” mentality, but it also begs the question what are you missing out on? Having had a bad experience with a brand is a plausible reason to be fearful of any changes but doesn’t mean other brands are going to hold the same issues. You also never know when that tiny nagging issue you just assumed was a permanent fixture in your running life is actually rectified by a new brand or different type of shoe.
Get Professionally Evaluated
It’s worth going to your local running store or Physical Therapist and having yourself g reevaluated if you haven’t in a long time. There are a wide variety of things that can change your stride: a drastic change in pace or weight, having had babies, age, certain surgeries or injuries. It is possible for someone who has been a neutral footed runner for twenty-five years to move to over-pronating or vice-versa. You never know when you could have developed a muscle imbalance or when scar tissue has developed causing issues you are unaware of. Especially if you are one that more often than not runs on their own; a lot of times subtle changes in your stride or the way you carry your body will be noticed by a running buddy that points out the difference.
While our running habits are really pretty great, falling into a pattern can be monotonous and allow for us to miss out on feeling better or feeling our best. Moving and having to redo all your routes is a great time to do an overall self-assessment or at least take stock in your running. Unlike a job, there is no one giving you an annual review or feedback and it’s important to look at yourself every now and then to make sure you are putting your best foot forward.