The Art Of Running By Feel

Running should be simple – you put one foot in front of the other and go for it, then why is it so hard sometimes?

Today I will take you through a decision I made in college that changed the course of my running career – and how you can apply the lesson to your training today!

I was at an impasse, cross country season of my senior year had just finished and I was burnt out – school was killing me, I hadn’t pr’d in two years and I was working as hard as ever. So what did I do? I took my time off like I do every season hoping it would help me reset… it didn’t and I resumed training and resumed going through the motions.

Until one day I just so happened to forget to bring my watch with me to the trail, so I ran without it – and I actually didn’t feel miserable.

Woah! – could it be that simple?

So I kept running without a watch all week – feeling naked- until it was time for my weekly tempo, could I run that by feel too?

Yes, yes I could – I set out on my run taking it easy until I felt loose and went for it. I know what tempo pace should feel like, comfortably hard, but it had never felt that way to me when I was running my prescribed pace. That run felt different, I went ‘comfortably hard’ and didn’t worry about what pace I was hitting. Was it slower than usual? probably but I was enjoying myself more and my workouts had me feeling better than ever.

Throughout track season I was running the best workouts of my life without any of my usual blow-ups, then I went on to pr at every distance on top of finally breaking university records in the 3000m and 1500m.

The usual anxieties of always having a pace to run had left and I was feeling more confident on a daily basis.

Running by feel will take work, I had been running for 9 years when I decided to go for it! For more experienced runners like myself feel free to go for it, but for newbies and those who aren’t familiar with their paces here is a simple workout you can try!

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Step Fartlek

The purpose of the step fartlek is to be able to run at a harder pace while counting your steps instead of time, this is a nice short workout that will show you what you can do without having to constantly look at your watch.

10 on – 10 off – 20 on – 20 off – 30 on – 30 off – 40 on – 40 off – 50 on – 50 off – 60 on – 60 off – 70 on – 70 off – 80 on – 80 off – 90 on – 90 off – 100 on – 100 off – and back down the ladder.

Go out and give running ‘naked’ a try and tell us how it feels – sound off in the comments or tweet us @Anthrophysique

 

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