"After an incredible amount of work, 28:42 is my personal record."
How I did it: I achieved this goal by joining my school's cross country team. However, you could definitely do the workouts my team does on your own or in a group...read on!
- I ran almost every day. You should too, or at least several times a week. It's not that you won't improve if you don't run every day, you just may not improve as fast. As long as you run consistently you should improve.
- I ran timed meets (3 miles) 1-2 times a week. This does a couple things: It creates an environment where there is enough pressure to make you try your very hardest, and it measures your improvement often enough you can see it happen, but not too often, because there can be a lot of noise in the times you get.
- I tried, every time I ran. I'm definitely not the fastest runner, but setting this goal and working towards it even when I didn't feel like it gave running a purpose for me. You are the only person responsible for your own time, and you kinda have to own that.
- About 3-4 times a week, I did strength training pretty much all over. Make extra sure you have some sort of abdominal routine, they're very important for good form which'll help your time a lot. My favorite is basically a work out where you do 10 situps, 10 pushups, 9 situps, 9 pushups, 8 situps, 8 pushups... (and so on)
Lessons & tips:
- Get in a mindset where you're competing against yourself. If you're like me, and not very athletic, measuring yourself by other people is only discouraging. Instead, focus on improving your own performance and supporting other runners, be they faster or slower than you.
- If you feel an injury, make sure you take care of it, all the way. There's pain that makes you stronger, and there's pain that shows you're getting weaker...learn to tell the difference.
- If you're part of a team, use it to your advantage! In my school the XC team is like a person's second family...you can make a lot of friends and it really makes going to practices or meets fun, even on tough days.
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