Today I ran a nice five mile run on what I like to call my “West Hills Fantasy Loop.” We live on the EDGE of the West Hills, though I’m sure true West Hills residents would consider us tawdry and unkempt. My run takes me into the back neighborhoods that were once farmlands and are now estates of wealthy families that have Lexus SUVs and gated entrances. My favorite one has a hidden stable and a manicured mini-orchard that I pass while cutting down a path from an elementary school.
But while the scenic view of my run often energizes me to run faster or farther (I can’t look like a schlump as those BMW ladies pass me – I must look like I belong there!), today my legs felt like lead. It was a surprisingly easy day at school and I had a nice, nutritious lunch so I had no excuses. Then my phone died (which meant no music, or tracking my distance). It was time to dig deep.
At the back of my mind was also the fact that I feel a plateau coming on. I’ve been able to run my fantasy loop (varying between 4-6 miles) pretty comfortably, but my speed hasn’t been improving to the point that I’m satisfied. At these moments, I like to employ a couple strategies I use to give myself a “speed boost.” Many people just turn up their music, or play their favorite song. As most of you know, the status quo just isn’t my style.
Five Proven Ways to Increase My Speed
1. Pretend my shoes are on fire. Yes, I really do this. I visualize how they leave flames behind me, and make me look really bad ass to the cars that pass by.
2. Pretend I’m chasing a purse snatcher. Sometimes it’s my purse, sometimes it’s the purse of a little old lady. Either way, that bastard is gonna pay.
3. Pretend I’m being chased by a rapist. This one really kicks me into overdrive.
4. Pretend I’m in a commercial. Form is really important for this one, and sometimes a smile. This one is easy if I’m running around the Nike campus.
5. Pretend I’m a bank robber. I just stole a bag of money and I better haul ass out of there or I’m headed for the big house…or worse. I like to employ this one when I see a cop car (though I sometimes wonder if they ever notice how I suddenly run away from them at a high speed).
So if your runs are getting a little boring, I highly recommend a little role playing by yourself.