Live. Love. Run. It's what I do.

Take the Burn

I love feeling sore. During track and cross country season, I feel like I’m not working hard enough if nothing is hurting every day. I feel like being sore is my body telling me that I did work hard and that I’m getting stronger. I enjoy that pain the next day, like a reward, an affirmation of how hard I worked the day before. When I do ab workouts, I feel like I didn’t do enough reps if they’re not sore the next day. If I do a bunch of squats and my butt’s not sore the next day, I think that I didn’t do enough. If I don’t have some kind of pain somewhere after a really intense workout or a hard race, I feel like I didn’t work hard enough and go all out. But I hate when it hurts in the moment. I hate staying strong through whatever I’m doing, when my legs burn, when it’s too hot or too cold outside, when I’m shaking while trying to do some new exercise. But at the same time, I know that if I back off and I don’t take the burn today, I’m going to regret it tomorrow when I’m not sore. It’s the opposite of what you’d expect. But it’s so true.

So take the burn. Don’t give up today. You’ll thank yourself tomorrow when you’re sore and you know that you’ve pushed yourself. You’ll thank yourself a month or a year from now when you’re so much stronger than you are today. It’ll be worth it, I promise!


Run Like a Kenyan

One of the most dreaded workouts of our track season is the Kenyan Run. I’m not sure how it got its name, whether someone from Kenya does this type of run, whether someone thought it would make you run like a Kenyan, whether it uses the Kenyan style of running…I have no idea. My coach had us do a few of these last year for the first time…and since I ran super slow at my time trials, the splits she wanted me to have weren’t all that bad. For other people who actually ran good times in their time trials, though, it sucked. We did one of these three-mile runs yesterday, and while it did get tough at the end, it wasn’t unbearable. I was feeling pretty good yesterday, so that certainly made it better. The key to the Kenyan run is negative splits.

Here’s how it works:

Add a minute and a half to your fastest most recent mile time. Run one mile at this pace. For the second mile, subtract fifteen seconds from that time. Finally for the third mile, subtract fifteen more seconds. And as always, make sure you warm up and cool down sufficiently.

Negative splits are when you get faster as you go, rather than slowing down. I know that I always have a problem with this both in races and at practice. I have a tendency to start races and some workouts way too fast, slow down in the middle, then try to speed up at the end but it doesn’t always happen… That’s why negative splits and the Kenyan run are great practice so you can practice getting faster as you go rather than slowing down. In general, running negative splits in a race will be more successful than running positive splits and slowing down. If you start slower and speed up, you have more energy to really kick it in at the end and give it all you got. As long as you don’t run too slow for too long at the beginning and don’t speed up enough soon enough, this is a good strategy for some people who have a good sense of pace. On the contrary, if you start much faster than you should, then it’s easier to get worn out early and slow down way more than you should. This is what I do, and I’m sure a lot more people do this too.

One last note, last year at the state track meet, I saw a girl from a 1a school who ran the 1500, 3000, and 800. She was a ridiculously amazing distance runner and I’m pretty sure she won most, if not all of her races. She would start out every race – even the 800! – at the very back of the pack…but then she ran negative splits so she kept moving up and up throughout the whole race. By the end, she would be so far ahead of the pack that you never would have guessed that she started out at the back. Negative splits kinda suck but they work!

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Resistance bands, my new love!

So track season is one week down, and we have so many more left! But that’s a good thing 🙂 The first week hasn’t been too hard – we’ve had three aerobic-paced 4-5 mile days, a time trial 1600m on Wednesday, and we ran a bit faster and shorter today – 3.25 to 3.5 miles in 23:33. I ran a 6:15 for my 1600 Wednesday, which isn’t ideal, but I’m happy enough, especially for the beginning of the season. I think that I could do better if I had another chance, just because it’s hard to remember how to run fast and still pace myself since it’s been so long since my last race. I’m mostly just glad that I didn’t get nearly as out of shape as last year! I think I’ve got a decent base and I just gotta go from here!


We ran our 10 minute warmup, did our dynamic stretching, then ran 30 minutes at aerobic pace on the trail (somewhere around 8:15ish/mile pace, give or take around 10 seconds). It started snowing on the way back, which was pretty cool (literally!). Then we did some abs and worked with resistance bands!

Now abs and a resistance band workout may not sound like that much fun, but it really was! It burned and made me sore today, but it was great just because it was new, and I rarely mix things up in my own workouts as much as I should. Our distance coach brought prizes for whoever could hold a plank for the longest since it was Valentine’s Day. Our head track coach and cross country coach did it with us too, and that was another very good reason to stick it out longer to beat him…which I did, by the way!:) in the end, I tied with two other girls, and our coach let us stop after 3 minutes or so. I got one of these:)

M&M Valentine Candy Fan, 12 count

A Candy Fan!!! Super cute 🙂

We did some work with resistance bands too, which was quite exciting because I’ve never tried them before! I love them! We did some of the exercises shown in the video below, like the walks and the squats. It’s a great workout for your glutes! Maybe I’m weird, but I love the sore feeling I get after a hard workout. Kinda like the “No Pain, No Gain” mentality, it makes me feel like I really worked hard and that I’m getting stronger. Go ahead and give some of these workouts a shot, maybe you’ll have as much fun with them as I did!

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i want abs

I’ve been thinking, for quite some time actually, that I really need to work on my core strength. I keep saying to myself that I’m going to do an ab workout, but it never happens. I go running with my friend and we always say we’re going to work on our abs after we run…but then we get done running and are tired, hot, cold, sweaty, and we never actually do anything. I really want to be good this year in track, and I think that having a strong core would help my running and my form and efficiency, but I’m so lazy! Doing an ab workout is so hard, and my abs are so weak! I love it when my abs are sore, because it makes me feel like I worked hard (I know, I’m weird). But I hate doing the actual workouts to make them sore and to make them strong. When it starts hurting a lot, all too often, I just give up rather than pushing myself further to make me stronger. My abs often get sore after I run a really hard race or after some hard, fast speedwork on the track. Running uses not only your leg muscles but your whole body, including your core. If I worked more on improving my core strength, I think that I would become a better, faster, stronger runner.  (plus it’ll make my stomach flatter and more beach-ready in the summer! 🙂

I’ve looked (probably not hard enough) for core workout ideas, but a lot of them involve all of this fancy equipment that I don’t have. Most of the time, I just end up doing a few crunches and 30 seconds to a minute of planks and I call it good enough, but really I should do more if I truly want a strong core.

I’ve recently found this ab workout video on YouTube, and I really like it because it’s easy, doesn’t necessarily require extra equipment, and it’s a break from the ordinary crunches and planks that I would normally do. I think another reason I am lacking in core strength is because I get sick of the monotony of my core exercises I’ve also been trying to focus more on my form when I’m doing crunches, because it makes a world of difference when you’re doing them wrong to when you’re doing them right. Here’s the how-to from I hope it helps!

Begin flat on your back with your knees bent and the heels of your feet only a  few inches from your buttocks.  Bring your hands to your temples with palms out,  and elbows out from the body at about thirty to forty-five degrees.  While  exhaling, bring your shoulder blades off the ground fairly quickly, until you  feel an intense pressure in the rectus abdominus muscles.  Hold for a one to two  second count, then slowly release, beginning the next repetition when the head  and shoulders are just about to touch the ground.

If you have any other good ab workouts that you like, let me know!!

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Julie Yip-Williams

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