Smutty Fitness: Running faster and running hair

Hayley Posted by Hayley at September 19, 2017 20:25:04 September 19, 2017 20:25:04

Hayley,

Please tell me how your client went from 5.5mph to 7.5mph? I started running maybe three years ago after you mentioned it in a column but I just have not gotten any faster. It’s still super fun and easy to stick with but I cannot get any quicker.

Also, any ideas on what to do with long, sweaty, post-long run hair? Squeezing in a three hour run (marathon training) is tough enough so spending another hour washing and blow drying is just not going to happen. I have been twisting it back into a sweaty bun but there has to be another way.

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My client went from 5.5 to 7.5mph on the treadmill with a lot of hard work, focus and determination.  This wasn’t an overnight transition but rather took weeks of hard work. In order to improve, to get faster, you need to overload your body. You need to work harder than your body would like to. This can be tough as finding the mental strength to push hard on your own isn’t easy. My client is lucky as she has me beside her, encouraging her (or as she would like to put it, threatening her that if she stops there will be hell to pay). But with each successful attempt at pushing yourself across your limit you believe in yourself a little bit more. And with this gradual increase in overall confidence you start to feel as though you can push harder next time and that you CAN do it. The word “can’t” shows up less and less. 

So step number one to getting stronger is to stop telling yourself that you can’t. Set a goal and strive for it. If you give up, set it back just a little bit. Build your confidence up and then take it back to the point where you failed and try again. If you don’t succeed then step it back again. Keep on doing that until you are successful and then up the ante. Push yourself harder. Repeat this and repeat this again, never giving up. Failing is one thing but giving up is something else. Giving up should not be an option.

The thing with these types of workouts is that they are never easy. You are always pushing yourself to your max. As your max increases you push yourself harder. Whether you are just starting or you are a seasoned athlete, whenever you are working out in a high threshold it should, and will, feel hard.  However, you shouldn’t push yourself this hard all of the time. If you are just starting maybe do 1, maximum 2, hard interval workouts. 

As for how to keep your locks fresh after a 3 hour run…I am sorry to break it to you but that’s next to impossible. If you are a master with braiding you could try a french braid, or you could slick it into a long ponytail but you may just need to plan your long run days on your hair wash days (or vice versa). There is a reason why many seasoned endurance athletes have short hair! I am like you, however, and struggle to keep my hair looking fabulous as I absolutely hate how long it takes to wash my hair. So try this tip: After your long run get right into the shower, but don’t start out with it too hot. Keep it a bit cool to give your body some recovery, then heat it up a bit for a quick wash and condition. After you dry off, spend about 15 minutes stretching (your body will thank you) and then hit the blow dryer. Allowing your hair to air dry for a bit will cut back in your blow dry time. 

If you are starting from clean hair, you should be able to get 1, maybe 2, runs in before you resort to the messy bun. Give your hair a blow dry as soon as you finish your first run to eliminate the sweat but lay off the dry shampoo until day 2. If you can get away with your shorter runs during the week and your longer runs on weekends you may find less washing is required. Or, just as I have done, you may just have to learn to live with the messy bun.

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