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Published May 02 2011

Wagner: Running renovation offers new perspective

FARGO - A transformation of sorts has unfolded over the past several months.

My free time has been spent watching renovation shows on HGTV, performing a few upgrades and transforming a few rooms around the house and, this past weekend, discarding old and unused items to the curb as part of Cleanup Week.

As I carried those items to the curb, the similarities to my running are hard to overlook.

During those same months, I’ve started a renovation project on my running.

Part of the project has been by necessity: after struggling with an abdominal injury for months, enjoying each run became increasingly difficult.

At first, my focus turned to simply running easy to enjoy the simplicity of our sport after racing marathons through constant training cycles.

So the twice-weekly speed workouts were put on hold, especially once I realized hard running was slowing my recovery.

Then I focused on building up my endurance, slow and steady. Once I slowed my pace, I began to realize my running form and posture were a contributing factor in a difficult recovery. Most likely, the bad form developed slowly, by accident, as I pushed my body to run faster.

Slowing things down, and focusing on form, helped.

Almost without notice, the mileage began to pile up. In turn, my eating habits improved, helping gain a better overall balance.

And my confidence to race again – just as the summer season approaches – is returning, prompting me to finally sign up for the Fargo Marathon.

But the running renovation is a work in progress. Speed is a relative term, it depends on the runner, but mine is untested and rusty.

Thankfully, the summer race season offers plenty of opportunities to practice at a variety of distances. Those will give me chances to improve and upgrade my running as I set my sights to run my best marathon this fall.

As the injury heals, my perspective has changed from chasing personal bests in every race to improving all aspects of my running for lifetime enjoyment of the sport.

Forum News Director Steve Wagner writes a running blog, which can be found online at runningspud.areavoices.com. He can be reached via email at swagner@forumcomm.com.