This Feels Like Cheating

A post about a crazy runner mind!

I’m very honest with my training. I log my miles down to the 0.01. If there’s ever a question, I round down. I never want to look back at my training and have any questions, any doubts. I always KNOW I did AT LEAST what my training log says. In my normal life, I like to exaggerate, or “add a little flair” to my stories. With my training, it’s the opposite, always recorded exactly or downplayed. It gives me confidence looking back, knowing I did every single workout at least as well as stated, most likely better.

running log

Snippet of my online running log, down to the 0.01

So as part of my crazy little runner mind, there are a few totally normal things I do that feel like “cheating” to me. The one I want to address today is: wearing racing flats for workouts.

Nothing about wearing flats for workouts is cheating. In fact, it’s common practice. Still, I like to do my workouts, even track workouts, in my regular training shoes. Then when I’m done with the workout, I can look back at my splits and say, “wow, and I did all that in regular trainers!” In my crazy runner mind, training shoes add a second or two per lap on the track. I leave those workouts feeling confident, fast, super tough, knowing when it’s race time and I’m in flats, I’m totally golden.

Then there are workouts like last night. I had a great workout on the track. My paces were faster than expected. The workout felt easier than expected. I left the track feeling like I had more to give. Like I could have run more repeats, at the same pace. Everything was clicking. But… I wore my flats for the workout. So this tiny little voice in my head was saying “well of course it was fast, you were wearing flats! You were cheating!”

new balance 1400 racing flats

My current racing flats

Thinking about this, I know it doesn’t make sense! I’m laughing right now just writing it. I race in racing flats, why not train in them? I’m not cutting a course, I’m not dropping out of part of the workout, I’m just wearing the same shoes that I wear when I’m racing. Yet somehow it feels like cheating. Maybe sharing this crazy little thing with you will help me realize it’s ok.

What do you think? Do you do workouts in lightweight shoes like racing flats? Do you have any crazy runner “things” that are normal but feel like cheating? 

11 thoughts on “This Feels Like Cheating

  1. You sound like me! I do the same rounding down thing to be sure I’m not exaggerating the miles. However, I think that workouts in flats are perfectly fine and not at all cheating. For me, I like to feel what training fast in the shoes I hope to race fast in actually feels like! I say, go for it and don’t feel guilty.

  2. This made me chuckle! You’re not cheating! You still had to run those times and put in the work.

    PS I HATE wearing trainers on the track. I feel like I’m running on the moon – way too squishy :)

  3. I’m like this in other areas of my life, particularly those in which I’m considered an “expert.” See, I just did it by putting the word expert into quotations–it’s ridiculous, because after receiving a doctorate you are technically an expert in your field :-). I never want people to think I’m prideful and I never want to become prideful. It’s my way of trying to keep myself humble. Also, it allows me to practice not having expectations…I try not to expect the worst or the best, I try to go into things without any expectations. It makes the outcome of the situation that much easier to handle.

    • Krista, I’m sure you are a true expert in your field, but I agree that it’s better to go into things without expectations. I think some of the smartest people have a hard time considering themselves experts because they know they still have a lot to learn! And that’s what makes those people (like you!) successful! :)

  4. I am really glad I found your blog today!

    Aren’t all runners crazy? :) I sometimes wear my racers to train in, but I can’t help but remember that they are lighter. Still, I do it anyway because I feel like I need to be comfortable wearing them to race in them. Plus, my achilles can be used to an occasional drop. (that part might prove I am crazy too!).

  5. In college, racing flats were the one thing that helped me build enough confidence to run with the big dogs in track workouts and on tempo runs. I still wear them for tempos and speed workouts, but not marathon pace runs. I wear lightweight trainers anyway so it’s not a big difference. And we are exact opposites with writing down times for training runs… I only time speed workouts and long runs, don’t even wear a watch on easy runs and midweek distance runs… Eek!

  6. I used to be like this: I would only wear my heavy training shoes to run. Now, I will run sessions and tempos on the road and on the track in flats, but I would never train in spikes, apart from maybe once before the start of the season if I hadn’t run in them for a while. This is mainly to preserve my legs as to feel fast on raceday though. I think it is important to sometimes train in the shoes that you plan to race in, to ensure that they are comfortable and that you are comfortable running in them apart from anything else. Racing flats tend to have a lower heel than training shoes, so it is also important to ensure that your calfs retain the extension and flexibility to run in them (or spikes), otherwise my legs will feel shreaded after the race!

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