6.22.2012

Easy Runs - They are not always easy

Just because I am running every day doesn't mean I don't value the importance of rest. I truly feel I am taking better care of myself and my training now that I am running more than when I was running less. I know, that doesn't make sense. Why wouldn't running 4-5 days be easier on my body than running every day? 

For me, part of it was because I tended to push too hard on those days. I know, I know....there is that book out there that says you can run less and can run better by making your runs more meaningful and less lazy. Perhaps one day it will work for me. Right now in my life it isn't. I need the lessons I am learning from running every day.

I need to learn to listen to my body better and to truly hear it. I need to learn to differentiate the aches of running due to muscle issue versus the aches of running due to mental/motivation issues. And for me, at first those aches feel about the same until I really look deeper within myself.

Today is a great example and also shows how I deal with training hiccups on a daily basis. I set my alarm for 3:45 am to allow myself to get my run in with no time pressure constraints before work. I did wake up when the alarm went off for a millisecond. Unfortunately, I fell back to sleep so quickly I didn't hear by back-up alarm....the coffee pot going. Yep, I program the coffee pot the night before to go off about when my alarm does because often that sound and the thought of warm coffee with vanilla cream is enough to get me out of bed.

However, I did wake up about 30 minutes later and started my daily routine of getting out of bed, getting into my running clothes, pouring my coffee into my thermos, and heading out to the gym. I don't drink much coffee before my run but it is there for me post-run and I tend to continue to sip on it throughout the morning. And the coffee from 3 hours ago....still by my side, still warm, still yummy. And I probably won't finish it all. Seldom do.

Now back to my run. My running always tends to start slow and I often take a good solid mile to really get into the groove. My longer runs often take me a good 3 miles. Go figure...I think some unconscious part of me knows the percent equivalent completed and I need to do that hard work before I can reap the full joy of the run.

Today was no different but I stuck to it. I incorporated some intervals with increased speed. I know that isn't supposed to be the case on easy run days, like today, but I really wanted to kick out 7.55 miles and only had an hour. Remember, I did want to wake up earlier. So my easy run today was going to have to be less easy if I were to achieve my mileage goal for the week. Is it smart training to up the pace just to get to the number? I guess it really depends on the circumstances and for me today, it was. I knew I was coming off of an easy 2 miles yesterday and only have 12 miles on the plate for tomorrow. Okay, to some that may sound crazy but let me explain. I was in the middle of a short, easy run and a long run that isn't at my upper limits of long runs. It was okay to push it a bit more.

Mind, I am stronger than you.
But it wasn't easy. About 15 minutes into the run I wanted to stop. I ached but it wasn't the muscle ache. It was the mental ache. Sorry mind, you are not winning. That is when I incorporated the speed intervals and please note, I wasn't running my maximum speed. Just up'ing it a bit. Another 15 minutes went by and I thought about not running the full 7.55 miles. I told myself I would only regret it later. I was so close to my goals so to give up would only hurt me. I kept running but knew I had to change the plan. I switched out of the interval plan I had scheduled and started doing random intervals. This tricked my mind and things started to feel a wee bit better. Time progressed and my mind felt weighed down by the pressures to wrap up this run and get to work. I wasn't entering the running worry-free bliss. I felt heavy but it wasn't my body. It was still my mind. I started running for the "trees" and when I started to get close to them I moved them further away. Yep, I started playing mind games. One more minute at this pace and they you can cut back a bit. Oh....you are almost there. Just go one more minute and then you can cut back a bit. Oh....you are almost there. How about two more minutes? Yeah...you are almost there. Hey, why are you going to ease up now when the end is so close? Don't give up yet....run strong to the end. 

Bingo....I ended up running 7.63 miles with an average pace of 7'51". It wasn't easy. But my body was strong and that weak mind that kept wanting me to quit....I was stronger. Running streak day 176....pau!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for quirky computer mishaps that make me laugh. This popped up yesterday when I was inputting a survey question "How old are you?".




Daily Affirmation: I know I grow stronger on the days I lose hope since I will find it again.

2 comments:

  1. Way to push thru that mental tug of war and congrats on the streak!!

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  2. Amazing job! I love playing games on the treadmill...it's the ONLY way I can get through it. Random intervals are the best! I also find that my mind seems to be on a sliding scale of running acceptance, depending on how long the run. For me, though, it has to do with when I am ready to be done. It doesn't seem to matter whether I am running 3 miles or 20, I would say about 5/6 of the way through the run, I am suddenly ready to be done. :)

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