Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Long Run

I am feeling hyped up, excited, strong, and unstoppable today. Why? Because K and I had our first long run of training, and it was fantastic.

I had been nervous leading up to this run. The idea of upping our run from a 4-miler to 65 minutes was daunting. All I could think was that at the end of a 40 minute run, I feel wiped; how would I ever run 65 minutes?

But providence must have smiled on us today. We met at K's house at 6am and the weather was cool and dry. We kept the pace slow and steady, although I think both of us felt so strong in the first mile that we wanted to bolt. But we needed to keep the pace slow so we wouldn't burn out early on.

I had mapped out the route yesterday, basically creating a mash-up of routes we take anyway, but with the added benefit of our turning point being at a park. Water fountains! By the time we'd  hit 4-miles (our usual stopping point),  we were already on the way back. I think this did wonders for my mental state. It doesn't seem so bad adding another two or three miles if you're already on your way home.

By the time we got to our main turn, with 1.25 miles to go, I knew we were on our way to a super successful, strong, empowering run.

We finished in 70 minutes, having run around 6.8 miles. We kept the pace really steady and even saw some negative splits. I didn't feel winded or tired until we stopped. I had some twinges on the inside of my left knee, but around mile 5 those faded.

This run has boosted my confidence. Even though it wasn't fast, we didn't take any walk breaks. (We stopped for water but then went right back into the run.) I now know that I can complete this distance for our 10k in late October. I know that if we wanted to up our weekday mileage to 4.5 or 5 this week, we can do that. I know that I am halfway to the Half, and it feels great.

This is the first time I've run over four miles for training purposes. My last "10k" was part of the Half in 2011; I've never done this mileage as a stand-alone run. And now that I have, I feel braver and stronger than ever.

I am ready to get my game face on and go to the races!

One last thing before I sign off for today. I've had a few running friends who are struggling with feeling motivated in the past couple weeks. Sometimes the problem is a boredom you don't 't know you feel (like I mentioned in my last entry). Here is some advice for reigniting your motivation:
  1. If you signed up for a race before your motivation took a dive, remember that you need to stay on top of that training so as not to injure (or embarrass) yourself. If you haven't, find a race and sign up pronto! Having a tangible goal is extremely motivating.
  2. Change up your runs. Add tempo runs, go outside if you usually run on the treadmill, or find some new paths (even if it means driving to your starting point). Also, setting a new distance or pace goal can be very helpful.
  3. Add some new music to your running playlist and shuffle up the songs. If you don't have "Call Me Maybe" or "Gangnam Style" on your playlists yet, you're slacking! It's amazing what new songs - or even a new order to your songs - can do.
  4. Go buy new running shorts or bras, especially ones in fun colors - new accessories always make me want to run. This doesn't have to be pricey. My new favorite running shorts were $16 at TJ Maxx. Outlet malls have great deals on name brands, too, if you're picky about that.
  5. Pencil the run into your schedule so you HAVE to go. Also, make a friend go with you so you're held accountable. If you have no friends that run in your area, enlist a friend to text you daily to ask if you've run. (I highly recommend finding running groups in your area via Facebook or Active.com; running buddies are the best.)
  6. Go on Runnersworld.com and read some articles. I especially love the portraits they write on celebrity runners, but there are tons of options to choose from. The blog at DailyMile.com is really awesome. Check out Olympic race videos on Youtube. I find that reading about or seeing others struggle/overcome/succeed is one of the best motivators. Soon, you'll be feeling the urge to get out there yourself!
ABK

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