The first double digit run finally happened this past Sunday. I’ve ran plenty of double digits in the past, but I haven’t ran one since October 15th of this year. So, it was my first in a while. It was strange, but I had a few revelations that I wanted to share and thought I’d break it down the way it happened through the miles.
I was super stoked at first, it was almost 70 degrees out, wet but not raining, and I got to break out a pair of shorts. I was ready to go. I had 3 days off from doing any running, the iPod was charged, Garmin was ready, I had a Vanilla (not my fave) GU packet and Lemon-Lime Nuun to equip me.
Miles 0-3 (8:37, 8:17, 8:24): I started with a quarter mile warm up which is basically walking fast, high knees, butt kicks and light jogging until i hit the run path. I kept having to slow down and tell myself this was a “long run” and I still had a ways to go. At mile 2.4 I stopped to stretch and check out the 4 deer hanging around nearby… thus began the 1st of about 5 stops during my run to stretch and shake out my tight legs.
Miles 4-5 (8:30, 8:29): Once I hit mile 4 I wanted to turn around. Even though I had a decent pace, I was having a hard time because of the weather. It was warm, wet and humid. And after being used to cold & dry it’s a shock to the body, but probably more so to the mental game. My head just wasn’t into the run AT ALL. I kept second guessing being ready for a 10 mile run, my quads wouldn’t loosen up so I stopped completely at mile 4.2 to take my GU & Nuun & give myself a pep talk. (Also, I spotted another 7 deer!)
3 things that snapped me back into the Run.
1) Lately I’ve been channeling this quote from Tom Hanks’ character in A League of Their Own. I always repeat “The hard is what makes it great.”
2) Long runs are for practice. Sometimes it’s practice for your pacing, sometimes it’s for the distance and time on your feet and other times it’s practice for your mental game. Today I chose to focus on the mental practice.
3) Then I thought “Am I going to finish this run complaining and walking or am I going to finish strong?” Isn’t that what a race is like? It breaks you down and it’s hard but you have a choice. You can give in and slug through or you can finish the best you can.
Miles 6-8 (8:04, 7:54, 7:50) I chose to finish strong–>at the least, mentally strong. The easy runs aren’t the ones that drive you to run a PR. It’s the hard ones you fight for. This will be a training run I’ll remember during the end miles of my next race. These kinds of runs are the ammo I pull out when I need the “you can do this, because you’ve done this” pick me up. And holy Santa balls, as soon as mile 6 kicked in my legs loosened up and running became a lot easier and fun. It’s amazing how your mental & emotional side of running really affect you. You can see by my pace that something clicked.
Miles 9-10 (7:32, 7:38 + quarter mile cool down): The last miles were in fact the easiest ones. I was proud I didn’t give up and even more proud that I actually got excited toward the end because I knew the following week I’d hit 11 or 12 miles in my long run. <— sick I know. Runners are nuts. But I, as many of you runners out there, really like to see what the body can do. And now more than ever I’m ready to challenge my head to stay positive throughout those long miles.
What are your tips for muscling through those mental barriers in the long run?