Monday, September 24, 2012

Confident & Strong

Today’s Workout: 5 Miles, Easy

I’m feeling really confident these days. Work is good, my relationships are great, and running is back to amazing.

But let’s focus on the running right now.

I was being pretty cautious over the past month. I didn’t want anything to deter me from completing the marathon, so I’ve been taking it easy and listening to my body as best I can. I take walk breaks every mile, slow down if I feel achey, and ice and stretch religiously.

My weekday runs have been pretty successful – no issues completing them, or feeling too tired or sore afterwards. My weekend long runs, however, are a different story.

Anyone who’s trained for a half or full marathon will tell you that the long runs are key. Sure, skip a weekday run here or there and it won’t kill you. But if you skimp on your long runs, you will definitely feel it during your race, and it won’t be pretty. I’ve been there. It’s brutal.

So the last few weekends when I’ve been on the mend, the long runs have definitely been tough. I am almost ready to collapse by the end, my legs are screaming at me, and every week I swear I couldn’t run another step. The upside – I’ve been working on some mental techniques that seem to be working. Let’s have a sharing session, shall we?

Technique #1 – Wait to listen to music until you need a boost
If I’m going for a 4-6 mile run, I’ll grab my iPod if I’m feeling sluggish, but I usually don’t need it. I know very well the effect that a little hit of music can do to your sore and tired muscles. So for long runs, I started bringing my iPod, but leaving it off until I’m more than halfway through my run. During my 11-mile run on Saturday, I didn’t really need that boost until I was 8.3 miles in. As a result, it broke up my run, and gave me that extra surge of happiness that only comes from lip syncing unashamedly in public.

Technique #2 – Give your brain a little mental stimulation
There was an article in Runner’s World that gave some suggestions on what to do when you’re feeling tired during a run. One of them was to name all of the states – which I tried this past Saturday. It took me about two miles to do, but I swear those were the quickest two miles I’ve run in a long time (another tip – teach yourself how many states are in each letter, and go through them alphabetically, so you know which letter to go back to if you can’t remember one. i.e. The letter I has four states). For some reason, Nevada was last. It just ain’t that memorable to me.

I also have been listening to this podcast called “Stuff You Missed in History Class” by I’ve been learning all about public enemies from the 1930s to how the Titanic worked. I like to learn and run at the same time.

Technique #3 – Put some gold at the end of the rainbow
I suppose this is self-explanatory, but it can really help in the last few miles of a long run. Plan exactly what things you have to look forward to after you run – an iced coffee, brunch, relaxing on your couch–and remind yourself it’ll just be a few minutes ‘til you get your reward.

So my long run on Saturday had some highs and lows – I ran over the Williamsburg Bridge, and I am pretty sure I ran past Fred Armisen. I thought I saw him, so I sprinted back so I could pass him again, and then I wasn’t so sure. So that part is up for discussion. (However, I DID see Tony Danza on Sunday. He waved and said hi after he overheard my friend say "wow he looks really good." And he did). 

Ok. This is an ugly picture. But still
proof that I was on the bridge.
My knee felt stiff, but it was pretty much along for the ride the whole way. I took walk breaks after every mile, but realized I didn’t need them as much as I did just two weeks ago. That is progress in my book!

Pretty splits.
I ran each “half” at about the same pace, which I’m also pretty happy with. Basically, this run gave me some confidence that I’ve been lacking, and I’m ready for the last eight weeks of training (eep!).

Later on Saturday, Keith and I went to the wedding of our two dear friends, Dustin and Karen.

It was an amazing wedding, with the ceremony in Brooklyn Bridge Park and the reception at a cute restaurant nearby. We ate and drank with their friends and family, who were all there to party like we were.

So I’m going into this week feeling pretty happy, confident and strong. Ready to ramp up my training, and work on my U.S. geography.

1 comment:

  1. I think your three recommendations could be used in other areas! Our commutes in particular!