Yesterday I made a huge accomplishment in my running. I ran my longest distance to date, 7.82 miles!
That’s just crazy! All week I have been talking about how Saturday or Sunday I wanted to do a long run, and I can’t believe I actually did it.
A few people have asked me how I did it…how I didn’t give up or let my mind get the best of me. Mind games…a close friend of mine. I would say that probably 95% of the time, I stop running because my *mind* stops running. It’s not very frequent that I stop because my body is feeling pain or like it’s had enough. I often start thinking about what time is it (I have to run in the evening a lot due to me working 8-4:30 Mon-Fri), what I have to get done that night, “oh I think I just felt a pain”, “oh I’m tired”, “oh I don’t want to over due it” (ok, that is a serious thought, but sometimes can be a lazy one). It’s all of these thoughts that usually stop me from pushing myself.
During the weekdays I normally try to get in at least 3 miles. Sometimes I can shut up my mind and push myself to 4 or 5, but I’m usually set on 3. I find that sometimes when I "*set* myself to miles though, I tend to dwell on them too much. My focus turns away from my running and the joy of my body in movement, and goes towards “ok how many more miles till I am done?”. When I first began running I started following the C25K program (couch to 5K, for those who don’t know). It is a GREAT program and I would recommend it highly, but for me, it just didn't work. I hated the thought of having to follow all these strict times of when I could run, when I could walk and so on. I often get bored and tired with these kind of plans. Even now, I’m in training for my 1/2 marathon coming up this September, but it’s *my* program. I’m trying to log so many miles per week, but I am not forcing myself to do any certain amount any certain day. This is just what works for me.
So how did I manage to push myself to run almost 8 miles yesterday? (I probably could have gone the full 8, but my body was telling me it was time to stop. I was trying to be smart and not injure myself)
I didn’t have any expectations going into this run. Like I said earlier, I had talked all week about getting a long run in, but when Saturday came, I just wanted to run. I didn't care for how long, or how many miles, I just wanted to run and be able to say that I got a good workout in. When I started I thought to myself “ok, I did a 5K last Saturday, so I have to do that at least”, then it became watching the time on the clock…”oh ok, I will run to 12:40 and check my miles”…”oh, 4.50 miles, well lets see where 1:00 gets me to”…”6.50 miles! WOW…longest yet, well lets just round this baby up to 1:30”. Ok so those are not the exact times and miles, but it was around there…you get my point.
I think that by not having such a strict laid out plan, I was able to just enjoy running. I was able to focus my thoughts on day dreaming and enjoy the feeling of my body in movement. Have you ever really paid attention to the way your body feels when its running?? The feeling of your arms swinging and your legs moving one after another…it’s quite a remarkable experience.
I can’t say that this method works all the time. Tomorrow when I go to run I will probably be forcing myself to get to the 3 mile mark and will be happy when its over! But its runs like the one yesterday that teach us more and more about what we need to do to keep moving forward and to keep up the continued success. We learn a little bit more about what it takes in us to have us keep going. Also, it provides a tremendous amount of self confidence. Knowing that I had the strength and determination just goes to prove that I really can push myself. We far too often do not give ourselves the credit we deserve.
I am taking *all* the credit for my run yesterday!
I also want to thank the fabulous Sheryl over at *Bitch Cakes* for the very sweet shout-out. I can’t believe that I got to inspire *her* for once! She always makes me want to try harder and stay on the right path. I’d like to think that if we lived near each other we would be great friends and she would drag me to punk rope classes with her. I absolutely adore her!
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