As it turns out, signing up for a really expensive half marathon was enough to get me in my running shoes 4 times last week, for a total of 20.5 miles. There was some quality in those miles too: I had my first track workout in over 8 months (probably longer) on Thursday and a fast-finish 9-mile run on Saturday with the last 2 miles at 8:50 and 8:38/mile. Those are probably the fastest 2 successive miles I’ve run since…my last 5K? In February?! PLUS! I did a double (sort-of) on Sunday: easy 3-mile run in the morning, followed by a tough, 6-mile hike in the late morning/early afternoon. It was quite a dramatic turn of events from my recent bout of laziness.
These are the things I’ve learned (or re-learned) in the past week:
- Having an imminent goal puts a fire under me. I may not PR at Walnut Creek, but I’ll definitely give it my best shot.
- Having set workouts helps a lot. While it’s more relaxing to say, “Oh, I’ll just go out for an easy jog” the truth is that an easy jog gets boring real fast. And doing easy jogs 4 times a week is a snooze-fest. There’s a time and place for easy runs, but I think I needed to shake things up, and to get out of my 50K, “let’s just get some miles done” mode. While the track workout (4 x 400) was really painful at the time, I got a huge rush of endorphins afterwards – something that I’ve found usually accompanies speedwork. The same thing happened after I completed my fast finish run. Speed is painful but fun/rewarding.
- Leave no time for excuses. Having things ready to go – outfit set out for morning runs, afternoon run officially written down in my schedule – left no wiggle room for me to talk myself out of running. I also framed it as “WHEN I run” versus “IF I run” to make it a no brainer.
- Running regularly makes me feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally. ‘Nuff said!
Speaking of running and motivation…some of you might remember the post I wrote advising new runners, and in particular, my friend AJ. Well, I have exciting news! After a rough few weeks (not related to running), AJ is up to 4.5 miles of run/walking! She also had some observations, which she allowed me to share with you all:
- I hate the arm band iPhone holder things, they’re dumb. I think I want/need a waistpack situation? A FANNY PACK!?
- Running the river in the fall is really motivating and smells good and looks so so nice.
- My shoes are garbage, I really need proper ones. My left foot goes numb in these!
- Always wear way less clothing than you think you need.
#4 is ON POINT. I don’t know how I failed to advise her on that. As for #1, I recommended that she get a Flipbelt, which I vastly prefer to my Spibelt — and for which I should write a review! Or at least update my Spibelt review. I’m totes jealous about #2, and I agree she needs to get new shoes (#3). Anyway, keep up the good work, AJ!!