I hope there’s some truth to the saying that if you have a horrible long run, the next one will be stellar.
Okay, maybe it’s not an official “saying” per se, unless you group tweets from well-meaning friends together with all those wise old proverbs (which I do).
You get out what you put in. A rolling stone gathers no moss. A stitch in time saves nine. It’s not over ’til it’s over. After a terrible long run, your next long run will be glorious.
I sure hope you two are right, because Saturday’s long run was NO BUENO.
Mistake #1: Never start a 10 mile run at 2pm. Especially not when the temperature is over 75 degrees.
Since I’m not necessarily training to RACE the Brooklyn Half on Saturday, I didn’t do much of a taper over the past week. I decided to stick with a 10 mile long run instead of scaling back. I AM hoping to PR, only because my current half PR was run while in marathon training, back when I barely ever noticed pace or had time goals in mind. I just ran to finish. (I feel sorry for old me! I love tracking my paces and evaluating as the season goes on now.)
I think that my experience and mental motivation should help propel me to a glistening new half PR, fully racing or not.
Back to Saturday. The first half of my 10 miles was fine. Hot and hilly, but I felt strong and continued to keep a semi-even pace with each mile. I even ran in two states! No big deal.
Mistake #2: Don’t make your first mile your fastest one.
I NEVER DO THIS! I excel in warming up slowly and picking up my pace with each mile. However, in this run, my first mile was the fastest. I rested my foot all week and was a little overeager about getting back out there. Plus, I had been waiting all day; I’m used to long runs being first thing in the morning, but it just wasn’t feasible on Saturday. So there I was, anxious and semi-speedy and all hopped up on Nuun.
The hills nixed that fairly quickly.
Around mile 7 I stopped to refuel for literally 20 seconds. It was all downhill from there.
Mistake #3: Don’t get lost.
I veered onto a high school cross country path that A) was totally overgrown in the middle. A weed whacker would have been useful. And B) the path randomly fed me into a fenced in soccer field, where I proceeded to run around in circles trying to find my way out.
Eventually I made it out of high school soccer field hell, and ended up finishing the last 4-ish miles extremely slowly and grumpily.
I haven’t had this bad of a run in months. MONTHS. I’ve never wanted a run to be over so badly. Legs dragging, heavy breathing, hot and sweaty and salty and exhausted. I think I needed it though. I need to remember that feeling; every run isn’t going to be all rainbows and butterflies, people! I’m trying to learn from this experience and remember what it’s like to struggle in a double digit run. I’ll be able to draw strength from this experience next time I’m toughing it out on a hard race course.
Since my friends say this means I’m going to dominate my next long run, AKA BROOKLYN HALF, I’ll take my less-than-stellar run with a grain of salt (another saying! I’m full of them!) and will continue to be positive about Saturday. I’ve spent a good portion of the past few days playing around with pacing calculators and have been trying to figure out every possible PR-worthy combination. I have my eventual sub-2 goal everywhere..post-its, on my phone alarm, calendar…I would write it on my forehead if that was socially acceptable.
However…Sub-2 isn’t something I’ve been training for seriously quite yet; this is more of a “hooray I’m finally back from injury and am running my first half in over a year” race. I have my coach Michele ready and waiting to get me there once we’re past Brooklyn. I WILL get there eventually, but I’m not going to be unrealistic about my first half back. I went into this planning it as a training run. I WILL stay motivated though, and will not be afraid to push myself. I WILL listen to how my body feels; I hope I have the strength to back off if my body tells me to.
For me, this race is about staying tough but smart. Motivated but cautious. Remembering why I run and why I’m out there zooming (I hope I’m “zooming”) through Coney Island. Simply for the love of it. As much as I want to go out there and absolutely dominate Brooklyn, I know I need to be careful. I want to run for life; not just now.
Maybe Saturday’s run felt rough in the moment. Maybe I didn’t follow “the rules” about pacing and fueling and proper time of day to run. But I made it happen. I finished. I wasn’t in any injury-related pain. I learned from it. I evaluated what I did wrong. I ran 10 miles. That’s nothing to shake a stick at! (That IS a saying, right?! What does it even mean?). A conscious runner learns from every run. I simply never come back after pounding the pavement as the same person. Through every step I’m growing and overcoming different challenges and becoming a better athlete.
I even felt good enough the next morning to go to a light strength training class with my friend Sam and two ridiculously peppy instructors. We totally skipped the jumping parts; I’m being extra careful with jumps! I felt like a cheater! But the good news is, I wasn’t sore from my run the prior afternoon…which is amazing to me. I remember training for my first half-marathon and being unable to simply walk down subway steps after 9,10, or 11+ miles. How’s that for seeing specific, measurable results?
Must be my compression socks, right?! (Or maybe I’m getting stronger and tougher! Who knew.) Regardless, I’ve become obsessed with Pro Compression. I’m
slowly adding to my collection and am still debating which color I should wear on Saturday. Pink, black, or white? Everyone says pink but I’m wearing neon pink shorts. Can you have too much pink? Probably not.
What do you think about running a race without fully “racing” every once in a while? Do you like to add races into your training plans like I do? Ever gotten lost on a run? Do you like compression socks? Running the Brooklyn Half? Let’s meet up!