I had a great run this Saturday! 6.25 miles, which I think is the longest I’ve run since this injury started. I was nervous going into it because I’ve been doing so well lately and would have been crushed if any pains popped up. My doctor said I can run as long as nothing hurts, so I decided to try again while, of course, being cautious.
For now, I’m still continuing on as normal for the NYC Half. I’m not doing speedwork though. I have zero time goals. Since this will just be a fun race in my favorite city, there’s no pressure. Without all the pressure, I have time to relax and think, which turned into a minor revelation that I shared in a Snapchat story from the beach. On this particular run, there were two things I finally learned as a runner…two very basic lessons I should have learned a LONG time ago. (Shamless plug: follow me on Snapchat: KaraRuns729!)
For new runners or runners returning from injury, here are two things I’m learning to embrace.
Walk breaks are beneficial.
I used to basically consider a run a failure if I stopped to walk. I looked at walking as though it meant defeat. Now, I’ve reframed it in my head as more of a self-love and preservation thing. My mind knows where I once was, what my PRs are and what I can accomplish when I put the effort in. But I can’t keep pretending like I’m in that position now. I can run 6 miles if I toss in some rejuvenating walk breaks. No, it’s not exactly what I WANT to be doing…but my mind knows it’s better for me in the long run (no pun intended! LOLZ.) I can’t keep looking at it on the surface, I need to think of it as investing in my body for the future.
Running slower isn’t a bad thing.
I have similar feelings about slowing the pace. Just because you could once run a consistent 8:45 mile in a long run, doesn’t mean you’re in shape to do that now. Be honest with yourself: what’s your benchmark right now? Again, running easy doesn’t mean defeat. To me, it means I’m taking care of myself – both the current me and the future me. Eventually we can get back to where we were if we practice patience now. (#ImGrowingUp) Plus, easy runs are crucial for a quicker recovery, whether you’re returning from injury, had a tough training week, or even if you’re just tense from a stressful day in general. If you’re addicted to checking your pace (like me!) or if seeing slower paces makes you feel unneccesarily horrible (like me sometimes, I admit it!), leave the Garmin or whatever GPS you have at home for now, or at least switch the settings so you’re only shown distance while running – not pace. Take it easy and ENJOY it…because that’s OKAY! You’re taking care of yourself.
This isn’t groundbreaking stuff; I don’t know why it took me so long to TRULY embrace these lessons. (Let’s just hope I remember them the next time I’m seriously training for a race!) As long as you’re not using them as excuses to be lazy, I think they’re great ways to take care of yourself and continue along as a healthy runner.
What basic lessons took you a long time to ACTUALLY learn?