The Lesson I Learned Today

Happy Wednesday and hooray for being halfway through the week!

Sometimes, I feel like all of my running epiphanies are super obvious and you are all rolling your eyes, thinking, Duh! But then I remind myself running lessons often have to be relearned many times, in many different contexts. I also remind myself some of you might be beginners or novices to distance running and we’re all in this together. And my running epiphanies might help you out.

Today, I ran 6 miles on trails. One day a week I either run on the track or on trails to switch it up and give my body a break from the sidewalks and asphalt.

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It was chilly and because I refuse to accept that summer hasn’t quite arrived, I was in shorts. The first 3 miles were brutal. I felt like I was keeping a good pace (which is all relative but for me that’s between 9:15-9:30/mile) and when I looked down at my watch, it ranged from 9:55-10:15/mile.

I know, I know, pace isn’t that important because my goal is to cross the finish line. But feeling like I was running at one pace and seeing I was way off was really messing with my head. This is the same problem I’ve been having on my long runs (but I’m far more capable of letting go of pace goals after mile 10.)

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Then I turned around (because the trail turned into a mountain goat paradise of rocks that no one in their right mind would run up) and it was like a switch flipped. I was flying.

Because of the nature of this trail, it wasn’t like going out was all uphill and going back was all downhill. It was pretty evenly rolling hills both ways but for some reason, the second half of the run felt easier.

I felt like I was exerting the same effort on mile 4 as I had on mile 3, but mile 4 was 8:57 and mile 3 was 10:26. I kept pushing myself, because it didn’t feel like I was working as hard as I had for those 10:00 miles, and mile 6 ended up being 7:33.

For reference, when I ran my first long run of this training cycle, mile 6 was 8:02 and I was ecstatic. This is a major improvement.

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Okayso what was this big epiphany?

I’m glad you asked. The epiphany hit sometime around mile 4: One bad mile does not ruin all the others.

*mind blown*

I’m exaggerating but this is a big deal. Like I mentioned, I’ve been struggling with my perceived effort not matching my actual pace. If I see one really slow mile (that isn’t up one of the mile-long hills I run regularly) it messes with my mindset. But realizing that one bad mile doesn’t negate my ability to run a good, easy mile in the same run is like getting to the top of a big-ass mental hill to find the most amazing view:

I struggled, at times I thought I would fail, but I made it.

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I’ve been collecting mantras to use on my long runs and, eventually, the marathon. Here’s the list so far:

-Hard is not impossible.

-Run this mile.

-One bad mile does not ruin all the others.

-Yes, you can.

I hope one can help you on your next hard run, or hard workout, or hard day at work.

Until next time,

Elizabeth

 

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