That is the way that most of my long runs for my training have been so far. Either its the altitude change or just something purely mental. Today I set out for my long determined to change the way that I have felt about them so far.
I researched some tips online and figured out that I may be starting out too fast and burning myself out before I could finish the run. I was being really hard on myself and pushing myself too much, because my comfortable pace is a bit slower here than it was at sea level. Because of this I was pushing myself too hard and beating myself up for not being able to run at the same speed. But today was different.
Like I said, I was determined to have a good run today. Afterall, I run because I love it and it makes me feel good. I needed to get back to the roots of why I started running in the first place.
I started out this morning at 8AM ready for a 10 mile run. I kept track of my pace and decided to keep it at a moderate pace for the first half of the run so that I didn't burn myself out too quickly. And it worked! I kept at a slow and steady pace of about 9 minute miles for the first 5 mile stretch of the run. By the time it was time to turn around and come back for the last stretch, I felt great!! I decided for the last few miles I would just let myself go at whatever pace I felt comfortable with, and at one point I looked down at my watch and was running a 6:58 pace! What the heck?! I guess starting out slow really does work!
I even felt good enough to go one more extra mile and was able to finish with a strong sprint for the last quarter mile. Todays run really gave that confidence boost that I needed. It felt great to get that long run in this week and not feel like I had just gotten hit by a bus! That being said, I was reading an article in Runner's magazine today that talked about mental tricks to use to get you through those mental blocks when running, and some of them really helped me. Here are some highlights:
- While your running pick a spot in the distance and pick up your pace until you get there - I did this ALOT during this run and it really helped. The last quarter mile that I sprinted, I focused on an underpass the whole time and it really got me through it.
- Pick a new route - this really helped me a lot today too. I found a new way to go on the trail that I had been running on that was a lot nicer and shaded. Plus taking in the new scenery really made me want to go further to see what was next!
- Focus on positive things, not negative - this is something that I really struggle with. I will look down at my watch and think "what? 10 minute pace? you slow poke!" and then I will push myself too hard and burn out. Today I focused on comfortably running and not looking at my watch so much and I finished the run feeling proud, not down on myself.
What do you do to get through the "running funk?"
Do you believe that running is more mental than it is physical?