Saturday, March 2, 2013

There's running, and then there's running stupid...

I know, I should really know better. I mean, how many years have I been running? But still, every so often, I catch myself doing it - running stupid.

Take last Sunday, for instance. I had a really really tough 19kms. The kind of run where you just want to quit at just over the halfway mark, because you can't even think how your legs are going to make it the rest of the way. Hills feel like they're 20 degrees steeper than they actually are, and there's just no more gas in the tank.

Not a fun run. Those are the days that I catch myself asking, "Do I really want to do this? Do I have to run a marathon this season? I could just start doing other things...yoga...dancing...strength training...This is getting boring and I'm not enjoying this."

According to one of my running buddies, who'd been kindly hanging back with me as I fell further and further away from the pack, at the moment where I told her to go ahead, since I was going to walk up the hill at Chebucto, I gave her "dagger eyes" when she asked if I was sure.

Oops.

I walked, and they ran ahead.

But then, after a short walk break, that little voice inside me that doesn't like me to quit said "Ok, let's go again." So I did. And I caught up with the group, who gave me a little cheer of encouragement for my super bad comeback.

...a comeback that didn't last much longer, since a few kilometres in, I started flagging again.

And what should have been a 23k run ended up being a 19k run. That was it, I was done.

But as I ran, and my legs turned heavier and heavier, the smart little voice that had told me to keep going up the hill at Chebucto had also reminded me of a few salient points (guess that's why it's the smart voice in my head - wish it would pipe up a little more often!):

- on Thursday, I'd had an upset stomach and hadn't eaten well either;
- on Friday, I hadn't had a proper supper. I'd snacked and had a glass of wine, because I had had a late lunch and an afternoon snack, and as I was counting my calories I didn't want to overdo it;- this was followed by what I've chosen to call a "popcorn supper" on Saturday.

Oh. Right.

And then my smart voice piped up again (ok, sometimes it's a bit of a know-it-all voice) and reminded me that I'd also done yoga, plus weights, plus 35 minutes on the bike on Saturday.

Oh...Right...

Is it any surprise that the next day, when I was set to run 23 kms, I ended up feeling like someone had poured lead into my legs about halfway through the run?

Maybe it's arrogance, maybe it's that I've been running (not very fast) for years, so a Sunday run just seems like any other run. But evidently last Sunday I forgot what I already knew: runners need to fuel and rest properly the day before a long run. There's just no getting around it. When you're out there for two and a half, three hours, you need to be able to draw on stored energy, and you need legs that are fairly rested.

So today, I've tried to remember what I forgot last week: I've done an easy 6kms, plus some moderate upper body strength work. But I'm not going to tack on a yoga class just for fun (though it might indeed for fun). And for tonight, I'm skipping the popcorn, and it's either spaghetti or pizza for me, followed by a good night's rest.

And we'll see how tomorrow goes!

Hope your training is going well, runner friends. Just remember: don't get complacent and even though your smart inner voice gets annoying from time to time, it probably knows what's best for you.

~ HRG

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