Monday, April 2, 2012

Running is so much mental

   I haven't been running very much lately. My barefoot running has been going ok, but, my right foot has been giving me some pain so I have been taking it easy. I have had a couple of good sessions at the track I am happy about though.

    About three weeks ago I went for a nice hike with my daughter Jillian. It was so nice to be outdoors on a beautiful day, and the one on one time with her is always great. I asked if she wouldn't mind stopping at the track after so I could try to beat my best mile time. She ran track in high school and has timed me before, so she was up for it. My previous best time was 6:19, I was going to be happy with anything better than that. After some nice warm up laps, I was ready to go. The hiking before actually made my legs feel like they were strong, so I was excited. I have to add, my long range goal was to break 6:00 minutes, eventually. Sometimes, I just throw numbers out there, perhaps not always realistic, at least it gives me something to shoot for. My quarter mile splits were right on my goal pace, on the fast side actually. I ended up with a 6:01. I knew if I had pushed, that beating 6:00 was well within my reach, at least on that day. Happy with my performance,yet eager to try it again, I returned to the track the next weekend, and ran a 5:53. What is so encouraging for me, is that all my training for the marathon obviously is paying off. having not seen it on race day, this improvement at the track was a much needed mental boost.

   Still in a bit of a slump, and not as motivated as I would like to be, I decided to go do a long run. I was off today for vacation, so I planned that this would be a great day to go for a nice run, getting in some time on the trails as well. I picked a route, a rough idea anyway where I would go, not quite sure of the distance, but knowing that I really didn't have any time constraints I really didn't care. I ended up doing 16.5 miles, a little less than half on trails actually. The trail sections were so much fun though and such a good total body workout, with the hills and rocks, it was really motivating. I will be honest though, my legs really felt it when I was done. I did my usual stretching, followed by cold water on my legs, after spending some time lying down with my legs elevated. This seems to have done the trick, I feel pretty good.

   The best thing I feel though, is a real desire to get out there and put in some miles. I haven't felt like this since finishing the marathon, just about five weeks ago. It is a process, to get back into your usual mental state that is conducive to productive training. Without being motivated to get out there, what you end up with is just going through the motions and being faced with a real challenge to stick with whatever schedule you have set up.

   I really needed todays run, to make me realize my long term goals are to continue to improve, and most importantly have fun running. What is fun for me is to push myself, and see improvement, to know that even though I am getting older, it doesn't mean I can't continue to get in better shape, and feel better physically and mentally.

   My plan is to try to get in some decent miles weekly, I'll shoot for around 30 miles, if I can do about half on some trails this should build a nice base for me. Hills are always part of my route, and an occasional session at the track. Getting a fastest 2 mile time is my next goal there.

    I guess the bottom line is that as far as running goes, find out what is needed to make it fun, set some goals. Sign up for a race, even if it is your first. Be careful though, it can be addicting, but what better thing to be hooked on. See you out there!

   Happy running