I think we can all remember a time where we came home from a run thinking that it was awful and despite all your best efforts of preparing and doing all the small things, it just didn’t go well. I know I can be really hard on myself when that happens and spend a lot of time analyzing what went wrong. It is important that you realize those days are going to happen. I had one run with a coworker recently that went south quickly (literally and figuratively). When it was all said and done, I had to chalk it up to just one of those days. The quicker you move on and realize it is all part of the process, the sooner you find your stride and have a good run to back it up.
Last week was a tough one for me. I love the summer and all that goes along with it. I won’t lie, the running has been less than ideal. I go out for runs and struggle with the heat, humidity and quality of air. My normal pace has felt so hard and I can’t seem to recover between intervals. After a tough week of thinking that I won’t reach my goals, I gave myself a weekend to reflect. Instead of thinking I need to do more, I think I just need to change what I am doing. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. No wonder I was driving myself crazy.
What will I change? I will get back in the weight room. I saw such a huge difference in my running when I was lifting weights twice a week. It is great to feel strong and I also feel less beat up throughout my running when my glutes are strong and I work on my core. It feels good to take a day off of running, especially if you replace it with a weight session. Weights are not easy for me, so I push through them because then the running becomes more enjoyable.
I think as runners we make getting out the door and going for a run a habit. However, we continually struggle with making the small things a habit. It is extremely crucial to get 7-8 hours of sleep. Any less than that and you are not giving your body time to recover. It can do amazing things while you are sleeping, but you need to let it do so. As much as I loved the Olympics, I am relieved they are over. I was recording more coverage than I had time for and sacrificing sleep to watch everyone compete in everything. I mean it’s only on once every four years, right? Not to mention the emotional drain they caused. (Abbey D’Agostino falling in the 5k and Jenny Simpson winning bronze in the 1500 both made me cry.)
I also can lose some of my focus when it comes to pre- and post-run fueling. I was so upset when my mile repeats on Friday didn’t go well, but had I just been more prepared, I wouldn’t have run out of time for breakfast and ate that doughnut at work 2 hours before my run. Talk about a drop in blood sugar during mile 3. Think ahead so you can be successful in working towards your goals.
The funny thing is that sometimes just running won’t make you stronger in running. You need to give your body other things to strengthen and recover it so that when you are running you feel good. It’s time for me to get back to those weekly weight sessions and implement cross training to give my body variety. Running an easy 4 miles at lunch does nothing for me if I feel bad and put strain and pounding on my body that it is unnecessary. It is very possible that a 45 minute weight session followed by some foam rolling is just what the doctor ordered, and how I can reach my goals.