From Casual to Training
The longer miles… not wanting to take a day off running… what is THAT?
There’s something that comes with running longer. A friend tried to convince me of this once when we were living in Auckland, New Zealand. She told me to just go out and run 10 miles, however slow, and I’d be addicted. Truth is, I think I cheated a tiny little bit that day and it wasn’t addicting. Not after one day.
I’ve run at least annual 13.1-mile half marathons since 2007 (just scoured the internet!), but still no substantial training miles logged around those – maybe 7 or 8 miles once in the couple of weeks before.
As you know, I was merely running 3-4 miles maybe 2-3 times a week at best for most months on the calendar these last few years. Steady pace, late in the day if the mood struck me.
Fast forward to the past 6 weeks of marathon training. Suddenly I’m running long! Longer than I ever have in my life! I’m up to a midweek run of 10 miles, and just ran my longest ever 18 mile run on the weekend. With more 5ish mile runs on the other days.
(soaking my entire legs in the ocean after 18 miles!)
Some folks might look at training as painful and “forced”. Like you gotta run 8 miles, like it or not, and it doesn’t seem fun with all that pressure. But I think you’d see your mindset quickly go in a completely different direction if you’re anything like me! (see, casual schedule above) I invite you to try it!
Seriously within maybe a week, or the second week to be generous (I tend to exaggerate), I became addicted. Big time. Taking a rest day became painful, that soon. What do you mean I can’t run today?!?! I actually started dreading the 4-5 mile runs way more than the 10-18 mile runs. Taking a quick 45-minute loop seems more like “I have to”, whereas dedicating a couple HOURS to running is enjoyable. My Saturday morning, the beautiful views, listening to an audiobook, the introspection… it’s all mine.
My runs are pretty much all morning runs now, being sure to eat and drink properly to fuel them. Some include speedwork or an increased pace, some are “easy”. The variety has certainly kept up my motivation too, and of course having great running pals! But I’m actually caring about and looking forward to the quality of my runs. Still cringing on the rest days, ha!
You don’t have to set a marathon goal to start challenging yourself a little more. Pick an upcoming race, or no race at all if you prefer! But in this gorgeous time of year and perfect conditions, pick a Saturday morning ahead and say “I’m going to run longer than ever on that day” (or faster or hillier or biking, what’s your personal challenge?). Relax your pace, pick a cool new location, pop in some headphones, and embark!
OR, invite a friend! Help give someone else a new goal!
Incidentally, I’ve been spying some great write-ups lately from people who started running just one minute at a time, built up that excitement for running, and have gone on to achieve great goals for themselves! Your distance can be ANY distance!
Motivations around the web: