JUST GET THROUGH IT
I over analyze everything. Every workout. Every run. Every weird ass dream that I think is telling me something about my real life. It' kind of my thing. And I can at least attribute part of that to my fascination and interest in psychology (although I'm only a psych. minor!). True to regular form, I have been doing a whole lot of analyzing (with a tad bit of over analyzing thrown in) in regards to these last several runs.
Wednesday's 5 miler was just plain BAD. I didn't enjoy it one bit, the gym was still hot/humid AF, and I found myself struggling pretty much the whole way. What made this run so bad was that even though I wasn't hooked up to the heart rate thing, the treadmill screen still continued to flash my heart rate in my face incessantly. Which normally wouldn't bother me, but it just made the struggle seem that much worse. Plus, the fact that my heart rate was going all over the place (rather than staying steady cause I was trudging along at 6 mph for the entire run) just made me go into panic mode.
However, I was able to get the mileage in and turn things around on Thursday's speedy 3 miler. I ran another sub 27 minute time (26:48) which surprisingly felt good. It was a nigh and day difference between Wednesday's run. I was so proud of myself that I had been able to go to that scary/overwhelming place pace wise for the second time this week. Then, yet again, today's run didn't feel right. Or fun.
You see, ever since I started doing the whole run fast/short one day, then longer/slower the next, I have found myself just trying to get through these long runs. Sure, in the beginning, I was running some of the 4's and the occassional 5 miler at like 9:40 or 45 pace. Upping the speed just a little bit every mile. But then, probably around the time I committed to this whole half marathon training. My mindset then proceeded to shift to a more hard and fast definition of what it means to run "fast" versus "slow".
I have found myself approaching my long dungeon treadmill runs as more of a have to. A recovery in a sense in between my speed days, and a necessity for my training. I took slow to mean staying at 6 mph for the entire time, no matter what. Part of it was me mentally convincing myself that I "needed" these slow runs to recover from these crazy fast Tues/Thurs. speed days. Another part of me, the type A personality/everything needs to go according to plan part, was scared of not getting in x miles per week and my 4 long runs.
I have had a fear that if I go any faster than 6 mph at any point during my long runs on the crappy dugeon treadmill I won't be able to go the distance I have planned for that day. And that will throw off my training. And, I NEED my training to go perfectly because this is my first half-marathon. It's a huge deal to me, and I want to do well. I want to give it my all. I also really, really DESPISE the treadmill that I have been stuck running on while in college.
At the same time, especially on today's 4 mile run, I found myself really hating running in the middle of everything. More specifically, I hated having to hold that slow of a pace for the entire time. It felt like I was going no where fast. Sure, I realize not every run is going to be at a 9 or 9:15 average pace per mile. And from time to time, after a serious of hard runs or when my legs are really sore, I used to look forward to those 10 minute mile days. But, when those days go from once a week to 3-4 times a week...it gets old.
One thing I have been able to get out of this weeks running in particular (and the end of last week) is that at least the hot/humid dungeon running is in a way preparing me for how training is going to be this summer. Which honestly scares the shit out of me. I have almost forgotten what it's like to run when it's super hot/humid out. And I don't exactly have a whole lot of experience with running 6+ miles six times a week in that kind of weather. Shoot, I haven't ran super long in shorts or even a tank top in like forever.
I worry about getting overheated, or just fatiguing too early on a really long run. Figuring how/when to take energy gels while running is also something I need to figure out before September. So, yeah. I really want to get to a place where I'm doing more than just checking the miles off. Even though I only have 2 dungeon runs left.
I have a six miler on the schedule for Sunday, and I refuse to let it be another just get through it run. I want to have fun, or as much fun as I can possibly have while running in less than ideal conditions. I am going to up the speed by .1 every mile and I really don't care if that means I only end up doing 4-5 miles instead of 6. Because, at the end of the day, one run doesn't make or break training. This whole half marathon thing is not about race day. It's about the journey of becoming a stronger runner and learning to enjoy the ups/down of the process.