IT DOESN'T MATTER // CHANGING YOUR PERSPECTIVE
The distance, the time, the weather conditions…it’s all comes second to the pure joy of just lacing up your shoes and pounding the pavement.
On the other hand, there’s just something about the though of having to run in sub zero weather conditions+20+ mph wind that makes you think that all of those things matter a whole heck of a lot. For me, that’s what happened this morning before I had even run a single step. I was stress, stress, STRESSING over how on earth I was going to make it 5 miles out there and still more than a little annoyed with myself for taking a rest day on Monday because of rain/not wanting to run on the treadmill. My mind was going a thousand miles an hour, and running suddenly felt like one of the most complicated things on earth.
How am I going to adjust my pace, my form, and my overall mentality to make it a whopping 5 miles without giving up when the going gets tough? Will this finally be the run where I throw my latest overplayed playlist out the window, and put the musical selection in the hands of the dreaded shuffle button? Oh, and what about the risk of frost bite?!? Needless to say, my expectations were pretty low going into this run. While my initial goal was to go 5 miles, I had to remind myself that it was totally acceptable to only go 3-4 given the circumstances.
When you need guaranteed motivation and inspiration, you go with what you KNOW works.
For me, that meant cuing up my latest playlist…even though I’ve listened to it for basically every run since Christmas. It also meant focusing a lot on form and reminding myself every block or two just how great I was doing; even if I knew the wind was seriously kicking my butt. Mile 1 was not fun at all. It was fast as all get out despite the cold/wind, but I was miserable the whole time. My hands physically hurt because of the cold, my legs were shivering like crazy, and there was snot literally EVERYWHERE. It was honestly more annoying than gross. Somehow, I managed to maintain a 9:25 pace for both miles 1 and 2.
And, then I got to retrace my exact steps for a whole ‘nother lap and the wind seemed to stronger the farther I ran. Regardless of how I was feeling physically (cold, worn out, stiff, etc.), I never once felt the need to stare down at my watch to make sure I was running “fast enough” or “trying hard enough”. In fact, the first time I looked at my watch was when I had to pause it for a train at the 3.7 mile mark. Even then, seeing that I was running at a 9:41 pace so far into my 4th, I didn’t have my usual, “that’s way too slow” reaction. Instead, my first though was, HOLY COW THAT IS SO DARN GOOD, THIS WIND AIN’T GOT NOTHING ON ME.
I will admit, runs like this one really change your perspective on what running and working out in general is really about.
For this run in particular, not having a time goal or being super obsessive over knowing my pace at any given moment actually helped me perform far better than I otherwise would have. It force me to be in the moment for the majority of the time, and run an average pace of 9:36. The minute you take away the pressure of hitting x distance at y speed, running becomes fun again. You’re just happy to be out there, running around in circles and jamming out to good music.
Then, came the task of hitting legs at the gym for 90 minutes immediately afterwards. It doesn’t sound ideal, but it forces me to change my idea of what strength really looks like. Training legs, on any day of the week, is an intense challenge from the get go. So, doing it post long run should be even more challenging…right? Perhaps. It all depends on the mindset you go into the workout with. For me, going in excited and ready to push my physical limits makes a world of difference. Sure, it’s still a physically grueling workout…but with a side of fun and let me see just how much weigh I can load onto the bar and still bust out 10 reps.