The long run. Every time I do it I am consumed with a mantra, “This is going to hurt.” Sometimes it does. Sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes I cry when I’m done. Sometimes I cheer. But each time it gets longer.
To be honest, I love the idea of saying I ran a half marathon but I just cannot say I relish the idea of surrendering countless hours per day into training. The hours are so precious, I have to draw the line somewhere. Maybe when both my kids are in school full time and I’m supporting myself mostly with my handmade business I can devote about 2 hours a day to running. For now, the long run once per week is all I can do.
For me, a long run is all about what is going on upstairs. My body can always make it. It is an awesome and powerful feeling to have that confidence, which I didn’t always have. When I tell myself it is going to hurt, I also remind myself, ‘But I can do it.’ In the throes of running many miles, however, it is a mind game. You’ve got to have something to mull over, distract yourself with or tell yourself in a way that is motivating.
One day things went a little sideways just before my run and my husband was messaging me as I was starting and I couldn’t get in the groove. I tried; I turned up the music, I focused on the distance. I couldn’t. I walked for the rest of my workout time and felt frustrated.
Never once has my body failed a challenge I laid before it. But my head, sometimes doesn’t cooperate.
I read that once you run a 5k you have the ability to run a 10k simply because of the training you’ve invested in the shorter run. For me, I have incredible difficulty finding time to squeeze in an extra 35 minutes of running in one sitting. However, one day per week I set aside one run, just one, where I creep up the distance. Some times that’s only a quarter mile, sometimes a half. But I push it.
Because I am also particularly hard on myself, once I start to feel terribly tired at the end of the run, I increase the treadmill speed, even if just a notch or two. That way I’ll really know tired. Of late my long runs have lagged as the kids’ schedule has changed and we’ve been busy with all sorts of unexpected or unscheduled stuff. But in the back of my mind, the long run looms, and I know I can’t ignore it.
Now I run my long run at the same speed as my 5k and it makes me so happy. I’ve more work to do, the run isn’t long enough yet for my upcoming race. But, where the body leads, the mind will follow.
I’m going the distance. You?