Posted tagged ‘long run’

How to Mess Up a Perfectly Good Saturday Run (and ache for days afterward)

February 7, 2012

After several years as a runner, I should know that my performance on a run depends as much on my mental state as my physical state.  I should know this.  I never seem to really remember it, though.

I do my long runs on Saturday.  I wake up early.  I head out no between 6:30 and 7, so that I am finished no later than 9.  Amy respects my need to run, but I don’t want to make the whole family’s Saturday revolve around my running schedule.

I started feeling a sneaking dread about last Saturday’s run on Friday night.  I felt tired.  I didn’t want to blog.  I didn’t want to do anything.  In fact, I laid about on the couch from the time Janie went to bed until I went to bed playing the free version of Scrabble on my phone.  That’s right… I don’t care enough to buy the actual app, yet I wasted an entire night messing around with my online Scrabble opponents.

Maybe dread is too strong a word.  It was really more like apathy.  I didn’t want to do a long run.  I hadn’t run more than 5 miles a pop for more than two weeks, and I felt ambivalent at best about putting forth the amount of energy a 13.1 mile run takes.  So, I kept hitting snooze on my alarm.  Even though I knew I needed to get up and eat, so I could get out of the house on time.  Even though I could smell the brewed coffee waiting for me in the kitchen.  Snooze.

All this is a long lead in to say that, while I made decent time on my Saturday run, it was painful.  In fact, I decided to cut my run down to a 10 miler, because my right calf began cramping around mile 8 and my left quad tightened a bit more with each mile.  And my knees felt every connection with the pavement.  I am not fan of stopping short of my mileage goal on a run, but I also know running shouldn’t hurt.  Especially not in a training run.  A stubbornness inflicted injury also would not get much sympathy from Amy.

Why all the aches and pains?  Remember that apathy/dread I mentioned?  It manifested itself in tension in all my muscles, an obsession with my pacing, and a bizarre (and misguided) need to push off with my calves to gain speed.  My head just wasn’t where it needed to be, and my body responded by completely freaking out.

I am actually looking forward to this Saturday’s run.  My calves finally feel normal again (I could barely walk for two dang days), and I am excited to see what I can do out there.  And this is a much better way to approach a run.

13.1 miles.  Bring it.

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