Sunday morning, I ran with my ipod (something I rarely do) for 8.5 lonely miles. I raced to the running store on my bike and was just a minute or so too late and was trailing everyone.
But it all worked out because I knew this short long run of mine would be slow going and I didn't want anyone else's pace dictating mine. The thing is, those eight miles felt like FOREVER. That run felt almost as hard as my 30 miler the previous weekend.
I know it sounds like crazy talk, but it was tough. From mile five on, I walked a minute or so every mile. My hip and glute needed it. Mentally, I knew I could finish the run, but physically I was okay with giving my body a break and taking my time.
These are the runs that truly make us stronger in the long run. I don't dwell on the crappy runs because I know they have their purpose.
These runs tell me:
- when I'm overtraining
- if I'm exhausted or sick
- when I need to ease it back
- if I have the kind of guts it takes to finish strong on race day
They don't tell me: that I'm a failure or that I'm always going to be injured or that my pace is destined to be X. They're just indicators of things I need to be aware of. And frankly, sometimes they just happen with no rhyme or reason.
So, if you're experiencing a less than pleasant run here and there, don't sweat it. Be confident in your training (but listen to your body).
I can tell you that I'm looking forward to another few strong weeks of training, getting a massage (you convinced me) and getting over this little cold that wore me down this weekend before it's MARATHON TIME! <-- I can't believe it's almost here!