32 Runs: When Running Stopped Sucking

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FullSizeRenderEvery week, my therapist and I come up with homework assignments for our next session. One of my assignments was to have two long workouts in a week so now rather than having 1 peak day, I have 2 (Mondays and Thursdays).

The longest I’ve ever run so far is around 3 miles. The last time I reached that was January 12 and I haven’t been back there since, mostly because of the minor injuries I’ve experienced the last couple weeks. I’ve been afraid of slowing down the healing process or, God forbid, worsening it. I am taking my time though, gradually building up momentum and allowing myself to recover in between workouts.

Today I ran a little over 2.5 miles. It was a great workout. I maintained my pace of 3 minutes off, 3 minutes on and although I didn’t run consistently through, my cadence was much more consistent throughout. And it was just enough challenge to keep me working hard.

Also I think I realized after last week’s workout that I wasn’t coming down enough from my on phases. For example, even though I was running at 3.1 on the treadmill, I would only drop down to 2.5 (fast walk) which wasn’t enough for me to recover for the next set. So now, I go up to 3.1 or 3.2, but then I drop down to 2.0. It allowed me to slow my breath a bit, brought my heart rate down just enough, and then gave my legs some time to recover. As a result, I was able to get more consistent peaks in this run than I’ve had in past runs.

Someone asked me at what point did running stop sucking. It was a really good question, one that made me think back over the last few weeks. Was there one definitive moment or was it a gradual conversion? I wasn’t sure.

I can only describe it as the moment when the pain in my legs went away and I no longer wanted to puke my guts out. It was then that I realized I was able to just focus on my cadence and my breathing. Thump, thump, inhale, thump, thump, exhale… thump, thump, inhale, thump, thump, exhale… The combined sound of my feet on the treadmill plus my breathing sounded like a tribal rhythm.

At that point, time became inconsequential and my mind became… meditative.

Once I caught myself going over my 3 minute set, other times I ran far enough to only have a few seconds left. My therapist described that once. She wanted me to get to that point where I was so immersed in something that food was no longer on the brain. That’s where I am when I run. When I find that rhythm, when my legs realize that hey, I really can do this, that’s when it stopped sucking.

February 2015 Log

DateTimeDistance (Miles)Pace (Time / Minutes)
2/1/1532m 23s1.5820m 25s
2/2/1554m 8s2.5521m 12s
2/4/1510m 11s.5817m 33s
2/5/1554m 33s2.5221m 34s
2/7/1539m 56s1.7822m 23s
2/9/1559m 22s2.5323m 24s
2/12/1555m 10s 2.5721m 25s
2/13/1536m 4s1.5423m 25s
2/14/1523m 6s1.0422m 8s
2/17/1555m 24s2.5221m 55s
2/22/1540m 09s1.6823m 52s
2/24/1551m 22s2.222m 56s
2/26/1543m 29s1.823m 51s
February brings challenges but I'm up for them.

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