No, this is not turning into a running blog, it’s just come up a lot lately! Soon I’ll be back in NY with much more variety in my workouts. However, today I’m linking up with Amy from Running Escapades for Where I Run.
Amy is a fellow GirlsGoneSporty Ambassador. Make sure you head over to her blog and check out some of the other posts. WIth bloggers from all over the country (world?), you just might find a new route to try!
I love to run in pretty places. It’s basically the only thing that gets me through it. I also prefer trail running, but anywhere I can be surrounded by nature works for me.
Home in New York
When we are at home, I run on the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail. It goes super close to our house, and you feel like you are miles away from everything when you’re on it.
This summer in Mass.
By sheer amazing luck, the room we are staying in this summer is steps away from the Charles River. There is a conservation area with trail that stretches from where we are out in the ‘burbs all the way into the city. This is where we do our long runs every weekend, and where I do my short runs if I’m not at the track or running hills. It’s so beautiful, I love it.
For hill sprints, we run in Prospect Hill Park. I wish I had found this place sooner. I definitely would have done even more running here. The hill we do is KILLER. It’s more like steps. If you’re a hiker, you know what I’m talking about, those parts where they arrange rocks to make steps. It buuuuuurns! The pictures do NOT do justice to how steep it is.
But wait, it keeps going. This picture was taken from the highest point you can see in the one above.
I am DYING by the time we reach the top. I wore my HRM last time and my heart rate hits 180. So awful. So effective.
I had John snap a picture with me in it to try and give some perspective. Not as effective as I hoped, so you’ll just have to take my word for it. 🙂
Bonus: Our old Florida run!
Fun fact, John and I lived in Tampa for a few years! Before this recent running spell, the last time I ran regularly was when we lived there. I always ran on Bayshore Boulevard.
DOUBLE fun fact, it’s also where John proposed. 🙂
I was a sweaty emotional mess (it was July in Tampa!).
After we moved there, it’s also where we had our first date night in our new home. They have awesome stations spread along the trail where you can stop and do strength work, which makes it an even more amazing place to run. That night we used them to goof around…
Or maybe I was subconsciously preparing years in advance for the Spartan! If you are ever in the area, I definitely recommend it. It’s so beautiful and calming in the morning.
Happy Monday! It’s the last Monday in July, which just seems kind of insane to me. I had a marvelous weekend and I hope you did too!
(Don’t forget to visit Katie over at Healthy Diva Eats for some more Monday inspiration.)
My dad came to visit us for a little while this weekend, which was super nice! We had a great time just talking, walking the neighborhood, and enjoying some good food. No pictures though, total blogger fail!
On a total whim, John and I headed to check out the Quincy area on Saturday. We have spent a lot of time looking at neighborhoods this summer, and Quincy was originally on our list, but we had kind of forgotten about it. We’re SO glad we headed over because we kind of love it! There is a huge revitalization effort underway, and I think we’ll just love it more over time. So if we come back to Boston, it’s at the top of our list.
One of my favorite things about Quincy is that it’s by the water! Living near the ocean is kind of a dream of mine. We headed over to the water after scoping out the area and arrived just in time for sunset!
You can see the Boston skyline and everything. Seriously, total perfection. <3
After our run on Sunday (see below), we went back again for lunch. I ordered veggie fajitas and was greeted with a BEHEMOTH of a plate of food.
The bottom picture is the “after” picture. There was so much there that you can barely tell I ate anything! I was stuffed though. Very cost-effective though because John and I split the leftovers for dinner!
Wait… Running? Marvelous? That can’t be right… we all know I loathe running. But today, it is! I had the best run of my life this weekend!! I had not one, but two PRs. I ran the farthest I’ve ever run – 10 miles. TEN!! And I ran them faster than I have ever run a long run.
Everything just felt right. The last mile or two was rough on my joints (as usual), but I just couldn’t believe how good it felt until then. In the grand scheme of things, I was still slow. But here is the thing: three months ago, the farthest I had ever run was five miles, and I doubled that distance. A ten minute mile may not be that fast, but in April, I could barely maintain that pace for two miles.
The whole experience comes back to patience, something I talked about in my inversions post the other day. It also reminded me of one of my favorite quotes:
Running sucked when I started in April. I was even slower, every mile was a battle, and I hated every step. I spent the whole time thinking about all the workouts I would rather be doing and why they were so much better than running (in my grumpy opinion). There were times I felt like it was taking “too long” for me to get better. Now it’s July, and I actually enjoyed my run today (again, who am I??). I was super proud of myself when it ended. I even felt fast (cue laughter from all the more seasoned runners out there). John was super impressed and kind of shocked. I was shocked myself! Here’s the thing though, if I had given up in April, I wouldn’t be where I am now, but it would still be the end of July. Whatever goal you are working towards, keep going. There will be bad days and setbacks, but the time will pass anyway, so you might as well keep getting closer.
Stepping off my soapbox to head to work now. Have a marvelous Monday 🙂
Happy Memorial Day Weekend! And welcome to all the new readers who’ve come over from my Lady Lifter Spotlight at Jennifer’s! It is a craaaazy time around here right now. Today is my birthday bash, we’re moving tomorrow, and I start my internship on Tuesday. Yikes! I’m tired just thinking about it. However, despite the madness, I promised a follow-up post and I’m going to deliver!
Part 1 focused on why I hate running so much. Recently, I’ve made some changes that have helped me learn to like tolerate running. Believe it or not, in my entire life, I had never run further than 5 miles, and when I started making these changes, I hadn’t done so in several years. Three weeks ago, I went for a 5 mile run, the following week my long run was six miles, and this week it was 7! I was so proud and kind of amazed, and the only changes I made were mental. If you have also struggled with running, hopefully some part of this will help you the way it has helped me. If you already love running and rock at it, than you rock, I’m jealous, and most of this will probably be obvious or irrelevant for you. 🙂
1. Changing my attitude.
This was the first step in the process for me and it happened long before I started my new running plan, but it’s important. I had to stop letting my running problems define me as a non-athlete, out of shape, or even sub-par. There are lots of other very active, very fit people out there who don’t like to run. Once I let go of that vision of myself, I was able to truly embrace my inner fitgirl by rocking at the types of exercise I love and excel at. This may seem like an easy step, but if you are where I was, it can be difficult. Do it anyway! When you find yourself doubting, think of me!
2. Changing my approach.
For a number of reasons I won’t get into here, in the past couple months, the way I think about running has started to shift. My biggest problem was pace. In his defense, John (a running machine) always used to say to me, “you need to find a pace,” to which I would angrily reply “I’m trying! I run with the music!” I thought he meant I needed to run faster and maintain that speed. Turns out I was wrong and he was just struggling to explain something that was natural to him.
Here is what I was doing wrong. Every time I went out for a run, I would try to run as far as I could, as fast as I could. Why? Well people are always comparing how many minutes per mile they run and how far they can go, so I assumed the goal was maximum distance at the maximum pace. I was right in some ways, but what I didn’t realize was most people can’t do both of those at the same time. At least not right away. A close friend of mine was training for a ten mile run, and she and I (and some of our other friends) share our daily workouts as motivation. She started referring to all these things I had never heard of “long run” and “tempo run.” When I asked her about it, she sent me a link to Hal Higdon, an apparently well-known program for marathon and half-marathon training. I explored the site, and in the Novice 2 Half-Marathon program, I found this:
“It’s better to run too slow during these long runs, than too fast. The important point is that you cover the prescribed distance; how fast you cover it doesn’t matter.”
That was my ah-ha moment. Ohhhhh you run slow so you can go far! In some ways this is obvious, but in other ways it wasn’t. I had an arbitrary number in my head – a ten minute mile. I was convinced you weren’t a “real” runner or weren’t really fit if you weren’t running less than a ten minute mile. First of all, I have no idea where I came up with this. Second, while I could (just) manage that for 2-3 miles, I couldn’t get much further.
I decided to loosely follow the Intermediate Half-Marathon program. When we left for our first long run, we started really slow. We talked the whole way, and we were at the halfway point before I knew it. We finished the run and I didn’t feel like dying. All I had to do was slow down, like, way down. I was kind of shocked, although not as shocked as I was the next week when I set a new PD (personal distance record) or this week when I did it again. I’m learning to embrace the fact that I’m a slow runner, and it’s been really encouraging to find other bloggers who also embrace their slow running.
Once I let go of my ego and embraced running slowly, I found I don’t hate running so much. It’s much more pleasant when I’m not gasping for breath the whole time (I save that for my HIIT workouts). It’s not as boring, because I can carry on a conversation with John as we go. I still want to work on speed but that’s coming through practice and through shorter runs at a faster pace. As with any fitness goal, you start where you are and you build up from there. While I can almost guarantee running will never be my favorite, it’s no longer something I dread, and for that, I’m incredibly grateful.
Have any of you struggled with running? What have you tried (successfully or otherwise) to overcome it?
Let me be clear up front – this is NOT an attack on running or runners. Honestly, I wish that I loved running. I feel like it would make my life much easier. I have serious envy for the runners out there, trust me! And serious love, even my husband is a runner! This is about me and my own experiences with running.
Yes, it’s true. I HATE running (cue mass shunning). It’s seriously the worst, and I avoid it like the plague, with rare exceptions. Unfortunately for me, I’m kind of in love with this whole obstacle racing thing, and even more unfortunately for me, that means I have to get over my running issues. To help prep for the Spartan, I’ve reluctantly started running again. As it turns out, I’m partially to blame for this hate-hate relationship I’ve developed. Running has done a lot to wrong me, but I’ve done wrong by running as well. So today, I’m going to talk about exactly why I developed this hatred for the sport every other fitgirl seems to love. In part two, I’ll talk about what I realized I’d been doing wrong and how it’s helping me conquer this personal demon.
1. I’m terrible at it.
Not everyone built for running, and I’m one of the people who is not. As something of a perfectionist, I have a hard time accepting this, but it’s the truth. When I do run, I run very slowly (not that there is anything wrong with that, check out this awesome post on running slow from frugal beautiful). I am great at intervals, but steady state cardio is just not something I excel at. I used to let this make me feel inferior (see below). One day, while venting my frustration to John, he imparted some of his sports medicine knowledge on me and explained that everyone’s body really IS different. Brace yourselves, here comes some science! We all have both “fast-twitch” and “slow-twitch” muscle fibers, but we have them in different ratios and those ratios change in different parts of the body. Within the fast-twitch, there are additional sub-groups, but the important thing is that slow-twitch fibers make you better at muscular endurance (i.e. running), while fast-twitch makes you better at lots of other things. It’s a very complex area that isn’t well understood even by the experts, but the bottom line is that everyone’s body really is different and those difference matter when it comes to different types of fitness… it’s science! 🙂
2. The world holds it up as the ultimate measure of how fit, athletic, or “in shape” you are.
Running is just one type of exercise, and how far or fast you can run are just two measures of fitness among many many others. The problem, in my opinion, is the overwhelming focus of the fitness industry on this one exercise and this one measure of fitness. Running is EVERYWHERE. This is fantastic for the people who love running, but it creates the false impression that running is the end all be all of fitness, especially for women. Flip through magazines or read over websites dedicated to fitness and you will see article after article about running. Then try buying athletic shoes for anything other than running (I had to do this recently). Good luck. You will find aisle after aisle of running shoes, and, if you are lucky, like three pairs for “cross-training.” Gee thanks. This overemphasis on something I’m terrible at created a problem for me (and probably others)…
3. Because I’m terrible at running and I believed it to be the ultimate measure of fitness, it wrecked my self-image and deterred me from being more active.
When I was young, despite playing sports, running never got easier for me. This led everyone from coaches to friends to family to inform me that I just wasn’t “in shape.” I knew at some level that this couldn’t be true. None of my teammates trained outside of the season, and we all ran the same drills in practice, I just never got better the way they seemed to. In college, I would randomly get inspired to try to run, but for the most part, I didn’t bother. I stuck to the elliptical (at least I was doing something), but continued to develop a view of myself as someone doomed to a lifetime of being “out of shape.” After college, the trend continued, but I discovered kickboxing and fell in love. I felt like I might be dying in the first class, but unlike my experience with running, I got better with every class! Within a few months, I’d whipped my butt into shape and was considering training to teach the class (we moved before I was able to, it’s still on my list of things I’d love to do). Despite this success, I continued to be frustrated that I could kick, punch, and jump for an hour but couldn’t run for ten minutes. I continued to see myself as inferior until the conversation with John I mentioned above.
4. It’s boring (to me).
Some people find running super relaxing. Not me. Unless I have someone there to talk to me, or I’m super super angry and want to blow off steam, I spend my entire run thinking about how much I wish I wasn’t running. I try to distract myself to no avail, unless I have a LOT on my mind or am having some kind of angry outburst. In fairness to running, I feel the same way about spinning – it’s an awesome workout, but I spend the whole class thinking about how much it hurts to sit on the bike and how I can’t wait for it to be over. This is just personal preference, and it’s why I wanted to try obstacle course racing in the first place. I thought that having obstacles to break up the monotony would help, and happily I was right! 🙂
5. I was approaching it all wrong.
I blame this at least in part on lack of information. You would think with the millions of articles out there about running, it would be clear how to approach running and improving as a runner. For me it was not clear at all, not until literally just a few weeks ago. This is the big cliffhanger, get excited, because in part two I’ll share my big revelation and how it’s helped me set new personal distance records the past two weeks in a row!
Have you struggled with running? What about with another form of fitness?