So I've been rather vague, purposely so, about just how bad or good my running has been lately. It's because how embarrassed I am about how bad I've gotten. I think it is helpful though to tell people about it for multiple reasons. Reason 1 being, well there are only so many things on this blog I can talk about and this one is important to running, thus here we are. Reason 2 there are only so many times I can say "awful run" or "great run" without people thinking "how far did she run? 10 miles?"...and no, none of my runs have been 10 miles lately. Last reason is because I think a lot of people struggle with not being able to run at the same level they use to after taking some time off. If any of you have proof some how that I in fact am the only one who could fall this far back in running, please don't share as it may just depress me.
Moving on to the facts of it all. Yes, in the past I did 2 half marathons as well as 2 (kind of) triathlons, go me! While I was never lightening speed "cough cough...I was slow as hell...cough cough" I was able to chug through the miles for the races. When I recently started running again, after work travel ended, I found myself struggling to run a mile. I was never good at the mental game in running. Some people are able to say "only a few more minutes", and then keep running and say to themselves 20 minutes later "only a few more minutes." I am not one of these people. When I am tired and done with running, I am just tired and will be done with running.
I decided the best way to get my but in gear was to prepare for a race (DC half marathon anyone?) and to have a plan. I went with an app I had on my iPhone, the Couch 2 5k. I figured I had managed to get myself far enough back that starting with this training plan might really help me. I slowly started to get through the days, instead of only doing 3 runs a week for a certain level, I would do one run at a certain level and if I felt good, move up to the next level for the next day. I steadily did this every day until I got to a harder level that I needed more than a day to work at. Then I started following the plan one day at a time for each level. The biggest help was that it would have me mix in running with short times to walk, then have me run again. I really found it helpful knowing I had that little time to catch my breath in between runs.
Recently my running has really improved. I've been following along with the app for the most part, example (running 7 mins, walking 1 min, running 4 mins, walking 1 min and etc.), but from time to time I would try and last an extra minute or two in a running section to push myself. I finally got myself up to the level in the app I had been dreading, running 20 minutes straight. No stopping at all. This was a huge fear of mine, and also something I use to be able to easily do. I got in my head 100%, and when I went out to run on Thursday was dying 5 minutes into my run. Long story very short, the run got cut short and I didn't accomplish my goal.I went home sad and upset that I was never going to get through this little mile mark and have the big running breakthrough I needed.
This past Saturday I decided I would go back a day in my training plan. It required me to Run 9 mins, walk 2 mins, Run 9 mins. I had done it before and knew it was no problem. I started running and was feeling great! I finished my 9 mins and thought, well I'm not tired why not run the walking part (note to all, I never actually think things like this usually or follow through with them). I ran through the walk part and kept on running. Once I hit 20 minutes I almost jumped up and down, and I definitely did a mini fist pump. I kept going though because I knew I had a good pace going and was just under 2 miles. In the end I ran 25 minutes straight and did 2.48 miles. I could not have been more excited! This was hands down the longest I had run without stopping in many, many months.
I almost wasn't going to write this post because I found it very embarrassing to admit to anyone, other than Paul who was with me for this, that my biggest running accomplishment that week was running for 25 minutes straight. Then I realized that it made no sense to hide it. Yes I have gone far back in my running ability, but I'm pulling ahead and had a huge running breakthrough that I needed. I finally feel more comfortable now thinking about going out and running. I need to remember that I can and have done all this before, and just need to not get in my head about it too much.
I am sorry this was so long, but come on! Huge breakthrough! Happy Tuesday everyone!