Monday, February 17, 2014

Five weeks in - Facing the mental giant and the solo run

This weekend I wrapped up the first five weeks of training for Lincoln. Despite all the crazy weather (ice and lots of rain and cold) I have been able to complete all of my training runs, and complete them successfully. Success means different things for different people. Right now, for me, success is running strong and finishing with a good feeling about the run. I am not running for any certain finish time or trying to maintain a particular pace. I just go out and let the day determine itself. Usually when I do that, I have a great run.

Running has always been very mental for me. My blog over the last few years speaks about that a lot with all of my ups and downs. I am not as fast as I have been at previous points in my running, but I am content with just running. I do like being faster and having fast goals, but I usually end up putting too much pressure on myself and the fun completely goes away. I get nervous, stressed, and never find a way to enjoy the moments. The mental aspect of it all overtakes the run and the whole experience changes. So I'm running just for fun, while still working hard, but to try to keep the mental blocks out and the fun in.

With running being very mental for me, solo runs are often tough. Most runners are social and love having running partners to train alongside for accountability, company, and that extra push when needed. I am no different. I had a stressful ending to last week, and when I get down about something, I tend to withdraw and remove myself from social encounters. That is how I process. The usual Saturday crew was going to be combining their long run with a local 5k that a friend of ours was directing. My plan was to work all of that into my 14, however, I made a last minute decision to scratch that plan and do my 14 alone. When I opt for a solo run, especially on something long, it's really needed (and extremely rare!). I plugged up to my iPod and went for it. It was one of those days when everything clicked. I started slow, ended fast, and recorded negative splits on all but two miles. It was a beautiful morning, and I allowed myself to get lost in the run. I didn't think about what was on my mind, and by doing that, all that was on my mind felt better at the end of the 14 miles. It was just what I needed.I finished strong and feeling great about my run.

I don't know what the next 11 weeks will hold for training, but my plan will continue to consist of fun, social miles with friends with the occasional solo run to blow off some steam and to keep the mental cobwebs at bay. It's supposed to be fun, so why make it otherwise!


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