Healthy and Sane

To run or not to run…

June 7th, 2009 · 16 Comments · dessert, running

This has been the question on my mind for weeks now! It’s consumed so many of my thoughts despite the fact that it seems like an easy decision. Is it a great workout? Yes. Do you enjoy it? Sometimes… and that’s where this gets complicated! Sorry, this is going to be a long post, but I just need to get my thoughts out. I hope you runners out there can chime in. Maybe I’m not completely crazy :)

My first 10K race went quite well! I trained for it hard and have significantly improved my time. I felt so powerful… and like I could do anything I put my mind to. Well, those were all my thoughts after I finished the race. During the race, especially at the half way point, I really wanted to just quit. I was miserable but I kept on going, because I don’t give up! And I did it!! The first few days after the race I thought that maybe 5Ks were the way to go for me. I just couldn’t forget the miserable feeling during that race. But less than a week later, I was looking up even longer races. I knew I could do it. I thought that maybe doing longer runs as practice would get my body and mind comfortable with the race distances. I tentatively decided to run the 7.5 mile race on June 28th (I didn’t sign up for it, though). I set up a training schedule (just like I did when I was training for the 10K), incorporating other forms of exercise I love into it (boot camp classes, spinning, etc.). I definitely concentrated on running more at first, but realized that I truly do miss all the other ways to challenge my body, and I didn’t want to give those up!

Long story short, since the 10K, I’ve done 3 “longer” runs, and the first 2 were so miserable I swore I was done with running! I did a 7 mile run about a week after the race. It was tough but I did it and felt great! The following week I set out to run 7.5 miles. I was well rested and really excited for the run! About a mile into it, all I wanted to do was stop and walk and enjoy the sunshine with everyone else (it was 92* and everyone seemed to be out sun bathing!). At mile 4, I decided that because I could run, doesn’t mean that I should! I was actually getting angry at myself for putting myself through this misery. I forced myself to complete 6 miles (not the 7.5 intended) and hated myself, running and just about everything else.

The thing is – I miss running when I don’t! I really love the idea of challenging myself and seeing improvement and of competing in races – not to win, but set a new PR. I also know that I really CAN do it, and that’s the hardest part. My mind gets to me every time during a run. I KNOW I am physically capable of completing the distances I set out for myself! So I tried to run a few times in the last few weeks, and gave up mid-way. I decided that beating myself is not worth it and that I could work out just as hard doing other things. The problem is – I also couldn’t stop thinking about those failed attempts! So today I went on a run. It was another beautiful day. I haven’t run outside for a whole week (funny, it seriously feels like it’s been months!) and I had a plan! I had music, I had Jillian Michael’s podcasts and I allowed myself to stop and walk and run as slow as I wanted! It worked!!!!!!!! Here is what I did:

I decided I would run for as long as I wanted, but was really hoping I could complete 6 miles (that’s the longest I’ve run in weeks and that was also the distance of my run from hell 👿 … I didn’t want to set the bar even higher with a longer goal distance). I ran at a VERY comfortable speed, never pushing myself to run faster. The goal was to learn to enjoy running outside again! I listened to random music for miles 0-2. After 2 miles, I let myself walk for a few minutes, while I changed to the Lady Gaga album that really pumped me up! 😀 Do you have any super motivating music suggestions?

The few minute walk did SO much for my stamina. In the past, I never allowed myself to stop and walk – never! I didn’t want my body to get used to stopping, because I didn’t want to stop during races. Well, apparently after the walk, I felt like I just started running… there was no fatigue at all. I was pumped! I listened to the entire Lady Gaga album while running the next 2 miles. Then I stopped for a short walk + a bathroom break. This is also when I switched to Jillian’s podcast… and the rest of the time just flew by!! I looked at my watch and noticed I was at 6 miles, so I stopped. I walked for a bit and decided to start running again, so I completed another 1/2 mile. Sweet!! My time was not that great, if you include all the walking and stopping, but I felt incredible and my actual running average speed was 8:42 minutes/mile, which is not bad at all since I didn’t push myself speed-wise AT ALL. I think I’m on to something here. Maybe I can do this running after all!!! 😀 I think a loaded ipod + breaking up the run into mini intervals (like 2 miles) seems to work for me (ok, I’m only basing it on 1 run, but I hope this is the case). How do you stay motivated to keep going during a long run?

Since this is mostly a food blog, I’m leaving you with a little eye candy. I had this double chocolate mousse tower at Vox on a random date Adam and I had a few days ago. It tasted as good as it looked :)

chocolate mouse tower

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16 Comments so far ↓

  • #1 - Tiffany

    Yeah, Lady Gaga is my go to music when I’m at the gym; “The Fame” album is so good at getting me in the mood to just MOVE! I also highly recommend a healthy mix of Kanye West, (remixed) Britney, Foo Fighters, and Daft Punk/Oakenfold :)

    Also, that delicious tower of decadence is teasing me…

  • #2 - Shannon

    Hi there! :) My recent favorite workout tunes are : Kelly Clarkson’s “I do not hookup” and “My life would suck without you” lol. also for some reason rap music really gets me pumped! I just watched Tropic Thunder and Ludacris’ “Get Back” definitely made me get up and dance :) “Welcome to the world” by kevin rudolf is great too.

  • #3 - Lara (Thinspired)

    I can so relate! When I am in the middle of a really tough run, I am not a happy camper. But afterward I always feel great. Since I’ve taken a break from running I’ve come to appreciate it even more.
    I’ve recently discovered Jillian’s podcasts too, and I am in love :)
    Elina, you are a much stronger runner than you give yourself credit for! You seem to have the physical AND the mental stamina. You are a constant inspiration to me with your workouts!

  • #4 - Shannon (The Daily Balance)

    I actually don’t listen to music! — I know, CRAZY! I like to utilize the time to THINK things through and clear my head — music would just distract me 😉

  • #5 - Anne K.

    I love Let it Rock by Kevin Rudolf. It’s one of my power songs. Long runs are tough because I usually don’t like the first several miles. But then I get inspired after mile 4, like wow I’m doing great! haha. I just to run solely on the treadmill and that was HARD to stay motivated. It’s nice to be able to run outside and look at the scenery.

  • #6 - april

    Oh that dessert looks yummy!! I love watching/listening to country while working out! lol

  • #7 - K

    I’m not much of a runner so I can’t really give any suggestions. My heart just isn’t into running so I can’t even try to make it tolerable 😉 I do know that overcoming the mental aspect of any sport is one of the hardest obstacles – when I used to have to run for training, I would always psych myself out and it made it 10x worse than if I just zoned out. GOOD LUCK :)

  • #8 - sister inna

    when you figure this out let me know. i was on the verge of a nervous breakdown at bootcamp yesterday :( running = soooo not my thing

  • #9 - Elina

    Lara, you are always too sweet. I know I can physically handle the runs, it’s just the mental thing I really need to work on!

    Shannon, I’m pretty sure I would DIE without music on a run. I already kind of ignore and my head gets to me, but without it there would really be no distructions. That’s pretty cool that you can just do that! :)

    Innz, did they make you run at bootcamp?

    All – keep those music suggestions coming! I’m taking notes!! 😀

  • #10 - sister inna

    ha ha ha
    yes there is a 4 mile run figured into the one (sometimes and a half) hour workout… get yourself ready

  • #11 - Melissa (Nibbles and Wiggles)

    Have you looked into the Galloway Method? It is based on a run/walk system. My husband and I love it. We just did a 13 mile run yesterday and I feel great today.

    BTW – running in 90+ heat is crazy! 😉

  • #12 - Alison

    I grew up running at 5 PM in Phoenix – even if it was 115! Now I think that’s crazy.

    I’ve been listening to the Now That’s What I Call Music 29 and 30 lately – Lady Gaga, Lil Wayne, Rihanna, Britney, etc.

    Overall, I prefer angry music – especially Linkin Park and My Chemical Romance. Green Day works well too. Gets my adrenaline pumping.

  • #13 - Hangry Pants

    Just wanted to chime in! I think you’re right that just because you can run, doesn’t mean you want to or should, especially when there are so many other things you love doing. That said, you seem to want to do it and oush yourself so go for it!!!!

    Some songs I like now are Day and Night and Hot and Cold.

  • #14 - Elina

    Melissa, I forgot to comment on this – I research the Galloway Method and I think I’m going to try it on my next longer run! I seem to be (physically) capable of running without stopping/walking but I think mentally breaking it up into run/walk intervals could be fun and the idea of preserving your strength during those walks makes sense. I just hope that I can run faster as a result, knowing a break is coming, and thus overall improve my speed. I’ll report back on how it goes :)

  • #15 - RunToFinish

    I think running is all about experimenting. I believe it should be enjoyable so you need to find what makes it great for you. For A WHOLE LOT of people it is the run walk technique, so heck yea that still counts as being a runner! That technique doesn’t work for me but I love to run and I love to walk so I do them both separately.

    Let’s see music…man I’m all over the board, I try to find the songs that I sing out loud to in the car!

  • #16 - ttfn300

    maybe sometime you can try running with company 😉 give me a call sometime!