Healthy and Sane

Sane running

April 26th, 2011 · 18 Comments · running

This weekend was full of proud moments. Saturday I conquered my fear of bathing suit shopping and Sunday I had something a little more physical to take care of… a 10.5 mile run… alone. I’ve never done than before and I’m going to be honest – I was very very nervous! Confused smile 

And since we’re on the topic of running, I guess it’s time to tell you something… I signed up for the Run to Remember half marathon back in January! I didn’t want to mention it on the blog before because I promised myself that I would not go through with the race if the training was going to make me miserable. You may recall I swore I’d never do it again after last year’s Run to Remember half but after a pretty long break from running, I had an itch to run again and once again it was making me happy! Training for an event provides me with additional structure and easily quantifiable accomplishments. What can I say, I like numbers. Nerd smile

But here is the deal – long runs are not only physically but (even more so) mentally challenging (if you’re properly trained, your legs for the most part know what to do if your head won’t get in the way)… and let’s just say during the 9 miler the previous weekend my head got the best of me. Devil

During the evil 9 miler, I felt exactly how I did during last year’s race – my legs felt like lead, my brain was whining non-stop. I started making deals with myself; I quit (and restarted) about a million times and then I finally finished strong. This could have been the sign that maybe this long distance running is not for me after all, but I remembered that everyone has a bad run and I deserved to give myself another change this weekend.

On Sunday morning when I woke up, the sun was shining (it was actually nearly 70*!!), the flowers were blooming and I was ready to get to it. Here is what I did differently in order to prevent another miserable run. Sane running was my moto! Open-mouthed smile

  • I changed the route! I’ve been running for weeks by the Charles River, which is beautiful and flat… and I’m sorry – boring if you’re there every weekend. This time I planned a fun run to a different river (in Jamaica Plain) and then randomly found a cool new park – it made a big difference to see new scenery!
  • I drank alternating sips of water and coconut water after the end of each song on my ipod. It helped me break down the run into one-song intervals Smile
  • I really focused on the music. I literally listened to the words instead of obsessing over how long I’ve gone (or have left!)… I even sang in my head Open-mouthed smile
  • I really paid attention to everyone around me. There were people with dogs, runners, parents with little kids playing around. It was an incredibly beautiful day and I was out for 2 hours to enjoy it… one song at a time! Winking smile

  • Lastly, I allowed myself to take occasional short walking breaks. I only did it a few times and only for maybe 30 seconds to a minute, but not putting time restrictions on myself (or judge myself for wanting to take a little break), allowed me to really enjoy the run more and finish with a smile [in 1:50]

Another totally random thing happened – I ran into my parents at about a half-way point. We were both shocked to see each other (it was at a park somewhere in between our cities). Seeing a familiar face was pretty cool… and my dad’s expression when I told him I ran there (not driven!) was hilarious (and kind of proud). It gave me a little boost for at least a mile after that. Maybe you can randomly run into someone you know too?

I’m so happy I didn’t give up on my training from just one lousy run. Now I’m ready to tackle 12 miles next weekend. I’ll take my own advise above! Open-mouthed smile

What kind of tricks do you use during prolonged exercise? I’m also planning to update my ipod with new music… something new to sing and dance to in my head to. Smile with tongue out [If you have good songs to run to, I’m all ears on that too!]

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18 Comments so far ↓

  • #1 - KellyB

    I can just see your dad’s expression. Too Funny.

    Have you heard of Girl Talk
    You can download it and it’s great workout music.

    • #2 - Elina

      I’ve never heard of it. Is it covers of popular songs? Kind of confusing…

      • #3 - KellyB

        It’s more like a mash of popular songs. I love how the guy takes songs from the 80s, 90s,00s and mashes them together.

  • #4 - Michelle

    I like your tips for making a run go smoother. I went for a much shorter run on Sunday morning and felt like I couldn’t get moving…but I’m wondering if it was because it was the same route I’ve been running for awhile.

    • #5 - Elina

      I think there are many reasons as to why some days everything is smooth sailing and others you’re dragging but it won’t hurt to change up the route… it’s good to mix things up :)

  • #6 - Lauren at Keep It Sweet

    Wow, amazing! I have never run that far but even on my runs I have good and bad days. There are definitely mental games I play. Sometimes I have to tell myself that I can do only 20 minutes, and then when I get to 20 I increase it to 25, etc. Good music is also a definite must.

    • #7 - Elina

      Yeah, it takes me a little while to get into the run usually as I stop psyching myself out and realize that my body actually knows what it’s doing. I will say – if I promise myself to stop at 20 minutes, I will. There is no “cheating the system” lol

  • #8 - Lauren @ Healthy Food For Living

    Elina, that is fantastic! What a great milestone run. I agree that our minds can get in the way of what our bodies can do, but it sounds like you’re approaching running in a sane way – hence the post title ;). I think it’s awesome that you signed up for the half again!

    As for running songs, one of my favorites is Jay Z’s “Run This Town”. It is incredibly motivating, particularly at the end of a run when these lyrics come on: “Victory’s within the mile, almost there, don’t give up now.” It pushes me to finish strong every time I hear it!

    • #9 - Lizzy

      Run this town is prob my favorite running song of all time! That and I need a doctor- eminem and dr dre.

      Elina– I am so so proud of you. You should be so happy with yourself. Running is a challenge for everyone but its also so rewarding. Giving yourself little treats during a run (like coconut water, walking breaks) helps you get through it. I’m so impressed!!!

    • #10 - Elina

      I feel like Run This Town is too slow, no? The lyrics sure do seem to fit :)

  • #11 - The Teenage Taste

    Glad you finished strong! I completely agree that running distance is mostly a mental challenge. I know that with work I can run the distance, but sometimes I just act so negative and give up because I didn’t “feel” like running that day. Your tips are fantastic! Good luck on the 12-miler! 😀

  • #12 - Spike

    I’m running the run 2 remember this year! Changing up my running course helps me out a lot. I don’t run with music so having new scenery or sometimes running with a buddy, helps me out a lot!

    • #13 - Elina

      Oh man, I would lose it without music! And yes, I think having a buddy is the best way to help pass the time… I need to find a running group!

  • #14 - MelissaNibbles

    Great job! Making it fun and not focusing so much on the training aspect of it helps me get through long workouts.

  • #15 - Kerstin

    Yay, glad you had such a great run – you’re going to rock your half!! Good luck with your 12 miler this weekend (not that you need it!).

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