A Wife Loved Like The Church

Posts Tagged ‘Running like Homer Simpson

For about two weeks, every time I ran I felt defeated. There wasn’t anything that went wrong necessarily, but by the end of each run I was either physically or mentally exhausted.

Having a bad run can throw off my mental game. And that can set me up for really not enjoying running like I want. When that happens, I have to throw in a few tricks to get my running mojo back.

How I keep running when I feel like I hate it ::

1. Short runs – I don’t want to face a long  run on the heels of a bad training week. Instead I take a couple of short runs to give myself a mental boost. Giving yourself a shorting goal can help you feel accomplished and act as a cheerleader to help you refocus.

2. Fast runs – Just like short runs, having a fast run can really boost your confidence. Shorten your distance and run at just above your normal pace. It’ll get your heart rate up and allow feel good endorphins to kick in.

3. Fun runs – There are certain routes by my house that I dread taking. You’d immediately think they are hilly or extra long, but they aren’t. What I dislike is that they are flat and out of the hussle and bussle of everything, making it boring. While boring runs are inevitable, I try avoiding boring routes to keep running fun.

After combining those three tactics the last week and a half has made for some great training and given me back the joy of running.

How do you keep running fun? Running groups, new routes or upbeat music?

 

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While I originally only planned for my series to be three parts, I thought you’d all like to know how my half marathon went last weekend. In a nut shell it was awesome.

Before arriving, I was so incredibly nervous I thought for sure I was going to loose my breakfast. I was snapping at Jonathan while he was driving and was just getting overly annoyed and anxious. Everything was going completely opposite of how I’d planned {and specifically how we’d prayed the night before}. However, as soon as I stepped out of the car {with plenty of time to spare thanks to my wonderful husband} I felt a flood of relief. Just like a switch, my nervousness was gone and I felt total peace {thanks God!}.

 

Half Marathon Training {The Finish}

 

1. Prepare to be overwhelmed – The most amount of people I’ve ever run with was 30. Sunday I ran with 20,000. Yeah, that’s a lot of folks. And at times it was a bit overwhelming to keep my eye out for people passing me and me passing people. Not to mention the bum rush to water stations and bathrooms.

2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate – When I ran my half last spring I didn’t hydrate well enough. And I paid dearly for it by the end. This time around, I’ve trained with hydration breaks and made sure to stop at every water station I came to. At one point I was tempted to pass the last few by {because of the crowd} but then I remembered “HYDRATE!”.

3. Don’t give up – Somewhere around the 8 mile marker, I was done. My feet were hurting, my time was off and I was ready to lay in the grass and wait for the “dropped runner” cart to pick me up. I started using every metal trick in my book. I made up games. I gave myself a pep talk. I counted how many people I saw in certain colored shirts. Whatever it took to keep me focused {and running} I did it. Running a half marathon is tough, but don’t give up. You can do this. You can do this.

4. Enjoy your victory – My time was off what I expected and half way through I was really beating myself up for it. But once I crossed that finish line I thought “I don’t want time to steal my victory”. And so I didn’t. And I won’t. I ran my race, I did it well, and I succeeded.

Standing outside P.Terry's waiting for my burger and chocolate shake

5. Reward yourself – As a little extra motivation, promise yourself a reward once you complete your run. Maybe a nice night out. Maybe a massage. Or maybe those running shoes you’ve been eyeing for the last year:

*happy sigh*

For Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of this series, click here {Part 1 – The Physical and Part 2 – The Mental and Part 3 – The Emotional}.

*Disclaimer: All tactics/tips are my own personal opinions and not medically backed. Please seek medical advice before starting any running program.

I cried when I finished my half marathon last April. Well, I suppose I didn’t technically cry, since I was borderline dehydrated. But I did cry out. The last mile of my run was overwhelmingly emotional. A mixture of victory and defeat {I walked mile 11 when I wanted to run the entire race}. A relief at being done. A sense of accomplishment, mingled with a desire to do more.

Running is every bit emotional as it is physical and mental. Yet we tend to gloss of the emotions. But I’m here to tell you: It’s your party, cry if you want to.

Half Marathon Training {The Emotional}

 

1. Finding your center – Wow, if that didn’t sound New Age-y, I don’t know what will. But honestly, running can really help you focus, sort through your emotions, and recenter yourself. Just channeling your efforts into exercise can help clear your mind of “emotional baggage”. I attribute it to all the time aloneyet another reason I don’t listen to music while I run.

2. It’s a BIG deal – Whether you’re completing your goal of a 5K or a marathon, finishing is a big deal. You’ve likely spent weeks training – time away from your family, friends, work {and truthfully favorite t.v. shows}. And coming from a former non-runner, crossing that finish line means so much more than time and speed. It means accomplishing something great. Sometimes accomplishing something great is celebrated with tears.

3. You’re a BIG deal – Once you’ve transformed from non-runner to runner, something about you changes. You understand you can rise to the occasion. You can conquer. You can do something you never thought possible. Whispering in the mirror, “Sarah, you’re a runner” in the wee hours of the morning before I go running gives me the emotional {and mental} confidence to succeed. Despite the stretch marks. Despite the abs that will just never be the same. Despite whatever I’m feeling, I know I can do this. And you can to.

How do you feel after a run? Have you ever cried?

My half marathon is this Sunday. I’m going a little crazy this week with “Am I ready, am I not?”. But come Monday, it will all be done. And it will have so been worth it to wake up and say “I am a runner.

For Part 1 and Part 2 of this three part series, click here {Part 1 – The Physical and Part 2 – The Mental}.

*Disclaimer: All tactics/tips are my own personal opinions and not medically backed. Please seek medical advice before starting any running program.

When I started running long distances {5+ miles}, I was shocked at how the run was as mental as it was physical. I read in Runner’s World {which I think is perhaps the runner’s bible} that your body can keep running further than your mind. In other words, if your head’s not in the game, your body won’t be either. Over the last year, I’ve picked up some technics for staying trained mentally.

Half Marathon Training {The Mental} 

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1. Prepare for the worse – Understand that running 3 miles is not easy. Running 13.1 miles is even harder. I don’t want to scare or discourage you, but it’s true. However, for me, if I start the run knowing it’s not easy but can be done, then I feel prepared. It’s like walking into a final exam – I know it will be tough, but I’ve studied hard for the test and plan to succeed.

2. Find a cheerleader – When I feel like I can’t accomplish something, I need someone to encourage me. My someone is Jonathan. Time and time again he tells me how amazed he is that I’ve completed a long run, or gives me a pep talk before I leave for a run. Even if he is rarely my running buddy, Jonathan’s always in my head cheering me on, telling me I can go that extra mile.

3. Talk yourself through the run – I don’t listen to music when I run. Some of you may think that is crazy, but it’s true. Now before you think I’m some running purest, it has nothing to do with not wanting to listen to music, but simply that my iPod broke 1.5 years ago and I’ve never replaced it. Since then, I started talking myself through my runs. I try to run familiar routes and set visual goals {park is 1 mile, crossroad is 2.5 miles, etc}. Talking myself through my runs looks like: a) encouraging myself as I pass my visual goals, b) sorting through personal issues, and, c) praying/mediating. As you talk yourself through your run, you’ll find that you don’t actually need music to run, and it brings the {good} intensity of running to a whole new level.

4. Make some compromises – This last weekend I was suppose to run 8 miles. I woke up and loathed the idea of running 8 miles. I wanted nothing more than to lay in bed with my family and then s-l-o-w-l-y start the day. I knew I couldn’t miss a training day, so I compromised: do 3 mile hill training, followed by 5 mile bike training. In the end, I cut my training time in half so I could get back to my family {but thanks to those brutal hills – I was much more sore!}.

5. Cut yourself some slack – Not every run will be great. You’ll cut a run short. You’ll walk away feeling defeated. It is okay. I’ve walked away from a 3 mile run in tears with how poorly it went. And I’ve walked away from a 7 mile run feeling amazing. Just like having bad days, you’re gonna have bad runs. Understand that one run doesn’t determine your life as a runner – it’s getting back on the road that does.

Just keep your head in the game {even if it’s insane}.

For Part 1 of this three part series, click here {Part 1 – The Physical}.

*Disclaimer: All tactics/tips are my own personal opinions and not medically backed. Please seek medical advice before starting any running program.

Last January, on an impulse, I started training for a half marathon. I know that might seem strange, what about a 13.1 mile race is impulsive. But it was {as are so many things in my life}. After 12+ weeks of training, I ran my race in April. Sweet victory. I’m currently training for the Austin Half Marathon on February 20th. After getting some questions from friends about my training, I thought I’d spend the next three weeks doing a series.

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Half Marathon Training {The Physical}

I’ve thought it cliche to say “If I can do it, you can do it”, but I honestly believe it. I’ve never been a runner. And before I set my mind to running/training, the furthest I’d ever run was 2 miles. In high school. One of my favorite quotes about running {from Runner’s World} said “Running is hard. If it wasn’t everyone would do it”.  I can’t tell you how incredibly true that is. Running is hard. Some days I hate it. But I do it anyway because deep down I really love it. Here are my tactics for training:

1. Run – Obvious enough, but something we can all put off. It’s too cold. It’s too hot. It’s too rainy. It’s too sunny. You name it, I’ve used it as an excuse {including “It’s too windy and will mess with my running time”}. You can’t train if you don’t run.

2. Schedule – Just google “half marathon training schedule” and you will get countless training schedules ranging from beginners to advanced. Pick one that you can tailor to your needs and stick with it. Here’s mine: Basic Half. It worked wonders for helping me stay on track with my first half last year. This year I’ve tailored it a bit more, since I’m training in half the time.

3. Food is fuel – I’ll be the first to admit I’m not always great about seeing food as fuel {as I lick brownie crumbs off my plate and type…}. But if running has taught me one thing it’s: bad food makes for a bad run. End of story. The more junk I eat, the harder the run. I feel bloated and nasty. Not something you want to feel when you’re staring down an 8-mile run.

4. Water is essential, but so are electrolytes – Perhaps I’m part fish, but I need water. Literally crave it. And aside from my much needed coffee {and occasional wine/beer} I steer away from all other drinks. Unless I’m running. Throughout the day I drink tons of water, but on a long run day {anything over 6 miles} I make sure to have a Gatorade on hand. I typically won’t drink it during my run {just water}, but Gatorade is my saving grace for post run hydrating.

Running isn’t just physical, but mental and emotional. In the next two weeks, I’m going to be sharing my tips for how to mentally and emotionally train.

*Disclaimer: All tactics/tips are my own personal opinions and not medically backed. Please seek medical advice before starting any running program.


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