Saturday, August 29, 2009

Lessons From a Hard Run

A couple of weeks ago I had a lousy long run, one of those where you feel certain that you have just lost all your running ability, your best days are long behind you, and what business do you have calling yourself a runner anyway.

And really, I knew better. I made some serious mistakes heading into the run and didn't make adjustments. Looking back, I should be grateful I was able to do it, and without injury to myself. I guess that's testament both to my general hardiness, and to my bullheadedness.

So, in the spirit of learning from my mistakes - and admitting them - here are lessons from a hard run.
  1. I missed my morning snack the day before (too busy at work) and then was so pleased that I'd missed a meal (since I still have a bit of crazy dieter mentality left in me) that I didn't make it up later in the day.
  2. I didn't get to bed on time the night before, and haven't been getting enough sleep this month, so when I got up that morning I already felt depleted. Right then, I should have revised my training plans for the day.
  3. It was HOT! Ninety-seven degrees. Given the heat, I should have a) been much more deliberate about going at a slower pace, b) planned in more frequent walking breaks, and c) changed my planned route to one more in the shade, instead of on the lakefront.
Any one of these I could have taken in stride, ha, ha, but not all three.

Since I'd already done 9 miles this season, I didn't give it the respect I should have. I finished, and I was never in any danger of heatstroke (I am at least good about keeping tabs on that), but it was not fun, and I didn't feel good afterward. And of course I went over my estimated time range, which is probably what rankled me most.

Last week was an easy week, so tomorrow will be the first long run since then, and I have 10 miles planned. I'm not worried about it going poorly, since I've had some good runs in the meantime, and conditions are much more favorable. But what I want to take away from the lousy run, and why I'm writing about it, is not to be cocky about any run, of any distance. Every run is a gift, not to be taken lightly.

And now to bed!

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