long run tips from a lazy runner

Here’s the deal… I’m not one of those folks who LOVES exercise.  I don’t thrive off of the idea of it and I don’t come home from work or greet the day with a loud, “Wahooo!  I get to work out today!”.  In fact, if you were to invite me to some kind of boot camp class or a movie, I would choose the latter, every.single.time.  I would rather go-go-gadget the remote, or coffee than my Hokas.

This should indicate just how much I actually like running.  I get up on my own accord and run some miles.  Yep, plural.  Weird.  That being said, the long run isn’t easy for me – the impending miles seem a bit overwhelming to be honest.  So here are my tips to get through, you know, just in case you are a lazy runner like me.

1.  Get off of the couch.  Yes, this is one of the hardest steps.  Then procrastinate a bit more before getting ready.  Yesterday I tried out a new hairstyle.  Look at the Health and Fitness pinterest page for some motivation or read a running blog to get all jazzed.  Then I really have to get off of the couch.

oh man, I would kill this guy but it looks fairly effective

2.  Wear comfortable underwear (or dress for success, whatever this means for you).  I’m not one of the commando runners and proper undies is very important for me.  Uncomfortable ones will make me cut short a run every time.  I could continue but I’ll leave it at that.  The rest of the outfit should be comfortable and make you feel confident.  I have this jacket from Costco that was cheap and fits so well!  It’s super cute and locks and loads my upper half.  Oh and it has lots of pockets!  Yesterday, I wore a shirt from a race I didn’t run.  Shaming can be a helpful motivator as well.

3.  A good playlist.  This is probably obvious but a good one can really amp me up.  There are certain songs which basically keep me running even when I don’t want to.  There are other songs that remind me of people in my life and I end up thinking about them as I run.  Sometimes I leave the tunes behind but this is typically on the shorter runs.  It’s kind of like bribery by music.

4.  Plan your route.  On a long run a few months ago I thought out a route that I swore would be 19 miles round trip.  Planning out a 19 mile route is actually tougher than I anticipated and not even half way through I was very discouraged because the miles weren’t adding up.  It was like running through quicksand without making any progress.  And it broke my spirit.  When I plan it out, at least I don’t have any misconceptions of how many miles I am running.  Reality seems to help… well, sort of.  I can be in denial that I am running X miles but then not have my soul crushed when my garmin registers 3 when it feels like 10.

5.  Visualize.  When I am starting to hurt I think of past races where I surpassed my own expectations.  I make sure to stick with recent races.  Or I think about how I will feel at the finish line of my next race.  This is what I did with Dopey and I was surprised by the effectiveness.  Plus it got me excited to get to the finish line.

you can insert any race there!

6.  Create a mantra.  Some people will do things like, “kill the hill” or something along these lines.  Mine?  I say, “focus on form, not on pace”.  Sometimes “pace” turns to “pain” – it just depends on which mile I am running.  I know, it doesn’t seem like something that shoots my motivation through the roof but it has a good beat and keeps me focused.  I don’t think a mantra has to make a tiger roar – it has to get me through the miles.

this is more like what my mantra makes me feel like

7.  Rest day.  Tell yourself you only have 2 more runs until it’s a rest day!  Or at least a cross training day.  I never count the days, as in 2 more days until a rest day since this makes it seem very far away.  Counting the actual runs makes it seem much closer!

8.  Walk breaks.  I used to think walk breaks were the worst!  I felt as though I failed.  Now, I’ve learned to recognize the benefit of walk breaks.  I read an article that talked about how walk breaks also build endurance so I started to be okay with them.  I still like it better when I can run the whole route but you know, I don’t feel like a failure anymore.

great advice!

9.  Stick to downhills.  At least as much as possible.  Yesterday I started my route backwards so I climbed the toughest hill first and then the rest of the run was a bit better.  It’s fairly hilly around me anyway but I didn’t incorporate some of the more beastly ones.  I was too tired from Saturday when I didn’t follow my own advice.

10.  Work off your circadian rhythm.  On weekends I love to sleep in a bit, drink coffee, hang out on the couch and catch up on whatever is on the telly.  I like running in the afternoon/evenings much better.  Careful about waiting too long – this can lead to, “I’ll do it tomorrow”.  Trust me.

because I’ve gotten dumber since graduating, I thought it was a “cicada rhythm”. I’m slightly ashamed.

11.  Tweet.  Not when you are done – before!  And ask for encouragement.  Our twitter friends come through with “you can do it!” and the cheers help me out.  Then tweet when you are finished.  You/I deserve the accolades.  Also, I always imagine cars driving past me thinking one of the following:  “Go runner girl go!” – this is from a fellow runner.  “Wow, I wish I could do this too” – this is from someone who wants to run.  “What an idiot!” – this is from someone has some respect but doesn’t understand running.  Chances are no one is thinking anything but I like to pretend I have cheerleaders everywhere.

12. Take the phone.  This way, you won’t feel rushed to get back for an important call or possibly miss that text you’re hoping comes through from that certain someone.  Taking your phone alleviates this (not that he texted anyway but this is more of a personal issue!).  Oh and for safety.

oh man, isn’t this the truth?!

13.  Be proud.  Yay!  We did it!  I’m not sure if long runs are harder for lazy runners or not but I know it takes quite the effort to get up and go.  You know how people say, once you are out there you are fine?  Nope.  I can be out there and cut it short.  Or how about, just get dressed and then you don’t have any excuses.  Nope.  I’ve been half way dressed and decided not to go.  Completing the miles is always a big deal for me.  It doesn’t come naturally and I push hard to accomplish each mile.  Then there is that endorphin rush when I am finished (most of the time) and then I’m all jacked to do it again next time.  This running thing is quite strange.

I am excellent with excuses.  So, I have to be very diligent when it comes to long runs because I can think of TONS of thing to do other than hit the pavement.  Like take a nap.  Since I want the end result, a sub-2 half marathon time, be in better shape and some kick ass leg muscles, I need to do the work.  So annoying.  I wish that once you have run a marathon or a 1/2 that your body could always do it.  You know, like riding a bike.  Then all you would have to do is some extra speed training.  Maybe in another universe…

this really is the truth
this really is the truth

is that runner-girl drunk?!

No, I wasn’t drunk.  But toward the end of yesterday’s 9 miler, I was kind of weaving so it looked like I was!

this is about how fast I was going too

I need to back up a bit…  Friday night I stepped on the treadmill fully prepared to run 5 miles.  Due to some sickness during the week, I hadn’t run since Monday and I felt it.  Also, pain killers were my friend this week and I think these added to my sluggish steps and made for this awful run.  My dad called at mile 2.6 and then I didn’t get back on the treadmill.

Soul-sucking run – Check!

nope. done.

I figured Saturday should be a redemption run, right?  I knew I wanted to go a bit longer but didn’t have a firm number in mind when I set out – yes, outside.  This was a huge help.  I felt pretty good in the beginning.  I ran up this giant hill and then ran around downtown.  I increased my speed for about a mile and half.  It felt great!

goooo Amy gooooo!

When I do my longer runs, I get nervous about speed since I want to have enough energy to finish.  I need to stop being so cautious since I’m never going to get faster unless I attempt to push it.  In theory this is the right attitude.  In practice, it sure is tough!

I did have to end up walking a little at three separate times.  I was kind of bummed but I know in a week or two, I won’t have to again so this is helpful.  My last mile and half I was bobbing and weaving like a drunken sailor.  I was BEAT.  My hip was hurting.  My ankle was hurting.  My legs were exhausted.  So, while I thought about hitting some double digits, it would only to be able to say, “I hit double digits!”.  It certainly wasn’t the smart thing considering my body was yelling at me to stop.  At least I listened.

I probably wasn’t exactly ready to run 9 miles.  Two weeks ago I did 8 and that felt MUCH better than yesterday’s 9.  I haven’t done enough during the week to support these longer runs and I know this is the way you get injuries.  My calves are TIGHT this morning.  I failed to foam roll/Tiger Tail last night and I’m regretting it today.  My plan is to hit a few more miles today since the weather is cooperating.  Not to mention, yesterday’s run was only marginally better than the aforementioned soul-sucking one so I need some good running mojo.

OH!  That reminds me – yesterday’s run also included a forceful headwind, some snow and chilly weather.  I swear my weather app completely lied to me, they made it sound like the conditions were much friendlier than they turned out to be.  So I warmed up on the couch with Simon and some Twilight – I needed a good movie marathon.

this is EXACTLY how I feel about movie marathons on tv!

queen of sh*t-tastic training

My title says it all – in the past, I’ve been lousy at training for races.  I typically do some training but it may not be super consistent nor do I put in the mileage necessary.  As I’ve mentioned, my longest run before my first marathon was 15 miles.  And following a plan?  Ha!  Nope, not really.

However, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to stick to a plan.  I have realized that my definition of “following” a training plan may not be as type A as some and I’ve accepted this.  It’s about time, yeah?

Why this huge intro?  I ran 20 miles on Friday!  Wahoo!  I think I am prouder of this than my first marathon.  I did this on my own, without the promise of a medal or a Tiffany necklace, the energy of others or a finish line.  It was determination and sweat.  And I am damn proud of this!

I chose a better but still a tough course.  There were some monster hills that I had to go up at least twice.  I kind of regretted this later since the wheels came off at mile 12 and the rest of it became a lot harder.  My legs were heavy from the hill work and my calves were protesting a bit.  It probably didn’t help that I sat in my car for a Honey Stinger break at mile 11!  Nevertheless, I recognize the progress since on my 17 miler I lost traction at mile 8.

What I determined was I need a few more 13-15 milers under my belt.  However, I’ve attempted to run 20 miles at least three times so far and finally getting it done was a huge confidence boost.  I knew I could do it as soon as I hit five miles.  This was a completely different mind-set than in my past endeavors so this was progress too!

I wore my GR race shirt since I felt so good in that 1/2.  I wanted the good mojo to carry into the 20 - it worked!
I wore my GR race shirt since I felt so good in that 1/2. I wanted the good mojo to carry into the 20 – it worked!

Saturday I ran six miles and boy were my calves TIGHT!  I wanted to hit 10 more on Sunday but went to our new dinner/movie theater with a friend instead.  Priorities.

All in all, I’m happy with this past week of work outs.  I’m adding strength training this week – this isn’t a choice rather a necessity.  I want to increase overall fitness!  I’m also increasing my mileage for the week but stretching it out more – maybe two 13s this weekend?  I  have a Turkey Trot on Saturday and ideally, I will just keep running afterward.  Oh!  Those six miles I did on Saturday?  All on my treadmill!  They weren’t the easiest miles ever but there was a big rivalry football game on campus.  Last time I ran during it and was heckled more than ever.  I’m getting better with my treadmill runs!

Do you wear “good mojo” clothing when it’s going to be a tough training run or race?

“rocky wouldn’t quit”

Yesterday I ran 17 miles.  Once again, this was the farthest training run I’ve ever done (yes, you will read this each time the number gets higher!) and it was much harder than I anticipated.  This freaked me out a bit!

The good:

1.  I fueled really well.  I brought Honey Stinger gummies (very tasty) and a water bottle with GU Brew added, which I filled up for the second time in the middle.  This is huge for me folks!  I am terrible about drinking water while running!

2.  I immediately ate a peanut butter sandwich when I got home and ate a mix of carbs and protein later on – today, no violently huge hunger issues

thankfully I didn’t need to two fist my lunch… or breakfast… or a snack

3.  Ice bath.  Considering I was already chilled to the bone I almost skipped it.  Good thing I didn’t.  I’ve dubbed this “blanching my legs”, you know, like blanching some green beans!  I swear, ice baths are where it’s at and my poor achy legs feel much better.

different kind of blanche but this was funnier than a picture of green beans

4.  I did some stretching and foam rolling.

5.  My original goal was 20 but at 12 miles I knew I wasn’t ready to hit that number and reached for 17.

6.  No music – this kind of sucked but I didn’t finish until 7:22 pm and it was DARK.  I passed one runner at 6:30 and she had both headphones in – not good.

7.  I ran through all of the shady neighborhoods before it got dark – yay!

8.  By the end I was really struggling but I finished strong.  Why?  Because “Rocky wouldn’t quit!”  My new mantra.

this is how my legs felt

The not so good

1.  My arch is really bothering me.  After some webmd-ing I’m 98% sure it’s a “fallen arch”.  Basically my tendons running through the arch are all f-ed = they are all stretched out.  When this happens it can start to push out on your outer ankle as well!  Light bulb!  I had everything taped but it didn’t help enough.

this is exactly it! only the right foot is being temperamental – grumpy bugger

2.  Arch issues are also causing pain in my opposite knee.  I’ve got to get this under control.

3.  I didn’t stretch enough and didn’t wear compression socks/sleeves.  I think this would have helped with my legs feeling so fatigued.

4.  I didn’t plan out my route.  This was totally dumb because I kept thinking I must have run further than I had because I ran all over (or it felt like it).  Not to mention it was short of the aforementioned 20.

I need roads Doc… oh and I said this quite a bit last night toward the end of my run. I laughed every time so it should be a testament as to my mental state by this time

5.  I went in with the following attitude: “I’m never going to be able to do this!”  Pretty positive, no?  My mental game was off the entire run.

6.  I almost got hit by a car.  I was at the cross walk and it was blinking walk but this woman didn’t see me.  I need some kind of blinking light if I am going to keep running in the dark.

7.  My garmin ran out of battery.

8.  It was dark.  I started at 3:30 but I would be out there for 4 hours.  Sometimes I forget to think things through.  Oh and it was chilly.  I was afraid of being too hot so I underdressed – then I froze.

Overall, I really am happy and proud of myself.  I’ve already thought about this weekend’s long run and I have a much better plan of attack.  Also, I’ve ordered an arch support and will be making an appt with the doc.  I will also bring music next time (if daylight allows) since it got boring.  I keep improving my long run approach though so I gotta keep the faith in my training!

15 mile recap – in pics

Poor Mondays – they get such a bad rep.  I think we should get three day weekends and come back to work on Tuesday.  This way Tuesday can be hated rather than the aforementioned Monday.

Anyway, on Saturday I ran 15 miles.  Let me preface the pictorial recap with the fact that I’ve never done 15 miles on my own.  Meagan dragged me through the one and only out of the kindness of her heart or I did it in a race.  That’s it though…  so I’m detailing my experience here.  I didn’t have the motivation but determination got me out the door.  Here we go:

At the start:

running is sooo great!

I had this brilliant idea for a route which included a really nasty hill.  I didn’t realize how long this torturous hill really was.  ONE whole freaking mile later (and only at mile 2) I was pretty sure I was done with this whole 15 thing:

yep

A rain storm hit right as I got to mile 3:05 so I sat under an awning for about 15 mins.  Probably not the best idea because all I could think about was how I still had 12 miles to go.

at least I didn’t look like this and risk really terrible chaffing. although, I was sweating this much since the humidity was around 85%…maybe I did look like this?

I felt decent until mile 7.5.  I was really starting to wonder if I was going to finish and I couldn’t believe I ran 13 miles the weekend before.  How did I do that again?  This feeling of “why am I doing this?” lasted well into mile 9.

this was a real possibility at this point

I pretty much love this gif.  I’m sure I will use it again!

Then I remembered the motivational video I posted on Saturday.  I watched it twice before I left to get me ready to go.  One of the lines is, “remember why you started in the first place” and then another gem: “how badly do you want this?”.  I started thinking about this and realized I REALLY wanted this.  I want to hit the Dopey start line(s) feeling good and at least sort of ready for the pain that is waiting for me.

So I kept going.

I did have to do some walking.  While I kind of regretted burning my legs out on the giant hill in the beginning I was also really proud of myself for running the whole blasted thing.  I walked a couple of hills at the end and prior to this took two less than 30 second walk breaks.  Two businesses were also kind enough to allow me to fill up my water bottle.  Thanks businesses!

Then I was done!  I wanted someone to cheer for me because HOLY HADES, I DID IT!

I texted two friends who were hanging out, had them high five each other and pretend it was me. I’m not even joking a little bit.

I am definitely losing one toenail on my right foot and possibly one on my left.  I sat in some really cold water in the tub (was too lazy to go and buy ice) and then sat on my couch.  I didn’t drink a whole lot of water because I didn’t want to have to get up and go the bathroom!

nope, I will not go the bathroom – not ever.

I started feeling crummy after I showered and dressed and I am sure this was because I was in a major calorie deficit.  I had one GU (the salted caramel – tasty!) and didn’t eat enough prior.  While I didn’t feel like eating and wanted to vomit rainbows I made myself eat something.  I need to rethink this for next time.

All in all, I very proud of myself.  I wasn’t even that sore on Sunday – just exhausted.  Soaking in a tub full of cold water for 20 minutes helps more than I ever imagined.  I want to add Epsom salt next time and I might start taking Turmeric (or putting it in my tub water?  Not sure which one I should do…)  I finished,

worth reading for the pic at the end

My motivation is low today.  I have 15 miles to run and all I can think about is how much I would rather sit on my bum on the couch.  But I can’t.  Tomorrow is a fun day with friends and I won’t have time to get it done before I leave.

oh right - this is waiting for me
oh right – this is waiting for me

Don’t I have a hard life?

I also have a truckload of laundry to do, my apartment is messy and I’m even bored with pinterst.  Yet, I’m still not off my hiney.  The rainy weather (and disgusting humidity – what happened to my lovely cool fall temps?!) certainly isn’t giving me any type of boost!  I need to watch the following a few more times:

But I ate pizza last night in order to carb up for today so deep down I am DETERMINED to finish these stinking 15 miles and stick it in the books as a success.  Even if it hurts like hell and takes me a 100 hours to finish.  I just haven’t decided when I am going to put this into action!

Thursday I did finish 5 miles and not even halfway through the first one I wanted to quit.  I didn’t and at 1.64 (yes, I checked) I started getting into a groove.  Thank goodness.  The five miles weren’t as terrible as I first thought they would be and I ran the whole thing and ALL OF THE HILLS.  Trust me, there are some long ones around here.

I got my Aspaeris capris yesterday!  I tried them on and I love them!  I can’t wait to run in them and I’ve already decided to wear them for my next half, which is in two weeks.

this just made me laugh

My dear friend Kara over at Jersey Up made bread recently.  She has taken to making a lot of homemade staples and I am very intrigued.  Check here for the recipe.  I like the idea of making my own bread – it just seems so accomplished!  However, it’s like all of the other things I’ve written on here that I would like to make: laundry detergent, knitting something, ornaments, a quilt and who else knows what I’ve listed.  While these are still on my list of things I would like to try, I’m thinking letting go of some of the guilt at NOT doing them is in order.  Certainly I could make the time to do these things (I watch far more tv than I probably should) but I am choosing how to spend my time and I need to be okay with this.

people are weird

I’m a work in progress.  The boredom I’m feeling today has started to be a regular thing and I’m guessing it’s only a matter of time before I start using my time differently.  Restlessness can be very productive!

That’s all I’ve got for today.  I’ve got a couple of hours to build up enough steam to power through the above listed miles so that’s what I intend to do!

And because I like you, here is further proof that people are quirky birds…

sexy dude