What a gorgeous morning for a long run! Just look at that view from the top of the Great Lawn in Central Park:
Overall, I I never quite found my legs on this run. My heart rate spiked more than usual on the hills, and my legs felt more torn up than they’ve felt in months. These factors might have contributed to my less-than-perfect morning:
- Before the run, I ate some my usual fat-free Greek yogurt with honey and some pinole/chia snacks, a teaspoon of peanut butter, and drank some water, but that was it. I usually also eat two or three slices of sourdough bread, but decided to try a lower-carb combo for the morning run. It might not have worked.
- I warmed up for what I thought was 12 minutes, but might have only been 10 and, ultimately, might have needed a longer warm-up this morning due to the extra cycling session I did yesterday. Without a sufficient warm-up, I might have spiked my heart rate too much when I initially started to run, making it difficult to find a rhythm.
- I might also be pushing too hard in general. I usually take Mondays and Fridays off from all running/biking/aerobic activity to give my legs a break. This week, because the NYC Century is tomorrow, I wanted to get an extra cycling session in, and squeezed it in yesterday (Friday). I think a rest day might have served me better.
- It’s also possible that I’m getting ahead of my abilities. My recent MAF Test demonstrated serious aerobic improvement, and I PR’d at the Percy Sutton 5k, and I’ve been feeling so confident on every run that maybe I need to remember that I came back from injury only 3 MONTHS AGO. I have the rest of my life to improve my running abilities. It doesn’t have to happen tomorrow.
- And finally, my body either might be gearing up to make another big leap forward in its aerobic capabilities, or I might be plateauing. Either way, I have to listen to it and not push too hard. There are too many races coming up, and I’d rather kick their asses than my own for overtraining or re-injuring myself.
This also brings me to why Time on My Feet’s tagline is, “Running One Step at a Time.” This morning’s run was definitely frustrating, and I felt for a while like I was running without a plan. Enter the idea of “one step at a time.” It means that you won’t run every run perfectly. You will make mistakes. Sometimes you’ll want to go home and never run again. And sometimes, like today, you’ll have an off day for whatever reason, and not be able to explain it. How do you react in these situations?
For me, I try to take it one step at a time. I break the run into easily digestible sections. For the Central Park loop, this might mean telling myself, “OK, you just finished the big Harlem Hill. There are three more hills coming up. Let’s worry about this first one, and forget the other two. OK, you’re halfway up. Slow down so your heart rate stays below 145. Good. Step, two, three, four, breathe in every four steps, out for the next four. OK, you’re at the top of the hill. Pick up the pace a bit. Two more hills and they’re easy. Worry about this first one.” And so on. Using this technique was the only way I could study for the bar exam. A study session might go something like this: “OK, Jim, you know you can’t study for a whole day, let alone a week, let alone two months for this exam. But, you are totally capable of studying for one hour. And after that hour is over, you’re going to get up, walk around, get a snack, and after ten minutes you’re going to sit back down and do it again for another hour.”
Shorten the horizon. Break up your project. Don’t worry about what’s coming so much as what’s in front of you. Deep breaths and feel the confidence build within you. One step at a time. Not every step is going to feel great, but the great thing about feelings is that they’re ephemeral, and you get to choose whether to hold onto them or to let them go.
That said, here are my mile splits for the day. They look different from last week’s group run, which makes sense because when I train using the “180 Formula,” I have to slow down on the hills, and then I run faster on the downhills. Overall, though my pace was almost exactly the same as last week’s (about 8 miles per mile, a solid long run training pace).
I also ran into Raul from November Project NYC, which made my morning a little brighter:
And finally, Vote for Piff! (seen later in the day in NYC).
As always, happy running, everyone!