Showing posts with label attitude. Show all posts
Showing posts with label attitude. Show all posts

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Learning to love the run (again)

Friend of the devil
Today's run (street): 3.2 miles
Saturday's workout (elliptical): 30 minutes

We spent most of this weekend in the city and that somewhat altered my running schedule. We had to get downtown fairly early for a college tour, so I did a quick elliptical session before we headed out. I figured that the amount of walking we'd do would compensate for a longer run I would have done this weekend. I'm not sure that's true, but we certainly covered a lot of ground up and down the streets of Manhattan. This morning we visited Madam Tussaud's. Touristy but fun. I even got to hang with my buddy Jerry Garcia.

SIOR and family were also in town last night taking in different sights. It would have been fun to run into them. She did eight miles yesterday and 15 today. When I expressed my view about running that many miles (ugh) I was sharply rebuked. I decided to try to see her point and view summer running as a positive. When we got back home I decided to cap today's city walking with three miles of afternoon running.

I had in my head that it would be an easy workout. It didn't feel too hot when I started and I immediately began thinking about the experience. Was I enjoying this run or was I doing what was necessary to maintain my fitness? I realized then that I am coming up on seven years as a runner and wondered if my current view of running (necessary but not particularly fun) coincides with that span of time.

Is there such a thing as the seven year running itch? The point where you're pretty much the runner you're going to be? There aren't a lot new experiences and surprises when you've run the same basic route 1,000 times. SIOR has been running a lot longer than me and she still looks forward to fifteen mile training runs. How do I get there?

I ran my route and, like always, thought about my arm position, stride and cadence. I still care about how I run and that was an important realization for me today. The heat and fatigue from a busy weekend eventually got to me and, although the run was short, it couldn't have ended sooner. Perhaps I need to rethink my running goals and even sign up for another half marathon. It's not about the race. It's about the training that I need to do to look at 10+ mile runs as fun again.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Attitude problem

Today's run (street): 3.5 miles

I took a step backward this week by skipping my Tuesday morning treadmill run. I'd set up my gear the night before, and fully intended to do the workout. When I woke up, I felt exhausted and decided to skip my run. My schedule didn't allow for any running on Wednesday and Thursday, so I was excited to get back to it today. I shouldn't have got so excited.

Although my legs felt heavy and sore before I went out today, I expected to snap out of that once I got going. I headed out through the neighborhood, but couldn't generate much speed for the first few minutes. My stride was constricted and I felt a little queasy. I was uninspired and it didn't take long to realize that I was in for a tedious run. So much of running comes down to attitude, and this morning I had a bad one.

The thing that got me through today's run was knowing that I only needed to cover a few miles. I tried to think positively about the circumstances; the weather was good and I appreciated being back on the road. Yet, when my Garmin chirped at mile one, I didn't feel like I'd made much progress and I knew I had a lot more ground to cover.

Eventually my form improved and I began to feel better physically. I haven't checked the data, but I think I ran faster as the run went on. Even so, I was disinterested in the workout and only looked forward to getting back home. There are days when the experience of running turns around a bad mood and provides a great feeling of accomplishment. Today was not one of those days.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Running in the right direction

A subtly better run 
Today's run (street): 4.4 miles

This morning's run was 25% longer than yesterday's and 1% faster. In other words, better. What the numbers don't show is how I felt during and after the run, and that's real reason why I was pleased with today's workout.

Friday's run was the first one I'd done since the Brooklyn Half and, after five days rest, I'd hoped for a good rebound. What I actually got was a rough 3.4 miles featuring a cranky stride and more fatigue than the distance should have produced. Rather than benefiting from an (almost) full week's recovery, I felt as if I had over-trained. I don't know if it was related to the run (or a fairly intense week at the office), but I was tired for the remainder of the day.

This morning was sunnier than Friday and a little breezier. I didn't get out as early as I'd planned because I got caught up watching an episode of Lillyhammer with my son. Worth the wait. Once I got outside, I was ready to run. There was no delay with the GPS this time, 20 seconds and I was good to go. The air smelled of cut grass and something that might have been mesquite. I took off in a direction that bypassed the landscaping crew trucks that were parked up and down the road.

I had targeted four miles for my run today without any particular route in mind. I encountered some runners and walkers along the way and I observed a number of people packing up their SUV's for what I guessed were Memorial Day getaways. I felt relaxed and tried to open up my stride as the run progressed. Overall, I slightly improved on yesterday's pace.

I may go out for a little more distance tomorrow, depending on how our schedule goes. While I didn't see a dramatic improvement in performance over yesterday's, I certainly had a more encouraging experience. I finished the run feeling strong and had no after-effects like I did when I finished Brooklyn. After feeling a little down about running this week, my motivation is on the rise.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Hate tapering, huh? Liar!

Today's workout (treadmill): 25 minutes

This morning's treadmill workout was my last run prior to Saturday's race. The end of my taper. There was a column in a recent TrailRunner magazine where the writer complained about his two week taper leading up to running the Hardrock 100. I've seen plenty of quotes, and even a Runner's World survey, where people expressed distaste for the period of reduced mileage leading to a pre-race rest period.

Here's what I think about it: they're lying. It's like what my wife and I call brag-plaining ("It's so hard for us with little Timmy because of all the homework from his AP honors classes, plus his travel soccer team, advanced violin classes and immersive Mandarin courses on the weekends."). I think many runners can't admit that they like the indulgence of rest, even though they do.

Sure, I like to run, but taking a few days off without suffering the usual feelings of guilt feels earned. I'm looking forward to getting up tomorrow and sipping coffee without giving a thought to running gear, my reflective vest or the weather.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Negative splits lead to a positive view

Today's run (street): 4.1 miles

My wife suggested that I take a break from working out today and I had the mindset to do that. The thought of another run around the almost too-familiar streets of my neighborhood was not compelling. I was feeling generally negative about doing any activity. The rain did a good job of clearing snow in my town and I considered a return to Stillwell but we have a big day planned and I was again pressed for time. I dressed for a run without really knowing where I would go, finally deciding the easiest way to get it done would be to hit the local roads.

As a compromise to my negative mindset I considered running slowly and making it an easy workout that I could count as a partial effort. With no targeted distance, route or pace in mind I took off and chose lefts and rights almost randomly. At one point I came upon another runner who I followed for a while. I'd seen him on the road before and I was curious to see how our paces compared. It turned out that we both were running about the same pace and I wasn't interested in catching up to him so I peeled off to another road and let him go. When I passed the first mile I saw that I'd averaged 9:55. I picked up the pace a little and covered mile two at 9:46 and improved to about 9:40 for mile three.

Throughout my run I'd actually felt great. The weather was cold but mild and I was enjoying a run where I could take my mind off the effort and look around at my surroundings. After completing three miles I decided to run the last mile with a little more speed and covered it at 9:10. Not especially fast but far faster than the prior three. I enjoyed the run, felt strong and hit negative splits throughout my distance. My splits were negative and by the time I arrived home my mindset was far more positive.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The power of negative thinking

Today's run (treadmill): 3 miles

The rain was coming down hard while I debated whether to run or rest today. I put in a good workout on Saturday and could have legitimately skipped today's workout, especially with the weather we were having. I figured the rain and strong winds would continue throughout the day and before lunch I'd made up my mind to run three miles on the treadmill. I figured it would be easy to cover a few slow miles, less than a third of the distance that I'd run the day before.

There's something about the treadmill that brings out the worst in me as a runner. I had the TV on with an NFL pre-game show, figuring the action might provide some distraction from the tedious process of running about 30 minutes while going nowhere. Almost from the start, the activity felt difficult. I  had a bad attitude about the process and as I grew warmer my mood grew worse. At the 20 minute mark I was self-negotiating a shorter span but once I was within the last mile of my distance goal I sped up the belt and got it done. I ended up running about 28 minutes and disliked every one.

Later in the afternoon I went out for an errand and the skies had cleared. The wind was gone and the temperature was a balmy 54 degrees. I would have loved to do my recovery run under those conditions but my running was done for the day. I was pleased that I got in a hard workout and could now relax for the rest of the day. My dislike of the treadmill drove me to run faster than I would have had I done my run outdoors. I guess thinking negatively can sometimes yield positive results.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Bad run, good run - it's all about attitude

Yesterday's run (Central Park): 2.3 miles at 9:18 per mile

Today's run (street): 4.2 miles at 9:38 per mile

"A good attitude ensures success." I actually saw someone in my neighborhood wearing that slogan on a tee shirt as I ran through the neighborhood this morning. It made me think about my running experiences yesterday and today and how the outcomes were so different. Yesterday was 85 degrees in the city, humid as heck with lots of sun bearing down. I was on the fence whether I would run at noon or take off early and run near home. I had been feeling tired all morning so I decided to have an early lunch and wait an hour to see how I felt. By 2:00 I had completed a presentation that I need to give on Monday so it was time to decide - either exit now or head to the park for a run. My planned running partner needed to take a pass today but I spoke to a few people, all of whom encouraged the running option. I figured that if I followed the Central Park bridle trail I'd have some tree cover to take the edge off the heat.

In the back of mind I was concerned about the weather, my fatigue and the fact that I was running after having lunch. I walked to the park and hit start on the Garmin as I crossed Central Park South. Within a minute I knew I was in trouble and by the time I reached the start of the bridle trail I was already  thinking that my run would be very short. The bridle trail was shadier than the road but the surface is softer and that requires more work. By the time the Garmin chirped the first mile I felt like I'd run five hard ones so I decided I'd only do one more. I headed east and picked up the paved path going south on the upper loop. The heat was brutal (apparently there was an air quality warning as well) but there were a few other runners out there who passed me at a brisk clip. Once I reached the 7th Ave. cut-over I stopped and cooled down having completed 2.3 miles. I realized that I had set my expectations for a difficult time and got exactly that.

This morning my goal was to get out early before there was too much sun and heat and cover a moderate distance within my neighborhood. It was important to put a good run on the books after yesterday's struggle and I could tell right away that the going would be easier than on Friday. I wore the Kinvaras because I didn't plan to run too long. Despite their light weight I didn't go very fast but I certainly didn't care about that. It was important that today's run be enjoyable and beneficial. Since my going-in attitude was positive I ended up pleased with my performance even though I was fairly tired by the end. I know it was just a slogan on a tee shirt but having a better attitude this morning did help ensure a better running experience today.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Running: hubris and humility

Almost every morning I see one or two runners on the road as I make my way to the train. There is one person I often see running with traffic, all dressed in black. This man seems to shuffle along more than run but that's what works for him. I always wonder when I pass him by whether he thinks "Look at me, I'm out here doing my daily workout, I am better than you." Why wouldn't he think that? If he could read my mind he may have been surprised to know that I'd done my running two hours prior (2.5 miles today) and that I think he's a fool for wearing dark colors and running with his back to oncoming cars. I can't speak for long time experienced runners like my friends CK and CMc who are all zen-like in their running attitude, but for a second year serious runner I am first to admit to succumbing to the hubris of running.

Runners can be competitive and judgemental. We may be good sports but we are quick to compare ourselves to others.
"You walk? Well I run."

"You run? "How far, how often?"
I'll admit to thinking this way more than once. Of course, as in physics, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Not long ago I met with someone in my office who noticed the race numbers plastered on my wall and asked if I ran. When I told him I did he said he ran too, mostly for fun. I asked him if he raced and he said he did an occasional Corporate Challenge. I later looked him up and saw that he'd recently ran a 3.5 mile Challenge at 6:56/mile. Consider me humbled.

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