Showing posts with label guilt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label guilt. Show all posts

Thursday, July 18, 2013

No runs or posts, but plenty of excuses

Reston runners Tom (left) and Ryan (right)
Last run (Sunday 7/14): 5 miles

Hey, remember me? It's been a long time since I've posted and this is due to two things. The first is the distraction of being on the road for nine days, as we traveled to various places between Long Island and Florida. The second thing is my failure to notice that I'd left my laptop in the hotel in Virginia Beach. Despite the fact that my laptop bag is bright red and I'd actually gone back to the room to look around "one more time", I still managed to miss it. Thanks to UPS, we were reunited today.

I didn't do too much running while on vacation, so my guilt meter is at an all time high. I did get a couple of great runs in while I was in Sarasota. However, with a different destination almost every day and a full schedule of daily activities, I couldn't coordinate around hotel treadmill availability. That said, I did manage to rack up 18K steps the day we visited Universal Studios, so at least I got some exercise.

We returned home this afternoon, and our last stop was Reston, VA where we visited some friends. While in Reston, I stopped into Potomac River Running, a really nice store that's located in Reston Town Center. I chatted with Tom, and told him about the Dirty Sock and Great Cow Harbor races that are held on Long Island. So even if I didn't run, at least I paid homage to the sport.

Tomorrow will be a busy day, as I catch up on business. But before I do any of that, I plan to revisit the streets of my neighborhood for the first time in ten days.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Using guilt, once again, to jumpstart a run

Today's run (treadmill): 25 minutes

I didn't expect to run this morning when I got up. For no reason I could identify, I was too tired to do my planned workout. I drank my coffee, watched the news and hoped my energy level would rise enough to get me on the treadmill. Time was growing short, because I needed to head to the city for a meeting. I decided to start my run and hope for the best.

The reason I was determined to run was simple -- I didn't want to feel guilty for skipping my workout. It's been said that the hardest thing about running is starting. I'm not talking about those runs that happen on a perfect spring morning. It's days like this, when the "rest" option is so tempting. But guilt can be a powerful motivator and today it won out.

Rain dampens demand
While I was in the city, the weather quickly changed from sunny and bright to damp and dismal. I saw a number of Citi Bikes racked in various places, as I made my way through NYC (I took this pic near Grand Central). With the pouring rain, there were many bikes to be had. The idea of a Citi Bike is good. I try to avoid taking the subway unless I need to be someplace far sooner than I could possibly travel by foot, and I would consider a Citi Bike as an alternative. But I'm a long way from trusting that NYC drivers will safely share the road.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Increasing fitness by not running

Building fitness can be relaxing
I believe it's okay to take an ad hoc rest day every once in a while. I did it today and I feel no guilt whatsoever. While I will probably never get up and say, "Hey, I feel great, I think I'll skip my run", I didn't rest this morning because I was feeling weak or ill. What I felt was under-rested and I concluded that I'd be better off taking it easy, rather pushing hard and inviting a problem.

When you think about it, a day of rest is often better for you than a single day's run, because recovery periods are when your body actually builds fitness. That's holds true for a day or even two, but then it starts to go the other way. I've been doing workouts six days a week for the past few years. That generally works for me. My average run  (accounting for shorter distances on weekdays and longer ones on weekends) is 3.3 miles. This seems like the right amount of exercise to keep me fit and (knock wood) to prevent me from sustaining injuries.

The reason I don't feel any guilt for skipping my today's run is that I know I'll be back at it tomorrow. However, my decision puts me three miles behind in terms of reaching my weekly target of 20, but I can probably make up some mileage on Saturday or Sunday. In the meantime, I'm happy knowing that taking a rest was the right thing to do this morning.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Debating "You'll never regret a run"

Today's run (treadmill): 25 minutes

I often quote the line, "You'll never regret a run" to make the point that the effort to exercise is always worth it despite how you might feel. Just this morning my wife said the same thing to me about her workout. Ironically enough, I may have found the exception to the rule today, having completed a treadmill run and suffering the consequences of that decision.

It's hard to differentiate between feeling tired because you've just woken up and feeling fatigued for other reasons. This morning I went through my routine of preparing for the treadmill (30° outside temps made that an easy decision). Though I felt groggy, I expected that feeling to pass once I got going. That happened, but soon after I'd cooled down I was ready to return to bed for more sleep.

Since my schedule is tight on weekday mornings, I had to ignore the dizziness and feeling of weakness. I left for the train, hoping that I could get a decent seat and take a nap. The LIRR is running less trains due to Sandy-related issues and the cars get very crowded, but I managed to secure a good spot and slept for 20 minutes.

I'd hoped that would solve the problem but my fatigue continues. Despite some strong coffee and analgesics I'm still hurting. I don't know if running on the treadmill was best thing for me this morning. Had I not done that, I could have taken an extra 30 minutes to rest and avoided the physical impact of running. If I skipped my run, I'm wondering whether I'd be feeling any better. Or would I feel worse due to the guilt of missing a workout? I'm taking solace in the thought that while I may regret today's run, I would definitely have regretted skipping it.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Taking a deferred rest day

I was plain exhausted this morning and quickly decided not to run. I figured that since I only took one rest day after my race, I was entitled to another this week. It wasn't a hard decision to make. It's an opportunity cost scenario: What's worth more to a tired runner, an incremental run or another day to recover? I wouldn't say my guilt meter is at zero for skipping my workout.  But it's pretty low.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Today's guilt will power tomorrow's run

I wasn't feeling well yesterday and thought I may have caught a cold. Thursday's elliptical session wore me out much more than I would have expected. I bounced back last night and planned to do a run for this morning. When I woke up, I felt a little dizzy. After being at this for almost four years, I am able to tell the difference between being "morning tired" and actually feeling weak. I quickly decided to skip today's workout.

The main reason I opted for a rest day is that I hope to do a long run tomorrow at Bethpage. I didn't want to wear myself out on a maintenance run, and I thought some additional rest might be beneficial. I think resting was the right thing to do, but I'll admit to having some guilty feelings about it. I'm planning to use that guilt tomorrow to motivate me through what I hope will be my longest run (so far) this year.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Skip to my rue?

I'm considering taking both today and tomorrow as rest days. I feel like I've been pushing myself a little too hard over the last two weeks and I think I'll benefit from some recovery time. Since 11/13, I've run two 10K's plus a low-key 5K and my overall level of training has been relatively intense. It's very hard to skip workouts when you run almost every day. Disrupting routine is not a trivial thing. I know I won't lose fitness if I miss a run, but I'll still feel guilty if I take an unscheduled rest day.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I did my run, so why do I feel guilty?

Today's run (street): 1.2 miles

I know that I give up some performance when I get up and run at 4:00 AM. I know this because I typically do better on mornings when I put an hour or more between waking and running. There's probably a physiological explanation for that. Let's assume there is. Still, it bothers me when I go out and run at a moderate pace and see that I've averaged on the high side of 9:00.

Since I'm tapering for the Dirty Sock run on Sunday I decided to go out fast this morning. The bargain I made with myself was that I'd only run a mile or so. That got me out the door on a day when I really wanted to remain in bed and finish the sleep that was interrupted by my alarm. I took off faster than normal but not in a sprint, as I would have were I doing intervals. I stepped up my cadence after 30 seconds and tried to generate some speed.

I hit the mile mark at around 8:37/mile which is a 5K race pace for me. I really pushed as I completed the loop back to my house and finished my short run averaging 8:28 overall. Good, not great. In the end my satisfaction with my performance was somewhat deflated by the guilt of running less than half my normal distance. I guess that's why we call it a taper.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Guilty pleasure

Elliptical, Bikram style
Today's workout (elliptical): 25 minutes

It was hot and humid when I got up this morning and I seriously considered skipping my workout. I didn't take my normal two day's rest following last weekend's race and I've been feeling tired this week. But by the time I took my coffee upstairs I'd already decided to go ahead with my planned elliptical session.  Once again, guilt, the world's best motivator, saved me from a day's worth of regret.

In deference to the oppressive heat I selected a more moderate level of resistance on the elliptical machine. I figured that in place of high wattage I would work on cadence. Even though it was hot, I was able to exceed my typical "distance" by 4% without feeling like I'd pushed too hard. I felt great by the end and was glad that I did this workout instead of taking the easy --  if justifiable -- alternative. No regrets today.

Monday, December 20, 2010

A perfect runner's gift

A basket full of energy
My running friend and colleague KWL gave me a clever and thoughtful holiday gift this morning -- a basket containing a variety of gels and sports beans. I've been curious to try the different brands and flavors and there's plenty in there to choose. Some selections are caffeine free and others have 2X the caffeine. I've got my eye on one of the 2X packs for my next distance challenge.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Making it through with Hydration and GU

Today's run (Bethpage State Park): 8 miles at 9:49 (variable terrain)

I wanted to put in some mileage this morning but I couldn't face another long run around the local roads. I'll probably be back on the street tomorrow but this morning I needed a break. I set out for Bethpage early under cloudy skies that felt like they could give way to rain. I decided that was fine because much of the bike path has decent tree cover. By the time I arrived, the skies had cleared but not to the point where the sun came out. I was happy for that. Running with sun is fine in winter but this time of year I prefer cool and dry with gray skies above.

There were numerous walkers on the bike path at the start of my run. I made my way up the short steep hill that gives way to a long downhill section that almost catapults you through mile one. But it's a little like having desert before your meal. Easy as they are to manage at the start, those hills are a bear to address at the end. Soon enough, I was into the wooded part of the trail, trying to gauge my readiness to complete an eight mile circuit. I brought along my Amphipod water bottle to see how things would go with some in-run hydration.

I'd also brought along a GU energy gel (Mandarin Orange flavor) that I plan to have for next week's race. My last experience with a gel pack (Honey Stinger chocolate flavor) did not go well but I still like the idea of having restoring carbs during the second half a longer run. I still don't love the Amphipod bottle because it's very cold to hold at the beginning (filled with ice) and it sloshes as the water supply depletes. Still, having water made a difference and it made my gel experience much better than last time. I ate the gel at the 4 mile mark and it helped me enough to maintain my first half pace over the last four miles. I took a few side trails that run parallel to the paved path. My turnaround point at four miles went around a small pond that was also ringed by a dirt trail.

There were numerous runners along the way wearing team shirts and on my return leg I noticed mile markers along the bike path. It wasn't until I was near the Bethpage Parkway circle that I realized the Ocean to Sound Relay routed through this course. I really wanted to participate in that race but I couldn't get a team together. That's probably for the best because I'd prefer to focus on the Great Cow Harbor 10K next Saturday. About a mile from my end point I was surprised and happy to see Dave coming from the other direction, one mile into his run of the day.

Later this afternoon my daughter and I did a run around the middle school field. She really ran well and maintained a decent pace throughout our run. I think her training is making a difference. I'm hoping mine is too.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Guilt gets a bad rap

The idea of running was not very appealing when I awoke at 3:45 AM this morning. I was shocked when I saw the time as I'd expected it to be around midnight by the way I felt. As I made my way to the coffee machine I thought about everything I could do rather than getting on the damn treadmill: return to bed for 30 minutes, do 15 minutes of core exercises then rest before my shower or replace today's run with a lower impact elliptical session. I have learned that the hard effort of running is nothing compared with the guilt that comes from missing a workout. When I choose to rest I enjoy the brief respite from the obligation of exercise but soon after that comes the letdown of missing the endorphic payoff and, later, the nagging sense that I failed to accomplish a conditioning goal. On the other hand, when I do my early run, I feel that if nothing else good happens in the day at least I have that accomplishement under my belt.

Of course I ended up running this morning. In the 18 months since I've been a dedicated runner I've missed very few workouts (thanks to guilt). About a year ago I adopted Mondays as my rest day and that's really been the only time off I've taken, not counting illness. I feel very good about that and if it's all due to guilt then I have to say that guilt gets an unfair rap because, in fact, its really a helpful influence. Due to guilt I had my last run before Sunday's race as a tempo this morning, starting off easy and gradually working up to the edge of discomfort. At the moment all systems seem to be in order, no aches, pains, twinges or anything else to distract me from the challenges I'll be facing. I'm getting psyched for mud and I'll try to have fun with it but I also know it will mean some real work. It will be a long five miles but when I finish I won't have any guilt to deal with.

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