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Adding miles

June 8, 2012

Several weeks ago, a student of mine asked if I’d go to her lacrosse game.  I said I would try, but really my thoughts were on my plan to run 7 miles that day. Seven miles. I wasn’t sure if I could fit in a game, what with all the eating and hydrating and planning and stretching. I’d have to really push myself to complete seven.whole.miles.

I’m a goal-oriented person. If there is one thing that excites me more than reaching a goal, it is surpassing a goal. I’m not great with speed, but I have oodles of endurance that’s waiting to be tested.  So, impatient, I’ve been piling up the miles. Ignoring basic wisdom and advice, I’ve been more or less adding a mile to my long run each week, and now I’m up to about 12 miles.  Sadly, many work commitments have kept me from a long this week (carving out 2 hours to go running can be hard!). So instead of doing my long run, I did a quick seven-miler squeezed between a late meeting and cheering on another student (this time baseball).

Yup, a quick seven-miler.  No attention to what I ate (or didn’t eat) or drank, or if the weather would be okay, or if the stars were in alignment; I just zipped down to the path, took off, then dashed to the game.

I find this the most fascinating part of training for distance-running.  The fact that one week three miles can seem like an enormous accomplishment, where I celebrate for days and eat six extra meals to “refuel” – and within a short amount of time, three miles suddenly feels like a warm up.  When I last trained for a marathon, most days I ran 10-15 miles…before work.  It was nothing.

Which brings me to my second part of long runs. I do them on Wednesdays. Most plans call for weekday long runs when there is more time to do the run,  recover from the run,  get ready for the run. Not for me. I don’t want to think about a long run when I do one. If I chose to set out on the weekends, I’d spend most of the day thinking about the run, psyching myself up for (and possibly out of)  doing a successful run. I prefer to finish up work, drive down to the path and just do it.


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