Okay. I’ve figured it out.
The secret to running long distances, that is.
(And by “long,” I mean anything over 3 miles.)
(And by “secret,” I mean that gajillions of other runners have already discovered the groundbreaking, earth-shattering news I am about to share with you.)
But that just isn’t my style.
Before I ran that 10k, the furthest I had ever run was 5 miles. Even now, it is still one of my proudest fitness accomplishments. Running has granted me permission to learn so much more about myself than I ever would have thought possible. It’s a sport that challenges me mentally and physically in ways I had never considered before I began grad school. But, I digress. Six-point-two miles, I kicked your ass before you even saw it coming 😉
When Lauren and I officially decided on the half-marathon we wanted to run and we began training two weeks ago, I found myself running safe distances. You know, distances I was already comfortable running. Three miles here, four miles there, maybe a five-miler to spice things up during a slow week. There was nothing impressive about my training, and certainly nothing that would lend aid to completing 13.1 miles in September.
On Monday, I decided I would attempt to run six miles — my furthest distance on the treadmill yet. I was pretty amped up about it, but also a bit anxious. What if I couldn’t do it? What if I got a stitch and had to stop? What if my legs gave out on me? What if a meteor hit my car? [That one’s for you, Dad ;-)]
I decided to put my fears aside, find a marathon of World’s Wildest Police Videos, and just go for it.
About a mile in, something happened that I hadn’t anticipated as my mind ran through a million what-if scenarios: I had to pee. Like, pretty bad.
I thought, What if I stop the treadmill but keep my iPhone running as a timer, take a picture of how far I ran before I stopped, and pick my run back up after I pee? In so doing, I broke my run into two legs, the first leg of which was 2.55 miles; the second, 4 miles exactly. Do you know what those two distances equal, folks?
Half of a half-marathon!
All told, I warmed up, ran the first leg, took a 3 minute restroom and hydration break, ran the second leg, and cooled down in 83 minutes. Ho. Ly. Shit. What a revolutionary idea — breaking running long distances into shorter legs?? Who woulda thunk?!
My excitement over this miraculous idea, plus my impromptu novice yoga sesh, carried me over to yesterday — when I decided to try it again.
I marched into the gym, armed with a full bottle of ice-cold water, and just having used the bathroom. Twice. I found CSI: Miami on the TV, and off I went. Metaphorically, of course.
I broke yesterday’s goal of a 6-mile run into two 3-mile legs, because 3 miles seems to be my “comfort zone” distance. I started my iPhone stopwatch when I started the treadmill, and kept it running the entire time. I warmed up, ran the first leg, and then rested and hydrated for 2 minutes.
Then I ran the second leg and cooled down.
All told, 77 minutes.
The second run was a bit more difficult because I had jelly legs for the first half-mile or so, but overall it went incredibly well.
I don’t plan to run the half in bursts like these, but training this way will give me several advantages: the distance won’t feel nearly as daunting because I’ll have broken it up in different ways throughout training; Lauren and I plan to walk through the water stations as opposed to trying to choke down a cup of water while running, so small breaks aren’t too far off from our plan of action; and I can shave time off of my now-goal of completing the half in under 2 hours and 45 minutes if I train with longer breaks between legs.
Well, blends, the cat’s out of the bag now. Aren’t you glad I shared? 😉 Have a magnificent Thursday!