As my long runs grow longer I’ve started changing things up. Running 4-6 miles alone is not a problem. The time is meditative and therapeutic and goes by pretty quickly. Running 13+ miles alone can be dreadfully long and boring, at least for me. After mile 7, when alone, I find myself mentally whining about everything. I joined a running club last year but didn’t go to the meet ups to run with them. I was training for a half and the longest long run I had on the schedule was 10 miles. I just didn’t feel the need to push myself to go into the city to run when I could run here and be done that much sooner. This year is very different and boy was I missing out! Every weekend when the long run rolls around I start looking for ways to make it more interesting and enjoyable. Life begins at the end of your comfort zone is a saying I look at on my daily coffee cup. Time to step out of the comfort of running in my neighborhood and join others who are on the same journey as me.
Today I got up at 4:00 to catch a 5:00 AM train to travel 2 hours by train, ferry, train to meet up with my running club.
An added benefit my childhood friend Helen who is running the marathon with me decided to meet me there also. I can’t say that when that my husband woke me with – “Are you sure you want to do this? You sure you want to travel 4 hours to run 2? You can run right here.” – I jumped out of bed eager to make the trek. Really supportive way to open my eyes, but he is right it is a long way to travel to run and adding 2 hours before and after the run surely does extend the time I need to devote to it. Luckily it’s once a week that the long run rolls around.
When I first arrived in the city, I was super excited to see Helen. We quickly caught up and joined the club members gathering on Chambers and Centre Street in a small park. We listened to the route plans and before we had time to think about it we were off running. The city was alive with runners, bikers and just so many people out there getting fit. Our group had a group of 8 women who all are training for the marathon. For some it’s a repeat – one runner said this is her 6th time running it. For us it is our first and we were so excited to be running with a group of like minded women. It was so uplifting to share the long run with others and the time did go by faster than it would have had I been alone.
My running had become such a routinized event – run, roll, ice feet & legs, rest, repeat. Each day the same, over and over and over again. Sometimes you start to lose the fun of it all. Yesterday as I ran with these beautiful women, I felt like I was enjoying myself instead of stressing over pace, time, distance, heart rate, etc. etc. etc. I felt lighter and really enjoyed talking and laughing as I ran. And when we finished I didn’t even mind running another mile to make the ferry to get home. Maybe it was the change of scenery, but I believe it was the company.
So this week, think about what you are doing each day. If your workout feels like a chore, or an item to check off your list, think about how you infuse some fun into it. What would make it less routinized and more carefree? For me, infusing a group long run on the weekend has reenergized me and made me look forward to next week’s long run, rather than dreading it. Yes, it is still HARD work out there, but as I said last week – I get by with a little help from my friends.
Let me know how it’s going for you, please leave a comment below.