Sunday morning I went for an 18km run and really had a tough time. The first 7km was ok, but after that I really struggled. I did this as a LSD (long slow distance) run so apart from the 2 hour battle I was actually quite happy with my training. I’m a firm believer in the LSD run and feel time on the legs is always good for the longer runs I’ll do in the future. I think these tough training runs also help a lot to get a stronger mind. I do most of my training alone and think it’s good to struggle alone from time to time. I do however try to answer the question of why I battle on some days and other days any training is a breeze.
Sundays are usually my 6th run of a 6 day training week and I often feel the week’s training in my legs. This Sunday’s battle was a result of that and also, I think, a result of not sleeping enough during the week. My average sleeping hours for last week was 5.5 hours per night. Then again, it might have been the result of Saturday’s digging and tree planting in the garden. The reality is there are so many factors that might contribute to how a specific day’s running will go, that I never predict this for my runs anymore. I just get out there, relax and run. I then handle the run, good or bad, as it plays out on the day. I try to take something positive out of each run, even the tough battles like the one I had this Sunday.
I used to worry about these tough runs and always felt it was a negative sign of my progress or fitness. Luckily I don’t do that anymore. There’ll be a good run soon and if there’s another bad one I’ll be ready because I trained for that tough run this Sunday. I also worked on my walking…faster and stronger on the hills and keeping that effort while I’m drinking or eating.
Then there is the stopwatch factor. I start my watch and only look at it again when I stop it at the end of the run. I never look at my watch during a run or even a race, but that’s a different story that I’ll get to another day. I record my total running time in a log for reference, but never worry about it. Not worrying about time also adds to the list of positives that help me to just relax and run.