Today I had one of those awesomely blissful runs where I could have just kept running into the sunset (figuratively of course, since it was only 2pm). I’m not sure why it had me feeling so good, but I think there could be many reasons:
1. Last week was a recovery week, so I should be feeling a little refreshed now.
2. All 3 of my classes were cancelled today, to my welcome surprise.
3. I have recently come to a realization. It is my first time training for a half marathon, so I am following NMA’s training plan as you may well know by now. I have done every run and followed it for the most part, adding some miles here and there. The one thing I haven’t followed is any sort of tempo or hill training and my long runs have not truly been long slow runs. Like most training plans, mine calls for long runs to be about 2 minutes per mile slower than my normal training pace. I have recently realized that I have not been doing that because I feel much too motivated and excited to run any more than 30 seconds per mile slower.
This then lead me to think, maybe if I can sustain my long runs at the pace I’m doing, my problem is not that I’m running them too fast, but that I’m running my regular training runs too slow. I mean, when I started to focus on my cadence and running form I sped up by an average of thirty seconds. After that, I haven’t really increased my speed much because I am doing this for distance and not speed. I have been running for consistency and have convinced myself that I don’t care about speed. But I know that I can, and have, run a few of my shorter training runs faster. So, I may not be pushing myself on a regular basis like I thought. But I am competitive and I like to push myself. From these realizations I have decided that I am going to start pushing myself more during shorter runs and see how I feel.
4. Today I ventured to a new running route on the Rock Creek Park trail. I love it! It has the same feel to me in DC as Golden Gate Park does in SF. It’s a little slice of nature smack in the middle of the city. Even with the highway alongside the trail when you start heading north from Virginia Ave, the entire run felt so serene. I also thought it was really cool that there is some outdoor workout equipment along the trail.
Anyways the point is that I loved my run today. Sure there was the usual back pain and some leg muscle tightness, but I was completely unfazed. I listened to the Eminem station on Pandora the whole time, which was fun for a change; there were a few comedy bits that played between the songs and had me laughing for part of my run. I also ended up at 5 miles instead of 4 because at the end of my run I stopped by a bike shop that the Clif website said sold Clif Shot gels. Apparently they don’t anymore, so I ran to our school gym for a salad/rice bowl to finish off my run instead. (I ended up making a quick trip to Eastern Mountain Sports tonight, only a 6 minute metro ride away, and bought a couple new flavors of Clif gels to try from there.)
Here are some photos of Rock Creek Park, and I’m sure there will be more in the future as I hope to do more of my medium distance runs there.