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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"Easy" days sometimes not so easy?

My run today is supposed to be 45 minutes of easy-paced running.  Yesterday's run was a hard effort (with nearly 8 miles at half marathon race pace plus a few warm up and cool down miles) and tomorrow is speed work on the track.  Going along with the hard/easy training plan, today's miles really need to be easy and simple so I can both recover from yesterday and prepare myself for tomorrow. 

Sometimes though I find it tough to muster up the energy and mo-jo for these easy, even paced runs.  I'm super-good at rallying myself for the more difficult efforts, the speed work and the long runs.  I'm thoughtful about the preparation and give myself pep talks in advance of the run.  But before easy runs I'm mostly only thinking about the logistics of where and when I will get the run done.  There's no extra zim in my thought process, no boost of energy to get me jazzed up about it.  I believe these easier days are important - they allow my muscles to recover and they help to build mileage.  Every run has a purpose and no run is a bad run in my book, but lately simple easy days are just not as exciting to me - it takes more effort to get pepped up for them.  It seems a bit funny that an "easy" day would be harder for me mentally in some respects.  Can you relate to this?

Today my 45 minute run will be done on the treadmill at the gym.  I'm bringing my i-pod and will rock out to some of my favorite tunes while I run around a 9:00 pace.  Music always helps me on a treadmill especially on an easy day.  To make this run extra special my plan is to have a unique focus mentally.  I'm going to spend the 45 minutes thinking about my upcoming race this Sunday.  To visualize myself powering through each mile, soaking up the experience and connecting to the strength within me.  Recognizing and respecting every aspect of the training that has gotten me to this point.  The sheer JOY I will feel when I cross that finish line so much faster and stronger than I ever have in this distance.  I think these easy days can be more about mental training, stamina and toughness.  Not having to worry about pushing my limits with speed or distance or killer hills, these runs are an opportunity to meditate and connect with a deeper sense of my self.  To bask in the glory of all my body is capable of.  To honor my hard work and prepare for the tough workouts ahead.

Are easy days harder for you in any way?  How do you approach these easier runs to get the most out of them?

**Oh and a side note: I am soo excited to report my niece Ellie is doing much better!  Her meningitis is viral and she is on the road to recovery.  We are all so very grateful!**

3 comments:

Glad to hear about Ellie--that's great!

I hear what you are saying about easy runs--just keep reminding yourself that they do have a purpose and get the most out of that easy effort!

I think half the problem sometimes is we get it in our head "easy run" and then we run and it isn't easy and we feel frustrated. :)

I like easy runs when they are short (40 minutes max)--they are a mental break for me. But if they get too much longer I get really bored. Breaking up longer runs with speedy chunks makes them go so much faster.

Thanks for your nice comments on my blog. I was able to put in nowhere near the miles you are when my kids were smaller--you are awesome. A PR at MCM is definitely on the horizon. "Unbroken" is on my list of books to read, too.

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