People say there’s no such thing as a bad run. The only time I’ve heard that questioned is when someone gets injured on a run, or something similarly bad happens. But the conventional wisdom is that no matter what’s going on, you’ll always be in a better mood after a workout, right? That’s normally true for me, but today, I would argue that my run ruined my day.
Adam has been an awesome coach as I’m working toward my goal of PRing in the 5K, and I’ve discovered that I really like having a coach. I’ve mentioned before that part of why I take classes is because I work a lot harder when someone is telling me when to work out and what to do. I’m a people pleaser, so if someone tells me that the assignment is XYZ, I’m not going to do XY and call it a day! Having Adam tell me what each running workout will be makes me a lot more likely to stick to my plan, vs the days when I just tell myself I’ll go run and then I gradually shorten my planned distance as I’m running it.
In general, Adam’s plan for these first few weeks is speedwork one day, a steady state tempo run another day, and a long easy run another day. (Plus lots of cross-training in between.) Last week was still a little bit off because of my calf tenderness, so today was really the first day I had to do a tempo run, and I was dreading it. Four miles, no walk breaks, and a flat 8:00 pace – simple, but challenging.
One thing I’ve learned both from classes and from the speedwork that Adam is having me do is that I don’t mind running fast when I can do short intervals with breaks. So far he hasn’t given me any paces that scare me, and knowing that I have a break coming in just a minute or two is enough to encourage me to push hard on the work intervals. Over the last year or so, I’ve been surprising myself with just how fast I can go when it’s just for a short time, but four miles of just the same monotonous pace? I seem to have forgotten what running a marathon is like, because that seemed like forever.
Now, surely, if I was dreading this run all week, it wouldn’t be that bad when I actually went to do it, right? Wrong. I woke up this morning still dreading it, and not feeling at all ready to run. But I dragged myself out of bed and into my gym clothes, and dutifully headed down to the gym. Finally getting on the treadmill, I found myself staring down the distance pretty much the whole run, watching the fractions of a mile tick by and the little dots slowly moving around the track, and hoping it would be over soon. I did have a TV show on, but largely just listened while I focused on the numbers like I was forced to watch paint dry. I debated whether to just take some breaks even though Adam said not to… but the people pleaser in me wouldn’t let that happen, and I stuck it out until the end.
Throughout the run, I did a lot of math in my head to try to figure out what percent done I was at all times. (In case you were wondering, each hundredth of a mile is 1.25% of a 4 mile run.) I kept trying to come up with milestones to reassure myself that I was making progress (“7/12 of the way to the next mile, hooray!”). The pace was fine; it was the mental part of the run that was ridiculously hard for me.
And when I finished the run? Oh, that was the grumpiest of all. When I finish a speed interval workout, I feel like I really accomplished something awesome – going at what I previously thought was an impossible pace, over and over and over. But this run didn’t give me that sense of satisfaction – the distance wasn’t very special nor was the speed. Like the literal treadmill I was running on, I had worked hard, but not really gotten anywhere! What a bummer. I was in a grumpy mood most of the day, from getting stuck in traffic on the way to work to having an afternoon exec update canceled due to time constraints. Despite those other circumstances bringing down my mood, I’d like to instead blame it on that dumb run. Adam, it’s all your fault! ;)
On the bright side: Adam said that next week my tempo run can start a little slower, and I can increase the speed every mile. Now that sounds like some good variety to shake things up!
How do you get through your average runs on the dreadmill?