I mentioned in the Weekly Wrap post that I had two good runs last week. I did four miles on Tuesday and four miles on Thursday.
I want to talk a little bit about my Thursday run. My plan was to run the first mile, then do run/ walk intervals for the last 3 miles. As I got started the head winds were SO strong that I almost convinced myself to not run but I decided that running in the wind would be good practice for when I do the race at the beach next month (because it always seems to be windy as we are running along the boardwalk). It was really warm out but the wind was so strong that it was stinging my eyes (and I even had sunglasses on too). After I finished the first mile, I decided to go ahead and run the entire second mile and start my run/walk intervals at the turn around point.
As I hit the two mile mark and turned around, I wasn't running against the wind anymore and the running felt SO much easier. Since I felt a little better I just decided to run the entire third mile and not do walk intervals. And since I was running the entire third mile, I thought I might as well bring it on in and run up to the fourth mile. This may not be a big deal for some people, but I was SO proud of myself for doing this. It's been a while since I have run consistently with out walk intervals. And to top it all off, my time was actually good as well. I feel like this run was the perfect example of how running really is 90% mental. My chest hurt, my foot hurt (from the dress shoes I wore earlier that week), it was windy, it was hot, etc, etc, but I kept thinking "just get to the next mile marker". And I did. I am not surprised at the fact I ran 4 miles, I am surprised at the fact that I went 4 miles without taking a break.
As of right now, I am going to use this run as a benchmark to gauge all my other runs off of this summer to see if I can see improvement.
From this run, I can tell some of the things I need to improve upon to make things easier for me.
1. I think I need to do more upper body exercises. I think this will help with the tightness in the chest and the breathing. I follow a gal who does planks everyday and she seems to be increasing her speed. Maybe this is the key. I can only image when your chest feels lighter, running is easier!
2. I need to do more leg presses. I noticed that when my ankles are elevated off the ground more, running is easier and I pick up speed. I need to do more strengthening in this area not only to give me more force but to also prevent injury.
3. As far as the run/walk intervals, I don't know if that is something I want to improve upon or not. There is definitely nothing wrong with taking the walk breaks and to be honest, it kind of scares me to run even more than 3.1 miles without one. Even though I can handle it mentally (I've run 10 miles in the past without a walk break) but I have not done it since my major ITBS injury. I now worry about what damage it might be causing to my knee and IT band if I continue to run without taking breaks. I don't want to over work it and cause injury again. But on the other hand, I do notice on my long runs that when I take walk breaks (around mile 11 or so) it seems SO hard for me to get running again and sometimes make my legs feel worse than if I just kept running at a slower pace. I guess ya can't win them all and you just have to do what feels right at them time.
Have you done a benchmark run? Do you note what improvements you need to make? If so, how do you adjust? How can you tell if your breaks are just "mental" or if you really need them? -M