This time last week Jon and I were heading out for a long run. We hit the road at about 6:30 am for a seven miler…and trudged home about an hour and a half later, disappointed, yet still hopeful.
Feeling exhausted and a bit disappointed, but still proud that we at least still covered the distance
There were several key mistakes responsible for what we called our “successful failure.” Successful because we covered the seven miles and made it back in one piece. Failure because we didn’t accomplish what we set out to do.
- We didn’t go to bed early enough the night before. We were running on about 5.5 hours of sleep, which is not nearly enough. Getting adequate rest is vitally important when pushing your body.
- We hadn’t hydrated well the night before the run. It’s not only important to hydrate during physical activity; it’s also crucial to hydrate in the days before.
- We got going way too late. By the time we went out, the sun was already beginning to peek out, and the temps were in the 90s. On top of that, the humidity was extremely high.
- We didn’t have good tunes! For me, music is a serious motivator during long runs. While I did have my iPod on, I didn’t have a good playlist ready. I don’t necessarily have to have every song be super upbeat, but Adele just wasn’t doing it for me.
- We didn’t fuel before leaving, so we were still running on the fumes from dinner the night before. To make matters even worse, we didn’t take anything along to fuel while we were out.
- Lack of hydration during the run. We did wear our hydration belt, but the water heated up super fast and we ended up running completely out of water by mile five. No good!
- I had to go to the bathroom starting at about mile 3. There are few things worse as a runner than carrying on despite needing to use the restroom. Sorry if that’s TMI, but the resulting cramps and heaviness alone were enough to do me in.
So, as you can see, pretty much everything that could have gone wrong did. Plus some!
We initially started out fine, but at about mile 2 things started to go downhill when my bathroom needs presented themselves. There was nowhere to stop, and I didn’t want to go back home so we pressed on, hoping it would pass. In retrospect we should have just looped back around to the house. Throughout miles 2-5 we were just feeling spent. The lack of cold water, humidity and lack of fuel were wearing us down fast. At mile five we completely ran out of water. My mouth felt like cotton, and as I continued to press on I began to feel extremely weak and a bit lightheaded. That’s when I knew it was time to stop. The humidity was like a thick blanket around us, and the sun was beating down.
It’s always difficult to cut a workout short, and when I do I often feel as if I’ve given up or failed. I do think it’s important to push myself even when my mind is telling me to quit. Many times my body can overcome my mind and prove that I really am stronger than I think.
However, it’s a different story when my body is telling me it’s time to stop. I don’t call that quitting, I call it taking care of my body and being wise. There should never be any shame or regret in listening to your body and complying when it’s begging you to stop.
So, we walked the last 2 miles back to our house and vowed to do everything differently the next week.
Which brings me to this morning. Instead of following our training plan and dropping back down to 5 miles this week, we decided to have a re-do of the 7. Having hydrated well, fueled with half a brown rice cake and peanut butter, gotten plenty of rest, we set out at about 5:45 am with a camelback full of ice and water and a motivating playlist! The humidity truly was as bad as ever, but the things we did to prepare really came through for us.
The one thing we didn’t fully prepare was the Garmin. I put it on the charger last night, but I guess it didn’t attach well because it was dead this morning. So we free-for-all’d it! Whoop! It was kind of nice not having to worry about time or splits. We had mapped out our route the night before (using mapmyrun.com) so we knew exactly where we needed to go to get in 7 miles.
This morning was honestly one of the funnest and most enjoyable runs I’ve had in a long time. I highly recommend that every runner nix the garmin and just run at least every once in a while. It’s a very freeing experience. I really feel like the joy of running was brought back to me this morning.
At about the 2 mile mark we ran into a friend
This picture is really crazy looking because it was dark still and I was using the iPhone. This cow was so cute though! He was like “what are you crazy fools doing out here?!”
waving hello to our campus stadium
Along with stopping for water every couple of miles, we also carted along some starburst jelly beans for a little carb kick!
We had an epic finish, and I felt so proud and happy to have redeemed ourselves this week!
So, I can basically sum up our last two weeks of runs in one lesson learned.
It’s all about preparation.
Actually, two lessons learned.
1. It’s all about preparation
2. Don’t be too hard on yourself!
Whether you’re a seasoned runner or just starting out, you can know that you will inevitable have “bad” runs. Every single run is not going to be great. Heck, you might even have an entire week of bad runs. But if you just keep at it…keep pressing on it will get better. And it’ll be worth it. There truly is nothing like crossing a finish line after lots of hard work. Whether it’s an official marathon finish line, a 5k, or your own 2 mile run at home – it’s so rewarding.
I hope you all are having a restful and fun weekend. You’re amazing!
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