26 Before 26, Running

Marathon Training, Week Five

Matt and I have now been officially training for over a month, and over that period of time, I’ve learned quite a bit about my running self.

Each day before I’m due for my run, there is inevitably The Stall. You fellow exercisers know what I’m talking about—the moment where you know you need to go out and get sweaty, and you just look for every little excuse to keep pushing it back. The other day I talked Matt’s ear off for a solid 30 minutes until he finally said, “Get out and go running. There will be no sun left if you keep talking to me.”

Of course, once I’m out, I accept the inevitable and get on with it already.

During mile one, I feel all the spots where I’m tightest (tailbone, inner thigh, hips, knees), and I am keenly aware of the freezing temperature, the wind pushing against me, and my own failure the day before to stretch adequately.

In mile two, I get a sideache. Without exception.

By miles three to four, my sideache gradually wears off and my muscles are warm enough not to be giving me grief.

During mile five, I usually feel like throwing up. Or I get gassy. (TMI?)

By mile six, I realize how thirsty I am (after all, by this point I’ve been out about an hour), and all I can think about from then on is how nice it’s going to be to get to the apartment and drink a dangerously full glass of warm water when I get home. Somehow this makes me go faster, and I start running closer to the ground and taking longer strides.

By mile seven, my body is starting to feel the length of the run and my limbs start to hurt for the first time since mile 2.

By mile eight, I am so close to home that I get a huge adrenaline rush and about double my speed. Usually by this point, my body is a furiously effective machine, and I feel like I could go on running forever and ever because of all the endorphins racing around my bloodstream.

Of course, the second I stop running, I want to die.

But overall, the training is going great. The biggest obstacle in my way is always myself and my own motivation—I think for me, running is about 75% mental and 25% physical. If my head’s not in it, my body’s not in it. Those are the bad days. Lucky for me, most days I have a ton of thoughts swirling around in my head, which helps me to crave the exercise a lot more–running has given me a great way to release stress and ponder about problems that need fixing.

This week, we boosted up the mileage on a few of our runs. I bumped my short runs from 3 miles up to 4.3 miles. My semi-long runs stayed at 5.5 this week, but they’ll be bumped up to 6 by next. And then I added another mile onto my longest run, which puts me at 8 for that day (although, since my speed increased this week, I should have run 9). Matt and I finally mapped out a new route, too, which helped a ton with yesterday’s long run, since we’ve been getting a little bored with the routes we’ve been doing since the beginning. I had no idea thatΒ First DamΒ was such an ideal distance from us.Β  (remember that photo walk? First Dam is pretty much the same thing, but just a few miles closer). I discovered that changing up the route is a great way to re-motivate me to get out there and get my miles done.

This next month will bring some exciting challenges, like running the distance of a half-marathon by the end of it and trying out some speed exercises. Bring it on!

Number of Miles Run This Week: 30
Avg. Time Per Mile: 10 minutes (slowly but surely, I’m getting faster!)