I think I am officially back. If you have followed my blog or some of the running chats on Twitter, etc you would have seen me point out that I have been struggling with my running. This has by far been my best week of training since June. Everything seems to be clicking and I am finding my running fitness getting closer to where it was for some races in May and June. I am on pace for at least thirty miles logged this week.
Yesterday, I ran my first long run in a while. I had planned for a minimum of five miles or 45 minutes, whichever came first. On my long runs as I always seek out the hills so I can slow my long run down. This can be a mistake many runners make, and I am no different. If I hit the many large and rolling hills in my area I am assured of a challenging run but will also stay closer to my desired long run pace.
I felt incredible yesterday despite the tough Triple H’s of my running this summer. Not that Triple H! I am referring to the hills, heat, and humidity that have been a part of my runs all summer. Thurday’s conditions here in CT were very hot and humid, but I felt awesome! My foot turnover felt rapid and smooth, which was confirmed as I ran when I was able to maintain a nice easy fast but flowing and steady pace during the first part of my run.
The true test comes around mile three of my longer runs as I begin the start the hills. As I crested each hill I kept waiting to see my pace fall off significantly. Especially since the ankle injury that plagued and hampered my running since July. I decided to would test my desire and fortitude as I chose to run up the longest hill on my route. As I expected, my pace at this point fell off a bit but was right where I hoped for. I still felt pretty energetic and even tacked on an extra fifteen minutes to my run so that I finished with a long run of 60 minutes!
This was my first run of this distance in some time and it truly gave me the confidence boost I needed. I cannot wait to kill it on my hill repeats run training session later today and my track session Sunday. During my struggles, I tried to stay confident that things would turn around and not focus on the fact that I was struggling. But despite the fact my running was suffering I was still blessed to be able to run. It was that thought that has helped me stay humble and help keep me determined to grind and to get back where I was. I am not there yet but it is ever so close.
P.S. As with any of my workouts I always add striders. Yesterday was no different. I added 10x 20second striders after my long run, before moving into a 5-10 minute static stretching routine. These are not sprints but definitely are run at a faster than goal pace. I find it helps workout running form as I fatigue, and teaches my body and especially my legs to still have that fast turnover at the end of my runs. I do not use these striders as a replacement for speed work.