When I do my long run it provides the quietest time of my day. With two busy daughters, clients, and just life my weekly long run is an opportune time to think. I can focus on myself as a person, dad, husband, as well as certain aspects of my running. Here are some random running musings I had while doing my long (for me) run yesterday morning.
1) I am just not a cold weather runner. We had temperatures here in Connecticut in the upper 50s on Saturday. I had my best training session. My times are always slower in colder temperatures. When the weather cooled off again in Sunday my times went up. Yesterday was in the lower 50’s and once again I ran faster. I need to trust the process more.
2) My long run is the perfect time to focus on a couple key points of my running form. While running I periodically “check in with myself” to make sure I am leaning slightly forward, not over striding and despite it being an easy paced run I made sure to focus on my cadence. These are some tips I picked up after reading Chi Running a couple years ago.
The increased focused paid off. My cadence was much lower the previous week. Also after comparing my previous week’s long run to this one I able to see I also shortened my stride length running 6.6 mph to now running 6.8mph. You might not think this would matter that much. That would be wrong as this allowed me to run the same course 10 seconds per mile faster, while still being sure to stay within my easy pace range. I just ended up staying on the faster side of that pace. This resulted also in me running over a longer distance while running the same amount of time. I was running more efficiently.
3) I love running for time as opposed to a prescribed distance for long runs. When I used to train for half marathons and even now sometimes before what constitutes my longs run now, I can get psyched out by the distance. If I focus instead on running for a certain amount time I find the run goes better. There is much less pre-run anxiety, and less pressure overall to run a certain distance. In fact I find running for time I usually end up running longer than I would have if going for distance. For example during training for one of my half-marathons my goal was to run for two hours. I ended up running over 14 miles. This was a huge confidence builder ahead of my half.
4) I can focus on myself. Long runs are always a great time for me to personally check in with myself like I do with my form mentioned above. I try to analyze how I handled myself that morning or previous night as a husband, dad, etc. It helps to put things in perspective. Like we all experience with good runs and runs that do not go so well, there are things to be learned from both. How can I be a better husband, and dad? If I did a good job how I can continue to do that? What are some ways like running and strength training can I build off of my success?
5) People here in Fairfield County Connecticut are just not friendly. I always wave and say good morning or good afternoon to walkers, runners, and bikers. More often than not they do not even respond with a simple wave. I vow to keep greeting them because you never know how much that one person may need that simple wave. So whether or not I get any responses I will keep greeting everyone.
6) Do not measure your pace against someone else’s. Many of us follow other runners via social media. I do not know if yo do it, but I know I sometimes catch myself comparing my runs to others. You cannot have a real idea how flat or hilly someone’s course is, or what weather factors affected positively or negatively their run. Run the mile you are in based on your own personal conditions.
7) Medical paper tape is the perfect thing to help deal with blisters you may have. I have started to do a lot more track work now that the snow and ice have retreated here in Connecticut. The first couple times out in track shoes I build up a bit of friction which results in blisters. I read a study that determined that paper tape can be very helpful in preventing blisters in ultra-marathoners and started using it with good results last year. While many of us will not run an ultra we can surely benefit the same from using the tap. It does make a difference as I was not bothered by my blisters on my long run yesterday. In fact they actually are almost healed. You might give it a try. 8) It is like the name of the concert film by Led-Zeppelin. The Song Remains the Same. So do my feelings about the long run, I still feel the same. This was one of my more popular blog posts from last year the week before the CT Master’s Games. It sums up some of my feelings of the long run.
9) Running helps makes me the best version of myself I can be. I know I have said it before but I really do believe that.