03 July 2008

I plod too!

This pretty much describes my running lately as well as I train for the NYC Half...


There is plenty of advice here, and on other websites, about how to improve your running. But what do you do on those days when nothing seems to work?

Your intervals are slow. Your strides are uneven. Your mood stinks and you’re completely gassed about halfway through your 12-miler.

I’m a big believer in getting something positive – anything – out of every training run. So when I find myself at the end of my tether and recognize I’m in the middle of a session I’m going to want to immediately forget afterwards, I make the decision to shift into low gear and enter plodding mode.

Of course, sometimes your body utilizes its automatic transmission and shifts into plodding mode all by itself. What I’m suggesting is to decide not to fight it.

Train for it.

The effect is partly psychological but has physiological benefits as well. If you stop being angry with yourself, if you slow down significantly and tend to your body’s needs, your heart rate will level off and you’ll automatically feel better. Some days that’s enough. But I find it works so well that I often end up exiting plodding mode and going back to a steady running pace to finish up strong.

Some people might call these junk miles. Junk is in the eye of the beholder. Excellent runners think all my miles are junk. But one man’s junk is another man’s treasure, and the best way to overcome your fear of disaster during your target race is to prepare for it.

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