Most people hate running. Why? It’s pretty simple. It’s physically AND mentally exhausting.
This first week of trying to get my body back into shape was tougher than I remembered it. I noticed that getting back to my normal pace of running would not just take a couple of days of getting used to running and eating right. I hate running slower than an 8 minute/mile pace because it feels like it takes SO much longer to finish. The mental strength to push through the physical fatigue for that extra minute feels like an hour of pure hell.
I realized that with no goals set and no motivation to really get into shape, it had actually made me mentally unable to fully commit to my runs. Over the weekend I had to sit down and really game plan what I’m setting out to do for this race, which by the signs of this first week will be less than impressive in my eyes.
I’ve decided to try to finish the race without walking. Yes. Big goals, I know, but after running 5 times throughout the week, I was unable to get over 2.5 miles without checking out and stopping. My weight has dropped from 162 to 158, but I can barely feel any difference during my runs.
Mentally, I have been dreading each and every run. I am so used to getting a mile in and feeling amazing, as if I could start sprinting with no repercussions, and having to just focus on not going too fast and maintaining on my pace. Now, I am checking my phone every 30 seconds praying that my run is almost over.
Your focus and determination is the most important concept to training for a race. Heck, it’s the most important concept to actually enjoy running, unless you are already in unbelievable shape I guess.
Anyhow, let’s recap week 1.
pros- I practically avoided all candy and energy drink intake the whole week. The sweets were pretty easy to avoid, but not having a can of practically pure caffeine was at times pretty tough to deal with. I resorted to strictly coffee, which, yes, had cream and sugar, but was significantly less cruddy than whatever the hell goes into Monsters and Amps. I ate healthy the whole week with the right portions and avoided late night snacks mostly. When I felt hungry late at night, I drank water and ate fruits. I must say I look a little leaner and lost about 4 pounds.
cons- Not too many negatives to report. I had an occasional Coke on the golf course, but nothing on a daily basis that would fail my diet. The only problem that came out of this week (diet-wise) was going out to the bars with my friends on Saturday. Beer, especially in high quantities, is probably the worst thing to do to your body when training for a race. It left me less than 100% on Sunday, and when you are struggling to get ready for a 5k, let alone a 10k, every day lost is crucial. I am young, and there are no excuses. I can’t let that happen this week.
pros- Even though I was unable to run the distances I wanted to by the end of the week, I was still able to run 5 times in 7 days. Each run was on the same route and varied between a 7:45 and 8:05 pace. Along with running, I golfed an absurd four times, walking 18 holes each time. Walking 18 holes is walking around 3-4 miles, so even though I wasn’t physically pushing myself, the added exercise didn’t hurt. I also decided mid-week that I needed to add a little upper body strength to help my running stride. Once you get through your 2nd or 3rd mile, you start to depend on your upper body to help you run. My friend from school showed me a pushup exercise in which you max out normal, military, wide, elevated, diamond, and dive bomber push-ups twice. It was killer, but I can promise you after about 7-10 days you will notice results. I also tried out some planks and side planks for about 90 seconds each to get my core strength back.
cons- Saturday night and Sunday. I golfed Sunday and ran Saturday, but as I’ve stated before, I can’t be taking days off from running.
My goal is to be able to just finish this race. Maybe at the end of the week I could get a better sense of what kind of time I could shoot for, but right now I am mainly concerned that my distance isn’t getting longer. My body is starting to be at a place where running a 10k is 100% achievable. I need to get in a place mentally before and during my runs that drives me to keep going. Once I find that, I know I will be satisfied by my results, and it will give me confidence and eagerness to do better in my next run.
I’ve done this before, and I know that once I find it (whatever “it” may be), I will start to make serious progress. For the time being, I can’t say much more, but I’ll be sure to post something right after my first mentally successful run. Wish me luck.