Running Smart

You know those runs when you start out and you know immediately that it’s going to be a terrible run? Where at the end of the first mile you feel like you want to just crawl back into bed instead of running another nine? Well, I had one of those today.

It wasn’t a particularly long run (for a long run); just under 8 miles. But with humidity at close to 80%, and a rather unsatisfactory sleep, I could tell by about 3 steps into the run that it was going to be tough. And it was. I had planned to run pretty quickly, but I quickly changed my plan. I decided to take the first half slowly, and if I felt okay, pick it up about halfway through.

As a side note, improvisation is extremely important in running. You know your body best, and if you don’t feel fast that day, don’t push it. And if you feel fest on a recovery day, like I often do, the experts will tell you to still take it easy. I advise you to listen to the experts, but keep in mind that I’m being a bit hypocritical.

Well, my quick change of plans today paid off. I kept a nice, comfortable pace for the first half, drinking more than usual considering the humidity, and thereby had enough in me to speed up the second half quite a bit. All because I wasn’t stupid about trying to keep to my scheduled fast run. Of course, a non-runner might remark that if I were really smart, I wouldn’t have run at all in 80 degrees with 80% humidity. Clearly, there’s a reason they are non-runners.

Running is, as many before me have noted, largely a mental sport. As Mike Fanelli, a running coach, advised:

“Run the first part with your head, the middle part with your personality, and the last part with your heart.”

I discovered today how good that advise is.