The Long Run Problem

Oh Long Run. My problem isn’t the long run itself. How could it be with the distances I run? The long run is, and always has been my favourite run. I doubt I’d still be running without it. Early on I quickly switched from my 5k at a time to a long-run style plan. Granted at the time my long run wasn’t even at 10k as I built up my base. There was still something very peaceful about the mindset of a long run. You’re just out there, enjoying running, and there’s something so relaxing about exhausting yourself. When you’re done you feel like you’ve really accomplished something. 

My problem with the long run is getting myself out the door. Despite how much I love being out there for hours. There’s that little lazy side of me that wants to put it off 5 more minutes. This happened last weekend. I had the opportunity to run with some friends, and don’t get me wrong I love long runs with friends, some of my favourite moments from the past year were during some crazy long run with a couple friends, you can have a ton of fun out there. But last weekend I just wanted to run alone, I wanted to be out by myself for a couple of hours in the trails. 

I was in the last km of a 34km run, still happy as a clam

So Sunday morning, I set an alarm because I know how I am. This is how I am, the alarm goes off and morning self thinks, nah, I can sleep more. So I sleep in. And I’m not at all a productive person when I sleep in. It puts me in a very lazy mood and I just want to continue laying around all day. So this is how my morning goes, eventually I do get myself out of bed, but I start thinking, I don’t need to get going immediately, I can take my time, eat some breakfast, hey I got time, I’ll watch a movie. And another, and another. Until it’s 3 o’clock in the afternoon and I’m thinking ‘shoot! I need to get going!’  Somehow I still take my time getting ready and so by this point there’s no way the long run will happen. Largely because there’s not enough daylight left and I had no interest in running in the dark that day and also because I had to be at our New Years family dinner. And so a planned 20-22k run became the 7k I could fit in before dinner/sunset. 

Enjoying my time and the waterfalls

Luckily I had the next day off and was able to do my long run Monday instead. And again we had a repeat of Sunday, but slightly more successful as I was outside at 1pm and had the time to get in my full run. About 3 hours later than I’d planned, but I had a lovely time while I was out there and it was exactly what I’d been wanting and needing. 

When I plan to run with people, none of this happens. I wake up and get myself out the door immediately and I’m usually early to show up as well. I set that alarm and get up when it goes off because I have somewhere I need to be. I wish it would work the same when I’m running alone. I even try taking the same approach, I want to be at x location by x time. But morning comes and I’m thinking, oh what for I can sleep a little longer…

Taking in awesome escarpment views

I need to figure out a way to get myself out there on days when I just want to run alone. Im thinking of some ways to use people to do this. Buddy up with someone I know doesn’t want to run as long so we meet, I run with them for their run and then continue on for the rest of mine. Or I find a friend in the same situation, who feels the same, they’re I’m need of a solo run, but they know they won’t if they don’t have that obligation. So we agree to meet at a location at a certain time. And then we go do our own runs.

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Maintenance Week 3 Recap

A hilly trail run yesterday and a long run today = my bum, is sore. This is good though, it means I’m relying less on my quads and using my glutes and hamstrings more, good sign that my hips are getting stronger to correct my form.

Monday

This week started with some hill repeats on Monday. It was suppose to be intervals with MEC but the run ended up being canceled due to thunderstorm threat. So I decided to hit some hills, I’ve been wanting to for weeks but haven’t due to tight calves. It went okay I guess, couldn’t have been better, could have been worse.

Tuesday

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Tuesday went for a bike ride. Same path I took a couple weeks but I went off the path onto a trail at one point. So rocky. I spent a lot of that little detour off my bike. Not sure how long I was out there for my Strava app was being finicky.

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Trail stars/ends at the beach, finished at sunset so stopped to enjoy the view before packing up.

Wednesday

Wednesday I hit the pool had a great swim.

Thursday

Thursday was MEC trail run, we took an easy route which was good because I wasn’t feeling the greatest on the run and turned back with a couple other people at just under 4k for about 7.5 in total.

Friday, rest day.

Saturday

Saturday, trail run. So tired. Like ready to go back to sleep the whole time. Soo that made for a fun run, and it was hilly, I wanted the run to be over the whole time. My watch said we did 8.5k but we actually did the course from a 10k race so it was probably longer, gps watches don’t do so well with recording distances on hilly terrain.

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Soo I tripped over a rock and fell in the mud. All good though got right back up. After a bit noticed my had was stinging a bit and looked down to see blood. Had to get another runner to lend me some water to clean it out, water doesn’t pour our of my vest’s bite valve.

Sunday, long run

Oh how I did not want to wake up for this I reset my alarm many many times through the morning before finally forcing myself out of bed. I brought my ipod with me because my head game was off and knew I’d need a distraction from 2 hours with my own thoughts. The run itself was actually great, weird though also. I was enjoying the run but at the same time still did not want to be doing it. Very weird. I took a few breaks to enjoy the view, and get another photo for #RunChatHunt

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Found flag of my country and 3 others for #RunChatHunt

Because of the hill yesterday and this being my first long run on road in awhile I opted for a flat route by the lake. It was a good morning for a run, cloudy breezy morning was still a bit humid but the lack of sun and the breeze helped make it feel more comfortable. I beat most of the rain it did start drizzling a bit near the end and then started coming down harder when I was stretching but I don’t mind running in the rain.

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The end of the Hamilton Lakeshore Path out on a pier, nice view of Bulrington

My pace though, I did the first 10k in under an hour, I knew I should have slowed down but couldn’t really manage it, I also kind of wanted to see what I could do and just went with it. I ended up doing 18k in 6:03 min/km the breaks I took helped but I’ve done that before on long runs this spring and still I’d average around 6:40+ so today felt totally bizarre and great. I knew I’d gotten faster lately by my last solo run was still slower than that so, still getting faster maybe! This is really exciting!

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Still amazed at that pace, faster than I did the Chilly Half on March 1

Going to hatha yoga tonight, my bum is very much looking forward to it.

I have a 15k race on Saturday so I’ll be taking it a bit easy this week now.

Weekly Total: 40km

Long Run – Finally

I was determined to get my distance game on this weekend. So I set myself up so I’d have no choice. Friday I made plans with a fellow MEC Trail runner to meet an hour before the meet-up. Slight delay due to our intended parking lot being still locked, and having to drive down to another one, but slightly after 7:30 we started running.

What a beautiful morning it was.

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View from one of the lookouts on the trail

Cool sunny morning with a nice cool breeze, my plan was to wear shorts and compression socks for the run to help with my recent calf soreness but because of the cooler temperature I ended up wearing pants and brought shots so I could change later if I wanted to.

We did about 5.6k before hopping back into our cars and joining the rest of the meet-up group at the original lot. Once there I decided to change into my shorts. So awkward changing pants in a parking lot in the middle of the day. Thank goodness for tinted windows and a parking lot that faces the trees. I also had a Gu, tri-berry I think. Gu was the first gel I tried (I was using chews last cycle) and it was so awful I gagged multiple times trying to get it down – I could write a saga on my first experience with that. I ended up switching to the Honey Stinger Gel for the rest of the training this spring with the intention to try Gu again once I got more use to the Gels. So yesterday was that day. Yup, still fully awful. So that was fun. Glad I only had the one on me, I ate Honey Stinger chews for the rest of the run. Mmm so good. Had the fruit punch kind which I got in my Mississauga kit but had never tried. Still delicious.

The next 9.5km or so were spent with the big group that turned up this weekend. Saturday runs have been a bit small lately, I think race season has played a big factor in that, also we had some new faces this week. We were running the trails around Cootes Paradise in Hamilton, they’re mostly flat but do feature some very long climbs here in there. My body was very not in to hills yesterday so I ended up giving up and walking the hill a lot, steep climbs still hard to walk up them!

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Just some of the group that showed up that morning – on another of the lookouts! And yes I have my vest on!

When we looped back to the parking lot I was at around 15.2km and wanted to get in a couple more km so me, the girl I started the morning with a 2 other of the regulars headed out for some more. One girl turned early she just wanted to get to 10k. So the 3 of us continued on. In the middle of one of the super long hills I checked my watch and determined turning back now would get me 18, and I could finish this climb, but well I super do not want to. So I announced I was turning back and the girl said she was too when she saw we’d be around 18. After a bit of a chat that cooled us right down (don’t all long runs require 3 periods of standing around and reaching resting heart rate?) we split off from the last remaining runner and headed back.

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And my favourite photo from this morning. Saw this as we were heading back to the parking lot of the final time.

18km on the trails, felt pretty great even though legs were feeling tired before the run. Not too shabby for my serious lack of long runs this spring, next weekend I’ll get out on the road to pound some pavement finally, can’t have all the long runs be trail, that’s just too kind for the body.

Total km this week: 43km. woo! Somewhat of a borrow from the week before but still happy with my total. Didn’t run today and went rock climbing instead! Hadn’t been in over a year and was missing it lately loved getting back on there even though my forearms now feel pretty wrecked. Great total body strength work though and love the strategic aspect of it.

The Long Run That Wasn’t – Last Week of Recovery

My plan was to end this final recovery week with a nice and easy 14k long run. That did not go as planned.

My mid week runs were great I talked about my first 2 in my last blog post, Progression Run & Other Training. Thursday’s group trail run was also good. Minor ‘I’m about to die’ section as we climbed a monster hill when we went on the road for a small section before looping back to the trail (Around the Bay runners you know this hill, Spring Garden Road, the part you run down during the race, we went up). But aside from that I felt great and was running near the front of the group doing just fine. One of the women (a marathon coach actually) even made a comment about me being a good runner (funny thing second time this week that someone called me a good runner mind = blown).

Saturday’s trail run, less great. Still okay, I was doing okay for the first half and a bit on the way back, then we hit a ton of rocks that seemed to have multiplied from when we ran through on the way in. I was having a hard time manoeuvring through and my calves were starting to tire a lot, still a bit tight from the week before. All in all, while not my best run, it was pretty decent for a very technical trail run.

And then Sunday. I’d really been looking forward to this run. I hadn’t done a proper long run since Around the Bay for various reasons so I was looking forward to it a lot, I love my long runs and I’d picked one of my favourite routes I haven’t done since before the snow hit. I was ready!

Well, I slept in a bit later than I intended, still not so bad, I was at my parking spot at 9:30, not ideal in the heat but for a shorted long run it was fine. Outside my car it was heating up a bit but there was a cool wind coming through. Bit strong actually enough to slow down the run but for a long run I wasn’t really concerned about it.

Immediately my body did not want to run, I took a longer walk then I normally do before I started running. Finally I start running, against the wind, I’m not enjoying this. I think about how I should have brought my ipod. I don’t often listen to music, in fact I went months without it, maybe a podcast for parts of long runs, and I did my half with music since I wasn’t feel confident in myself. But really, it’s not something I really do much of anymore. I wanted it today. I turned down a path so the wind was no longer effecting my strides and the path was flat.

I should have felt better at this point. But I felt sluggish, even though my pace did not suggest it, I just felt like I couldn’t get my legs to move right. I stopped, I tried to walk it out. Started again, no better. I went 2k when I decided this run wasn’t going to happen today. My legs didn’t want to move, my mind couldn’t get to the point to convince them to move. Plus my bum was sore, has a knot in it. I actually stopped in the middle of the path and was trying to rub it out. Yeah. Runners do totally normal things like rub their butts in the middle of a pathway.

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Positive note, the path took me over this.

So I headed back to my car, ended up taking a couple walking breaks in total. I’m disappointed but my body was just not up for it today and as I’m not in training for anything, I’m not going to try to push through to anything it doesn’t want to do right now.

Time to move on, forget this run and hope for some better runs.

Also to go roll my butt over my Acuball…

Total KM this week: 29 – few less than what I thought would be a good amount but way less than what it was going to be had I gotten that long run in. Kind of accidentally overstretched my 32k target by 10k… But then it worked out since I was under by 3?

This week – officially into maintenance mode, no idea how many km I’ll run yet though!