Monday, September 19, 2016

Sep 12-18 training recap and universal running advice

I got some running mojo back last week! The timing couldn't be better since I'm currently crash-training for the Army 10-Miler on October 9. (How did the race date sneak up on me so quickly?!?!?!?)

Here is how last week's workouts shook out:
MONDAY - Run 5 miles, 30 minutes of strength-training
TUESDAY - Yoga class
WEDNESDAY - Zumba class, Mobility 101 class
THURSDAY - Strength Max class
FRIDAY - Run 4 miles
SATURDAY - Run 8.5 miles
SUNDAY - Yoga video, walk 3.5 miles

The 17.5 miles I ran last week is my highest weekly total since July. I strongly considered knocking out a few easy miles on Sunday, too. Ultimately, I decided not to since I'd already run Friday and Saturday. I figured three consecutive days of running could be too much after doing so little running for many weeks preceding. It feels good to get some momentum rolling!

This week's Tuesdays on the Run topic is: The best running advice I ever got. 

I've talked here about the biggest running lessons I've learned in the past. Therefore, I'm going to talk about running advice from a more universal perspective.

The best running advice I ever got boils down to this: Control what you can control, and focus on what matters.
Hopefully this isn't too cliche.
We all have good run days and bad run days. Heck, sometimes we have stretches that lean in one direction for weeks, or even months. Sometimes you do everything under the sun right, but the run still sucks. Conversely, sometimes you do everything under the moon wrong, but your run feels amazing and effortless.
There are dozens of factors that can impact us at any given point. E.g.: Fueling, hydration, sleep, training, time of day, course, crowds, gear, injury, mental state, weather, hormones, warm-up or lack thereof, other workouts, etc., etc., etc.

There can also be other intangibles that I can't even begin to list here since they are unique to each of us as individuals. Our bodies are not machines.

On bad run days, I tend to beat myself up and question all the things that went wrong. On good run days, I wish I could clone whatever was clicking so I can recreate it all the time. Certainly every experience, both good or bad, is an opportunity to learn and to improve, of course. But there's only so much we can control - so it's best to focus on what's important to us.
This doesn't exactly fit the point I'm trying to drive home here -
but it is so true that I had to share!
If I sign up for a challenging race, I can generally control my training, pre-race preparation, and mental state. But sometimes other things in life take priority, and I might prefer to focus elsewhere from executing the perfect race. That is okay. It's important to remember that I can also control how much fun I have!!!

Similarly, I can always do my best to adapt to the weather and crowds - but ultimately I cannot control them. And that is okay, too. Again, I can control my perspective and how I am thinking about the challenges.

Obviously, it can be very difficult when life throws wrenches in our direction. But I think the realization of what we can and cannot control can usually help shift the mindset in the right direction. Baby steps are still steps, yes?

Your turn! What is the best running advice you've ever received?

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I'm belatedly linking up with HoHo and Tricia for the Weekly Wrap, as well as with MarciaPatti, and Erika for Tuesdays on the Run.

24 comments:

  1. This kind of goes along with some advice a friend gave me before I ran my first Chicago marathon: Go with what the day gives you. You just never know, do you?

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    1. Yes, go with what the day gives you! Expect the unexpected because you really never know. I've had instances where, say, time-tested gear has ended up not working for me on race day. It sucks, but all you can do is go with the flow!!!

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  2. Great advice in running and in life! There are so many variables we cannot control, we need to focus on the ones we can.

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    1. Thanks Marcia! I've definitely learned that while we cannot control everything, one thing we can control is our mindset. It may be hard - but we do have the power!

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  3. Yes! There's no sense in freaking out over what we can't control. I do stalk the forecast before races, and I plan different outfits for what the day brings. I've spent energy on stressing before which left me exhausted.

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    1. OMG - I am right there with you on stalking the forecast before races and debating between a dozen different combos of race gear and outfits. It can really drain you!!! So hard to let it go!!!

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  4. So glad you're feeling excited about running again!
    This is great advice. You'd think after however many years we've all been running we'd have figured out what makes a good day a good day and vice versa but it's still so unpredictable. Definitely better to not stress about what you can't control. Not just as related to running!
    My favorite running advice when training/racing hard is to give 1% more. Come on, it's just 1%, You can do THAT. And then you PR. :-)

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    1. Thank you, Kelly! I've come to the realization that if it were easy to put together the perfect run every day, we'd all be Olympic world-record setters in track & field and millionaires, right? I love the advice of giving just 1% more. Incrementally, 1% more might indeed be all we need to get ourselves over those final hurdles!!! =)

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  5. If I had given 1% more in my marathon in April I would have run a 2:57:00 instead of a 3:00:20. All I do is have to give 1% more in two and a half weeks! That is if the things I can't control (weather, wind, etc.) are not too out of control! :)

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    1. As per usual, I love your scientific analysis on running strategy. =) Go for the incremental 1% in 2.5 weeks!!! The weather will be what it will be - but you've done a tremendous job of pre-race training and preparation!!!

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  6. This is so right on time for me and very wise :)
    For me weather is my nemesis, it steals my joy lately...I just can not take all the heat anymore, I think summer should have a much smaller window lol
    You are a strong runner and I bet your Oct. race will turn out just fine :) Sometimes a little pressure makes you rise to the occasion :)
    With my feet the way are, they are factor I can not control so i am trying to adapt to what they will give me. For me this has been a huge adjustment and I think now I realize I am in a grieving process, just had that aha this week, and I hope I can get though the steps and feel good again soon.

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    1. It's funny - here in Chicago we spent our entire 6-month winter lamenting how much we can't wait for summertime. Then, when summer lingers, all of us runners get frustrated with the heat. I'm right there with you on longing for cooler running temps, the humidity has sucked so much motivation out of me!

      Thank you for your confidence in me for the Army 10!!!

      As always, I wish you a speedy recovery with your foot ailments. You are doing a great job taking things one step at a time - and a grieving process is very healthy and necessary. I hope you can get through the steps and feel good again soon, too, my friend!!!

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  7. Great advice! There are so many variables when it comes to running. After having a tough half, I have to remind myself that I can't control the weather! That Venn diagram really says a lot!

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    1. Thank you, Janelle! Sorry to hear about your tough half - but this just means your next half or other race will be that much better to make up for it. I heard the weather at RnR Philly was very hot and uncomfortable - great job on pushing through!!!

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  8. That is great advise. And so true. And that pic of the dispicaples is too funny. Isn't that the truth, especially when you are at work.

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    1. Thank you so much! I love the Despicables, I think they are really adorable. Glad you enjoyed that picture!!! For me, that picture pretty much sums up every weekday of my life. =D

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  9. I think the best advice I ever got was, "If you want to run faster you have to run faster." Basically, you don't get faster or stronger if you keep doing what you were doing. Probably applies to more than just running, too!

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    1. This is very true! We can't expect to stick to the same old practices and expect that things will still change. It's important to mix it up and push ourselves. If that doesn't work, then we need to look for other approaches. It definitely applies to life in general, not just running!

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  10. Great advice. If you can't control it, don't even sweat it. It is what it is. Though I don't always follow that advice... haha.

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    1. Thanks Rachel! And I certainly don't always follow that advice, either. =)

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  11. This is great advice. I too am one to stress over things I don't have control over. Sometimes I realize this pretty easy and other times, not so much! The best advice I have received is You can always improve. My friends focus was on me being better than I was yesterday.

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    1. Thanks Tricia! That is great advice to remember we can always improve, even if just a little today versus yesterday. The little things add up, yes???

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  12. Great advice that I need to heed right now! I can't say anyone ever gave me any running advice. I didn't know anybody that ran when I started. I certainly read my share of stuff though. I usually get that "this is what you love to do" feeling at some point during any race, good or bad. One thing I love about races it is that every one is different. Thanks for linking, Emily!

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    1. I am thrilled that you get the "this is what you love to do" feeling at all of your runs, good or bad - because I have had many where I didn't, LOL. Isn't it amazing what we can all learn from personal experience? You've become a local running expert just by getting out there and pounding the pavement. Way to rock on, HoHo!!!

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