Time flies. I blink and I can’t believe that it has been a year since I picked up running as a habit. It’s not unusual that I get asked how I started starting and I give the same answer that I give when I first blogged about running: the book, The Power of Habit (…and emotions).
The Austin Marathon & Half Marathon is in about 17 days and now I feel like running has become a chore. I wake up every other day when I’m not doing stretches/squats/recovering with the mindset that I have to run X miles (in Y min/mi). Each time increasing my distance a little bit, so I don’t end up totally left behind as my brother blazes ahead.
For training and interest purposes, I started using Strava, an app that generally is used by cyclists but runners as well. It tracks your pace, your distance, your route, etc. Last night, I looked up when I first started running (or when I first started recording). By sheer coincidence, the first day I recorded my running was the same day I last ran a year later. Look below:
And, excuse my profanity (it gets me through running)- HOLY SHIT.
Here are my *initial* thoughts:
- Wow self, you ran slow.
- Wow self, you ran barely 3 miles.
Here are the thoughts I should have reminded myself:
- Wow self, what a difference a year makes.
- You never thought you would run, ever.
- But now you’re running a half marathon in 2-ish weeks.
- And you’ve got a pretty good pace.
- But it’s totally not about the pace, you’re aiming to finish.
- Keep going.
- Don’t hurt yourself.
What are the chances that I run the same day in the span of a year (actuaries or statisticians?). It’s difficult to remind myself that I’ve come a long way. And I think that has extended to everything I do. I constantly have to…need to remind myself that I started at Point A, everyone starts at Point A and with time, practice, and trying- I’m/we are going to get to Point B.
Treasure the journey and don’t forget the middle part. It’s easy to forget.
Do you run with music? Do you exercise with music? It’s a rare occasion to run without headphones in. The only instance is when I’m running the last stretch. For whatever reason, I can’t deal and I yank them out of my ears for the last couple of blocks on my route.
Everyone is different, but I think music preoccupies our mind while our body tries to fight our brain. We push ourselves into these high-stress, endurance-heavy situations and while I believe our body is resilient, there is always that wall. You’ve seen it on Man v. Food when Adam reaches that wall and feels like he can’t put another 20 fries in his mouth. It’s probably because he already had 5 lbs of fries, but I digress because I’m not talking about eating food, I’m talking about exercise and the mental game.
That’s what it is. That’s why I labeled my playlist, “It’s just a mental game.” Featuring artists like Phantogram, Kendrick Lamar, and my latest add, Odesza, they are all high-energy, motivation-heavy music to keep my legs moving. I also have a couple of slower songs like M83’s “We Own the Sky,” because for whatever reason, that keeps me going.
When “Tom Ford” by Jay-Z comes on, I know that no matter how little energy I have or how I feel mentally, I have to run. I don’t have many tips about how to choose music, but I’ll try below with some song suggestions too. One of my friends listens to Tyler, the Creator, another listens to old school rap like Missy Elliot, and my brother listens to Lord Huron.
Tips on Picking Music for your Running Playlist:
- Take your time, it’s trial-and-error.
- Have multiple playlists (thanks for this tip Hannah!) because sometimes it can get old. Have two or more, trade with your friend, collaborate with a friend, pick and choose and make your own.
- It can be slow music or fast music, I mean at one point I listened to Sufjan Stevens, it’s not hardcore rap, but it has a good tempo for me.
- My favorites at the moment: Jay-Z (“Tom Ford”), a whole lot of Justin Timberlake (“Mirrors,” “TKO”), Phantogram (“Black Out Days”), this remix by Grizzly Bear and Diplo.
- Kendrick Lamar’s “Backseat Freestyle” will always be the one though (Warning: It’s explicit).
What do you listen to on your run? I’ll link my Spotify playlist if you want to click this.
I’m coming up on Week 3 of training…and in short, it is ruff. Rough. Rough.
My weekly exercise schedule goes a little something like this:
- M, W, F, Sun – 3 of 4 days of cross training (by cycling or elliptical or squats or stretching or swimming) 1 day can be taken for rest. I’m failing to bring myself to a yoga studio…
- T,TH – Short runs. 2-3 miles. Goal is to run without stopping.
- Sat – Long runs. 4+ miles. Goal is to run the distance.
Only 95 more days until the Austin Half. *Nervous mental vomit* I’m learning about myself everyday. For example: I’m learning that my body is demanding. Some might say frail. Since I’ve started running at the beginning of this year, I’ve gotten injured multiple times and had to rest for weeks at a time. Then there was the bruise in the face, the bike accident, and concussion… Through all of that, how did I learn my body is demanding?
This is how and why:
- I learned that I have to cross train. I won’t get by without injury if I don’t.
- On the note of cross training, I have to have a strong core, or else my body can’t support my running which leads to injury (which sucks).
- There is such a thing as overdressing and my body hates my brain a mile in.
- Then there is such a thing as cold ears leading to ear aches after a run. It even happens when I wear an ear band.
- Hydrating has never been more important. I learned that when you’re running in the cold and don’t feel thirsty, you should still drink water.
- I bought this thing called a foam roller. Runners will know what this is. Well, it’s my new best friend. I really think this is what keeps me from seriously injuring my IT-band.
And maybe it’s my brain demanding myself to stop running…no, it’s definitely my brain. The body is more resilient as long as you take care of it, but the hardest part is definitely conquering that small voice that says, “I don’t wanna run, don’t run.”
Thankfully, I have my brother, a handful of friends, and a deep love for eating to get me out the door. Whatever gets you there, right? More on motivation later. Today, it’s about learning to listen to my demanding body…and taking care of it. Stretch, cross-train, run, repeat. 95 more days. Run or perish.