Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Long Run for Fun

I'd often wondered how my running would play out after my race season had concluded. I had big aspirations that I would keep up my mileage base (15-20miles a week) during the winter months and kick ass. But, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't burnt out after my last race in mid-October.

To save myself from returning to being lazy and inactive, I decided to switch up my workouts, with more of a focus on weight-lifting, and running for feel and fun. And it's worked.

Weight lifting is awesome. Period. I feel so bad ass adding weight onto the bar and crushing it! RAWR. But, to be honest, I still really really really like to run. I've been experimenting with some new treadmill techniques. I don't own very much in the way of reflective gear, so early morning runs while it's still dark out aren't something I can do everyday. Treadmill it is. I've gone simple. I cover the display so I'm not just sitting there watching the numbers tick. slowly. by.  It's working! I simply run, and pay attention to my music, every 3rd song or so, I bump up the pace. I'm pleased with this take. The only downside is I'm probably going to need a lot more variety in my running music in order to keep my attention.

The big sticking point for me during the off-season is maintaining a long run. So many times I think to myself "why would I spend all sunday morning running if I didn't have to?" Well the answer to that, dear runners, is because I now WANT to, I NEED to! YES! I'm a runner. "I don't want it. I just need it. To breathe, to feel, to know I'm alive." ~Tool, Stinkfist. Pretty much sums it up right there :)

So, this past Sunday I set out with some fuel and a water bottle for 8 comfortable miles. The best part about non-training long runs is that I'm not constantly worried about my pace. I'm not stressing if I have to stop to eat these incredibly difficult to chew power bar gel/chew thingys I bought (they were the only type of on-the-go fuel at my ghetto Price Chopper). I also didn't plan my route. I just went out and ran until I got to 8 miles (that took some creative neighborhood weaving as I got closer to home, haha). The only downside to that approach was I apparently had hill-amnesia, and picked a seriously difficult route.

I also didn't take any caffeine before this run. I usually pop a caffeine tab before any decent workout. And usually, my gu (which is my usual fuel) has some caffeine in it. I'm also likely to have tea or coffee after a long run. Well, Sunday I did zero of those things. Add in daylight savings (though I'm not sure that really had much to do with it) and I fell asleep for an hour or so after my shower, and was seriously fighting to stay awake past 7pm. I fell asleep for real at about 915. Uh, am I a 20-something or a 70-something? haha. Monday ended up being a rest day too because I just could not wake up! It was well deserved sleep, though! I ran 22 miles last week - just cuz! That is close to my peak week mileages during training! It's nice that I can just casually run 20+ miles a week even when not training (assuming I have no social life and can go to bed at 9pm every night, haha).

Today I did a legs workout and it was awesome. My mentality with legs workouts is similar to speed days. Go big or go home. Push it. Leg days are my favorite lifting days! I'm not entirely committed to adding cardio on to leg lifting days, because after a seriously hard workout, doing cardio could be a disaster. But today I had time to pump out a mile and a half on the t-mill after my lifting session. My legs felt great!

Let's see what I have to say about that tomorrow...

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