You know that saying ‘you win some, you lose some’? People always say it after a loss, but since today’s post is about an unexpected success, I’m inverting it! I ran 6.1 miles today as a training run, and even though it’s unofficial, I ran a 10k PR!
Lina told me about this great article that addresses how athletes should/should not think when they are competing, and I’ve been thinking about it a lot on my runs the past few days. One of the main points in the article is that distance runners, unlike other athletes, will benefit from not going on autopilot. It is more beneficial for runners to be constantly checking in with themselves and evaluating how their bodies feel. I had begun to tell myself that I couldn’t possibly run a first mile faster than, oh, 8:30 pace, because I just wasn’t warmed up enough yet. On today’s run, I forced myself to think about how my body really felt as I began my run, and to my great surprise my body was perfectly content to run much faster, even in the very first quarter mile.
I think this article may have just changed how I approach my runs from now on, and I think it is responsible for my running fast today. I need to be careful not to run my fastest on every run just because I feel good (this is how I got injured!), but I also need to recognize when I can and should push myself harder.
This unofficial PR happened at a great time because as my last post suggested, my head has been in a weird place with running lately. I’ve been waffling between feeling inspired and wishing I weren’t signed up for Chicago. Honestly, I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that currently, I am still on summer break and seems that all I ever do is run and study. I suppose there are worse things to spend your time doing, but I’ve never done this kind of mileage (or this amount of studying!) and it’s an adjustment.
One major component of my running that I’ve changed (other than the increased mileage) is when I run and how I fuel. I’ve completely converted myself into a morning, empty-stomach runner, and I am a true believer in this format. I read this post by Skinny Runner about a month ago and decided that I should give her advice a whirl. It isn’t fun getting into the habit of running early, but then again, it also isn’t fun getting into running at all; each of these things only feels good once you’ve made the adjustment.
Also, it never occurred to me to run on a completely empty stomach. In fact, the thought horrified me: “I’ll starve! I won’t have anything to fuel myself!” Of course this is nonsense, and as Skinny Runner points out, it’s really awful to run with something sloshing around in your stomach. Like her, I do have a cup of coffee before heading out. I honestly have only gone on one empty-stomach run in the past month during which I felt like I could have used a snack, and oddly, that run was my 3 miler this past week! It must have had more to do with what I ate (or rather, didn’t eat) the day before, and in any case, I just ate promptly after returning home. No harm, no foul.
In other news, I’ve been taking an iron supplement for the past month or so and I think it’s been helpful, too. Truth be told, my post about iron a few weeks back scared me into getting an iron supplement! I bought Iron Aid by Country Life, and I take one tablet every other day, right before I go to bed. I don’t eat a lot of red meat on my own, and just having a little extra iron floating around has kept me from feeling depleted. I like this particular supplement because it doesn’t have any calcium in it (which, remember, inhibits iron absorption) and it also has vitamin C, folic acid, and vitamin B-12, which aid in iron absorption. I bought it at Whole Foods, though I believe it’s available in a lot of different places online as well.
Lastly, I have to run a 17 miler tomorrow and with Lina out of town, it’s going to be interesting. Luckily, Abbe is going to run the first 9 miles with me so I “only” have to do 8 by myself after that. I’m trying to remember that I just have to do it. I don’t need to run the 17 miles tomorrow in record time or anything like that, so all I have to focus on is keeping going. Fingers crossed!