Yesterday, I felt as if I was standing in the middle of the Olympic stadium with crowds standing, cheering, and tossing roses down towards my feet. I waved back, a proud smile reaching from ear to ear.
Okay, so I might have been completely alone yesterday morning.
And there was no one around to congratulate me.
But I did have a smile that went from one side of my face to the other.
I ran a personal record distance…
I know that might be chump milage to some. However, for me, the farthest distance these feet had traveled during a run had been 13.1 miles.
The weather the was perfect (60-degrees!), I felt great, and…
I just felt like running.
When I got to my half way point I realized I was right at 7 miles. Instead of thinking “oh crap, now what?” I got really excited! I still felt great and I knew I could make it back in one piece. Which I did and even had negative splits the final 5 miles!
Which brings me to:
How To Run Further Than You’ve Ever Run Before
Here’s what helped me get past my 13.1 mile mental block (yes, I always thought that was all I could do).
1. Out & Back Style.
I used to hate the idea of running to a certain spot, then suddenly turning around to head back to where I started. Mentally, I preferred running loops. If I needed to run 6 miles, I would plan a 6 mile route that would have me doing one big circle. Lately though I’ve come to the realization that I was wrong.
Out and back runs are where it’s at for setting new distance records! Set a goal marker for the turn around spot and run to it. Once there, it’s not like you can just throw your hands up and call it a day. You have to to back to where you started!
My half way mark… now to get back over the bridge.
2. Zone Out.
I know some people hate running with ear phones, and that’s fine. Sometimes, I love running sans technology, but not when I’m trying to accomplish something new. Books on tape work really well, and so do podcast. You’re able to sit back, enjoy the scenery of the run, and listen to a good story along the way.
Personally, I’ve been listening to Aisha Tyler’s Girl On Guy Podcast during long runs. Each one can last any where from 1-2 hours, making them the perfect length of time. Last week I enjoyed Chris Rock being on the show, and pretty much laughed out loud several times. This week was Jack Osborne, surprisingly I really like Jack all grown up!
3. Small Changes.
Work your mileage up slowly. If you haven’t run 4 miles before then don’t attempt 8. Be smart and you’ll end up enjoying the experience a lot more. Since I am training for a half marathon, I tend up increase my long run distance by 1-2 miles each week. Slow and steady ends up not only free of injuries but ends of still liking to run at the end. Don’t burn yourself out.
4. Cutting Back On Alcohol.
On Friday I mentioned that I was cutting back on my weekend cocktails. Not that I ever go overboard, but a glass before dinner, one during, and a post dinner cocktail all adds up. I was amazed at how great I felt on Saturday morning and how much energy I had… could it be that the wine has been holding me back? Likely.
5. Pre-Run Fuel.
Some people don’t eat before a run. For speed workouts and short runs, I’m in that club. But for long runs, I wake up about an hour before I head out the door just to get some fuel in my belly. Yesterday was a new snack: paleo muffin with peanut butter. The muffin kinda sucked, but it was filled with healthy carbs and protein to help provide energy.
6. Tell Someone.
The best way to get your goal distance in is to simply tell someone what you’re aiming for. That way, if you get back to your starting location but are still a quarter mile short, you’ll have the drive to finish it. You don’t want to tell that person that you stopped 1/4 mile short, right? Plus they can give you a well deserved high five!
As soon as I finished my run, I texted my friend Jeanette. I knew she would give me the “great job” I wanted and that she would mean it. Ahh, friends.
7. Running Fuel.
I go back and forth between using fuel during runs. For my last 2 halfs I didn’t train with race fuels. But for this one, I’ve decided that any run over 10 miles deserves a good gel. Not sure if it helps, but I used one today at mile 7 so I’ll list it here. Gu’s Salted Caramel is the best. I could eat it like candy.
Guess what!? I actually have been drinking water like a good trainer should. For the past 4 days, I’ve made sure to drink 3 liters of water each day. It’s amazing how well you perform when your body is actually hydrated properly. This is perhaps the best benefit of the $150 Ab Challenge! I also made sure to plan my run so that I would pass several water fountains along the way. It’s important and it can make a huge difference.
Last but not least…
9. It’s Fall.
A gorgeous apple display at the farmer’s market (Ambrose Farms)
Waking up at 5 am and feeling the sweet chill of fall makes early runs worth it. The humidity is almost gone, and the crisp air is welcoming to any runner. If you’ve been running during the summer (as I was), you’ll suddenly feel stronger and faster since your body isn’t having to work as hard to cool you down. Embrace it and allow your feet to carry you to your goal distance (staying reasonable of course).
What’s the farthest you’ve ever run?
Do you have any suggestions?
Before I go, here are a few more fun pictures from the weekend…
Yesterday Dan and I checked out a local historic park to film a workout for Obliquetober… This site was where the largest slave uprising in America took place in 1739, The Stono Rebellion. Pretty interesting?
Dinner… Strange but good! Veggie burgers served on homemade almond “buns”. Dan was quite impressed. Crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside. Delicious! Served with grilled cabbage with a reduced balsamic drizzle.