Not that I want it to pop. I want to continue to live in this bubble forever and ever and ever and ever.
But there's this weird little feeling creeping over my shoulder every time I go for a run. Like somehow I managed to outrun that grey rain cloud that's hung over my head on almost every run for two years, but it's going to catch back up. I keep thinking that eventually that rain cloud that's so far behind me that I can't see it anymore will catch up to me.
But then every day, I go outside and go for a run, and I find myself still floating along the street in my bubble. No grey rain cloud in sight (metaphorically, that is--there are plenty of real grey rain clouds...I do live in Seattle).
The last two days have been no exception. I felt unstoppable on my last two runs.
Part of that might be attributed to the fact that last week I finally bought a long overdue new pair of running shoes.
|Purple! And shiny! I'm trying Brooks Ravennas for the|
first time. I'm usually dedicated to Brooks Adrenalines and
Mizuno Wave Inspires, but am unhappy with the current
generation of both of those. So, time to try something new!
When I went for a run wearing them yesterday, my feet and legs felt so good that I accidentally clocked an 8:45 average 5 miler. I'm still making a concerted effort to keep my runs nice and slow while base building for the New Orleans RNR Full, which means trying to average somewhere between 9 and 10. But yesterday, even though I kept trying to slow down every few minutes, my legs kept flying and the pace unintentionally fell below 9.
But I wasn't too hard on myself for it, because I still finished the run feeling good and feeling like I could have gone further. And that's my current goal for every run right now. I'll let the pace slide for a day.
So that was kinda great.
And then I went running today. Which brings us full circle back to the title of this post: the mid-week long run.
When I went to the Lydiard Coaches' training last May, one of the big differences between the way I was used to training and the Lydiard way was the mid-week long run. The theory is this: there's no need to beat up your body with these crazy long Saturday morning long runs (no 20 milers people! No one needs to be doing that except maybe elites and ultramarathoners). Instead, you run more miles mid-week and build your mileage over time in a way that your body can handle better.
Then come Sunday/Monday morning, you aren't feeling so completely burnt out from your Saturday long run that the idea of running seems dreadful. Instead, you're ready to plod out some more long slow miles throughout the week.
The mid-week long run isn't quite as long as a weekend long run. Say you're running 120 minutes on Saturday, then you'd run maybe 70 or 80 mid week. Right now in the peak of my base building, with 120-150 minute weekend long runs, I'm doing 90 minute midweek long runs.
I started the mid-week long run when I was training for Eugene last spring. At first I thought it would be miserable. I was used to logging no more than 5 miles tops in midweek runs. The idea of adding another 2 or 3 miles to my Wednesday run seemed absurd.
But I was enthusiastic to give this Lydiard thing a try, so I went for it. And turns out, I loved it. Which shouldn't have really been all that surprising, because I love long runs in general. They're kinda my favorite for more than one reason. But let me walk you through a run to explain it better:
This is how a typical* 90 min long run plays out for me in my inner monologue (*typical meaning before and after the 2 years of grey rain cloud running):
10-30 mins in: Ughh, I have to run so far. This is going to suck. Slow down.
30-40 mins in: My legs feel like lead, am I really not even half way done yet? Slow down, you've got a long way to go.
40-60 mins in: Wow, I feel really good. I could just run forever. Is that a hill up there? Let me go smash it. My head feels so clear. I have a super good idea for a blog post! Whoa lady, slow the pace down.
60-90 mins in: [silence] [the sound of pounding pavement] [steady breathing] [singing along to my Pandora station, ignoring the odd looks of passersby as I silently mouth the words to myself]
The finish: I can't believe it's over already! I could totally do a few more miles...[smile]
This inner dialogue could be altered to fit anything between a 90 and 120 minute long run on a good day (by 150 minutes, I'm having to fight the mental battle a little more at the end to get to the finish).
But the main idea is this: it is only on long runs that I am able to reach that highly prized, otherwise unreachable silence. I get to a point when my brain shuts off, the inner dialogue stops, the constantly running to do list for work disappears, and time suddenly stops moving (or moves so quickly I can't see it anymore--I struggle to figure out what really happens to time in these moments).
And the great thing about mid-week long runs is that now I don't have to wait until Saturday morning to find my silence. Now, I can experience that silence right smack dab in the middle of the work week. And what I'm finding is that in middle of the work week, the silence seems even more silent somehow. Because everything else so much louder on a Wednesday than it is on a Saturday morning.
Today, I had a great mid-week long run. Today, I found my silence around 45 minutes and maintained it until I stopped running about a block away from my apartment. My legs felt strong, my body felt good, and my brain--in the middle of one of my busiest work weeks--stopped turning.
Now, two and half hours after completing that running run, I'm still resting inside my happy running bubble, crossing my fingers that it doesn't pop.