On Sunday, I ran 6.5 miles along one of my favorite neighborhood routes. It’s a good run: a little hilly, but nothing brutal, and it’s a perfect loop that never gets boring. I always use this route to gauge my fitness level. If I’ve been running a lot, then this out-and-back is a piece of cake. If I haven’t been consistent, I struggle.
I struggled Sunday. That 6.5 miles was my longest run in more than a month. I had to walk. Twice.
I’m not going to lie, this bruised my ego. Granted, the air was so thick and humid that it made running — and breathing — miserable. My friend and I joked that we were actually swimming, not running. But still, why should I be walking when I’ve been running for 204 days in a row?
I know that I spent the month of June nursing my back, and because of this, I was coming in at my daily minimum. Now that my back is feeling 100%, I have to build my endurance slowly so I don’t re-injure myself. None the less, it annoys me to have to walk on a route that I was running weekly, plus tacking on extra miles because I felt so strong.
I think what’s more frustrating is realizing that even in daily running, I allowed myself to fall into a low-mileage pattern. Now that I’m better, I find it easier to squeeze in a quick one- to two-mile run every day, rather than focus on a few quality long runs throughout the week (and let the other days be low-mileage rest days).
Since I recognize what’s happening, my goal for my next post is to outline a training plan that gets me back in better running habits — training habits that force me to work on building my endurance and do some speed work. Any tips or links to good training plans are welcome. I’m focusing on a half marathon in November — and I want to come in under two hours.
For any other daily runners out there (I know you run streakers are out there!), do you find yourself sometimes logging quantity over quality? How do you break that cycle once it’s started?