What happens when your heart (figuratively) just ain't feeling the run?
How do you know when to call it quits, turn around and head for home? Or, if you're pounding out some miles on the treadmill, how do you know when to pull the power?
Let me set the scene...
Winter has really turned on me. Granted, I'm a self-professed summer gal who much prefers the heat (and subsequent humidity) to the frozen tundra of winter. I've lived in the Midwest all of my life, though, so I know how to deal with the cold (even when it gets extreme).
The past four weeks of winter have been especially cold (Polar Vortex, anyone?) and icy. So, I have had to keep most of my runs inside. Although I can tolerate an occasional treadmill run, my treadmill has not seen this much action since the winter of 2005/06, when I was a new runner and didn't know different.
On Thursday, February 14th (2019) at approximately 5:40 a.m., I completed my 10th run on the treadmill this winter. Would you believe all of those treadmill runs happened in a matter of 27 days? Quite frankly, my runner's heart is struggling to stay in the game. Scratch that, I have not lost any mojo, whatsoever. The cabin fever, though, has become chronic and my mind and body need to get back outside and away from Milly.
I do a lot of 5-mile runs. The 5-mile distance is kind of a benchmark for me...it takes less than an hour (including warm-up and cool-down), so the time commitment is minimal. The 5-miler is not too long, but it's definitely a legit distance whether you're going easy or attempting a tempo-paced run. The bulk of my 5-milers happen in the early hours of the day (known as my #5a5's...five miles at 5:00 a.m.).
Over the course of those five miles, here's what my H.E.A.R.T. will typically experience:
*Mile 1 is usually hard, because my body is still in the process of waking up.
*During mile 2, things start to feel easier, as I get into a steady pace.
*By mile 3, my body has pretty much acclimated to the elements...the temps, the terrain,etc.
*Mile 4 usually has me in a steady rhythm and my body is just going with the flow.
*Finally, mile 5 leaves me feeling triumphant!
This monumental 10th treadmill run (mentioned above) was one of those runs that just felt a bit off, from start to finish, and my HEART just wasn't in it. I awoke before my alarm (which is pretty common, even with a 4:30 wake-up on tap). My body felt stiff and DOMS-laden from an upper body/ab workout (approximately 36 hours prior). My lower back was achy, too (probably a result of the several rounds of heavy snow shoveling earlier in the week). Also, this would be yet another #5at5 on my own (instead of with my running friend) and it would be on the treadmill (again).
The first 1/2-mile was at an easy warm-up pace, then I started increasing the speed slightly in 1/2-mile increments after that. Each mile actually felt easier (ironically, considering they were progressively getting faster), but I just wasn't enjoying the experience. I realize not every run is going to feel sensational, but attempting to knock out five miles with a tired body wasn't a great scenario, especially on the treadmill. I made it to four miles and decided to call it quits....before things got ugly.
After those four miles, I probably could have soldiered on and done a fifth mile. But, I had the idea in my mind (before I even laced up) that I could stop after four miles. I've gone on and done extra distance on similar runs that felt "off," so I know my body can win out over my mind. My gut just told me to end it right there, right then...and I chose to respect it. By stopping when I did, I can say the run ended on a high note because I really wasn't feeling defeated (yet). Had I gone on, I suspect I may have struggled (even without increasing the speed further). However, there's also the slight chance I would have felt accomplished for sucking it up and doing that final mile. Oh well, I guess I will never know, but I'm okay with that.
Bottom line, I chose to simply stop and called it good. No regrets.
The thing is, although I have some 10K's happening in a few weeks, as well as a 10-miler in early April, I have a strong cardio and endurance base. I didn't need to risk injury by forcing a run (or even an extra mile) when my body clearly needed a little more down time. Besides, I have been pretty lucky in that most of these treadmill runs have gone well thus far...a few have even left me giddy with of all kinds of endorphins.
What would you have done? Have you ever cut a run short, even though you knew you could have probably run longer?
I'm linking this with Meranda and Lacey for the Friday with Fairytales and Fitness link-up.
Good call and too right, I do that all the time if I'm not feeling right in my body with something (I do have to talk my head down from stuff sometimes ...)ReplyDelete
I'm just super paranoid about over-doing it. Just because I have the ability to run that extra mile doesn't mean I HAVE to LOLDelete
One mile less here & there will never make a difference. I rarely cut runs short but it does happen. And cabin fever is real!ReplyDelete
Here’s hoping that early spring is on the way. Hold on, February is always the worst month! I should know, I was born in a snowstorm — almost in the car!
Totally agree, it was just a mile and I didn't think twice about after I ended the run. I guess that was the true test...it didn't bother me to quit the run early, so it wasn't meant to be. At least that's what I'm telling myself ;-)Delete
I have been struggling myself mentally lately. Like you, I don't seem to get acclimated until mile 3. Those first 2 miles have been a struggle lately. Ugh this too will pass!ReplyDelete
Well, and I know for me, I have been on the treadmill TOO much recently. I"m usually outside in all kinds of weather, but there has been just too much ice and too many days with sub-ZERO temps. Not worth the risk for the bragging rights LOLDelete
In the whole scheme of things, one mile is not going to make a difference. I have been on the elliptical lately (due to injury), and would much rather be out on the roads or trails. Hang in there - spring's comin'!ReplyDelete
I say we skip spring and just go straight to summer!Delete
I admire your tenacity on all those treadmill runs. I couldn't do it. I don't even know how some people can run on a treadmill all the time, even for long distances! Amazes me. I don't envy them, though. LoLReplyDelete
And yes, I've thrown in the towel, even on outdoor runs. Sometimes, you just have to.
I know the main problem here is not so much my tired body, but the excess number of treadmill runs I've had to do. Well, I guess I certainly could have chosen NOT to do all of them (or even some of them), right? ;-) Most of them have gone well, but there have just been too many in such a short time span. Bring me some summer!!!!!!Delete
I always can come up with an excuse to finish my runs early on the treadmill. It is much easier to do than when you are outside and have to actually get home. That is the one bad thing about treadmills, it's to easy to just get off it and be done.ReplyDelete
I usually can make myself stick out a run until the desired distance is done, but I just didn't feel the need to go any farther. The fact that I had zero guilt about quitting "early" proves I did the right thing at that moment in time.Delete
There's no harm in cutting a run short if you're not feeling it. Have you had your vitamin D level checked lately? I struggle every winter and I don't absorb it well so it's something I stay on top of. This winter has been especially tough.ReplyDelete
I had not thought of vitamin D. I have not had issues in the past, so it's never been on my radar. I agree, this winter has been tough! I'm not used to being inside so much....Delete
I definitely have cut runs short. I think it's all part of the process! if every run felt great then what would we learn? there's no point to take risks when you have races coming up. Honestly? it's one mile you cut it short, not 10.ReplyDelete
My thoughts exactly!! We should be friends ;-) This run wasn't especially tough or painful, but it just felt weird. I know I am getting SOOO bored with Milly, especially in the early morning when all I have to entertain me is my reflection in the window LOL Once this ice melts, I can get back outside.Delete
I cut runs short all the time! I listen to my body and if it isn't feeling it, I call it a run. Since I'm without a treadmill right now, running outside is my only option. With the cold and the wind, mojo is definitely a challenge.ReplyDelete
I should ship Milly your way. She's about "run" her course with me (pun intended).Delete