I had a great 18.5 miler on Saturday. Felt good, good time, and most importantly, I could have gone further if I needed. The next day, I took a foam roller stretch class at Revolution Fitness and then, upon the advise of Carri the instructor, I took a very long walk. Here are one of the rollers we used.
I took another long walk on Monday, did some strength training on Tuesday, and then FINALLY, I ran early Wednesday morning. Why are short runs so hard after long runs? I like to run...but I also like to sleep! I know I am not the only one with this issue.
Once I got outside and started going, I relied on the mental workouts I have been doing to get me through 5 miles.
Mental workouts? One of the hardest aspects of running is convincing yourself mentally to keep going. You want to stop. You need to stop. You would lie down on the sidewalk if it was socially acceptable. You want to take a break. You don't want to do this awful thing anymore. How do you get past all the self-doubt?
Give yourself a marker - like a lamp post or a tree - and decide that you will clear your mind of all distracting thoughts up until you reach that marker. It can be a real effort. Distracting thoughts are anything; from the desire to change the song you are listening to on your iPod, to wanting to scratch your leg, to thinking you are not going fast enough, to constantly looking at your watch. Remind yourself that you are now strengthening your mental endurance. It may be hard, but it's all worth it in the long run (literally, it's worth it for your long run!)
Happy running, and remember to exercise your mind while you run!