Actually Loving the Longer Runs

If you had told me a year ago that I would be going out on long runs, I would have assumed you were thinking of the wrong person. “Running” three miles was a huge feat. So the fact that I went out this Saturday and ran six miles still boggles my mind. I have to admit that I am enjoying the longer runs for several reasons.

It is therapeutic to get out on my own. The rhythm of heading out for longer distances is excellent for the mind! I can zone out, listen to my book, and the miles go by much easier than I ever imagined they could.  While I could never (at this point) cover that distance on a treadmill, I enjoy setting a course and exploring my neighborhood. Thanks to Overdrive, I can borrow audiobooks for free. I’ve managed to listen to five books in the past month and a half! Running longer distances is definitely helping my mental stamina.

Because I am focusing on distance, I run much slower on my longer sessions. During a shorter session, I aim to keep my pace around 12:30 (still not fast, but it’s where I am). For longer runs, my pace goal is at least a minute slower. In some ways, the longer runs are easier. It’s a game of mind over matter, providing another reason to just zone out and go.

I love knowing that I can accomplish these longer runs! Yes, there is a bit of bragging about being able to say, “I ran six miles last Saturday.” I’ve been tempted to post about it Facebook, but squished the thoughts, thinking of this old meme:

This is my favorite thought about enjoying longer runs:

For years, I didn’t think I would ever be a runner. So many conversations about exercise led me to this admission. I’m great at yoga, I’m pretty strong, but I’m just not a runner. Running was one of the only things I genuinely tried to be successful at yet failed. (There are lots of things I am terrible at, but I have never really tried and applied myself.) The fact that I am able to run is huge, not just at face value, but because these goals alluded me for so many years.

This afternoon, I will head out for a quick run after school. I told Mike that it would be a “short run- around two and a half miles.” Last year, that distance would have simply been a “run” in my vocabulary. The fact that I now have short and long runs illustrates my progress.  This weekend, I get to venture out for a seven-mile run. I am looking forward to knowing that I am capable of running more than half of the thirteen-mile goal set for early May.

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