Giving it 110%, or “Have some gravy with them biscuits!”

Long runs can be tough.

Starting out might be the easiest part – you’re fresh and enthusiastic and (hopefully) feeling healthy and fit, but if you’re really going long – whatever that is for you, on any given day – there’s probably also some apprehension about all that time/distance ahead of you. Or downright dread maybe.

The middle part, is definitely tough, when it seems you’ve been running forever and still have forever to go.  Calorie reserves dwindling, pressure points announcing themselves, any lingering weak points of the physiology becoming more and more prominent, this is where runners build character, whether we want it or not.

But then there’s the last portion, when you can smell the barn and see the light… Despite fatigue, aches and pains, this may just be the best part of a long run – cruising to the finish.  Unless…

Unless you’re ramping-up to some long goal or event, following one of those training plans where every week or two (or three for those of us who need a lot of recovery time) you make that weekly long run a little bit longer (10% more than the last one is the oft-spoken rule, so that’s what we’ll refer to).    Adding distance means that just as you are getting to what last time around was the payoff, you have to “go the extra mile,” and that is no small deal, since by definition the lead-up you’re now staggering to complete is 100% of the max you’ve run before in this training cycle.   Aching, sticky with sweat or frozen with cold, stomach grumbling (at best), bowels raising the alarm (definitely not the best scenario) the prospect of going even farther can be pretty daunting, especially if the earlier miles haven’t gone particularly well.  Some thoughts that have helped this follower-dog “keep on keepin’ on”:

One:  A lagging pace in that final extra distance doesn’t affect your average pace nearly as much as it might seem.  The reason is basic math – proportions.  Let’s say your pace in the added 10% drops by one minute per mile.  Since you’ve already run 10 times as far, the impact on average pace will be 60 seconds divided by 11, or less than 6 seconds – a rounding error for those of us in the middle of the pack.  Even if the pace lags more than that, if you’ve given it your best for the bulk of the  distance, that added 10% is all about the doing, you don’t need to ace it.

Two: When temptation rears its ugly head, suggesting you call it a day and do that long-run-plus in a couple of days, or next week, (or any other time but right now, which is what I’m really thinking, right about then), it may help to remind yourself what it took to get to where you even have the choice whether or not to do that 10%.  If you bag it today, you’ll have to run the whole 100% again, just to be where you can make this decision.  That’s right folks, you can end the pain and suffering here and now, but then you’ll have to go through it all again just to get back where you are today.

And Three: if you can just make it through that extra 10%, what a sense of satisfaction you’ll have!  Whereas,if not, you’ll have done somewhere up to 90.9% of the work (that’s 100% out of 110%) for none of the payoff.  Talk about a rip-off!

Biscuits-and-gravy comes to mind – that 100% you’ve already run is like the biscuits – hearty and nutritious, but by themselves more than a little dry and grainy.  The added 10% is the gravy, the part your mouth has been watering for, and that will make all the rest go down smooth and easy.  If you’ve gotten anywhere near it, push on through and make the miles.

 

In most areas of life, “giving it 110%” is a cliché – and worse, one that flies in the face of logic and mathematics.  In running though, it can be very real, and all the literature seems to agree it has big benefits. So make a training plan and ratchet up the distance, and when you find yourself on the cusp of calling it off, remember: that extra 10% is what makes the meal worth savoring.

Long runs?  Yummie!

(Easy enough to say when I’m sitting at this keyboard…)

 

Out and Back and Out and Back

Most runs fall (though usually not literally) into one of a few categories – out and back, loop, point to point, or laps. A recent pace run has given me reason to appreciate a variation I’d never considered – the repeated out and back.

Back-story: I set out this past Saturday on a mid-length run, aiming to sustain a particular pace (faster than any of my recent long runs, but not as fast as shorter ones), but quickly began to fear the packed snow and ice on local streets was a recipe for injury.  Deciding to stop and consider my options, I actually did fall  down – thanks to a hidden patch of glare ice,  and so packed it in right there and headed to a Rec. Center treadmill to finish an abbreviated workout.

On Sunday, still hungry for real miles, I drove some distance to where the lower elevation meant a paved trail would be clear and safe. I planned to run 5 miles out before turning around, but nearing 2 1/2, began to suspect the treadmill intervals might have taken too much out of my legs to keep the targeted pace that long.  Plus I had no idea how far downhill I’d go on the rest of the out bound leg and have to climb back up later. The prospect of finding myself five miles downhill from my car, with worn out legs, did not seem fun, or even very wise.

It was then that Plan B occurred to me: how about turning back at 2 1/2 miles, and pushing hard back to the car at 5?   That’d give a better shot at maintaining goal-pace, limit downhill to what I’d already seen (not much to that point), and still leave the option of heading back out for more. Done deal!

The first discovery was the added optimism I felt turning around at 2.5, as if I’d already achieved something.  Next was the realization that since I’d just covered them in the other direction, I had a clear idea what each of the next 2.5 would bring, and the confidence to attack them more aggressively.  Approaching the 5 mile mark, it was surprisingly comfortable to push the pedal down and hit my goal pace with a ten-second margin, the satisfaction of which was more than enough incentive to head back out again (after a short breather).

Not surprisingly, the next 2.5 began a bit tough, but well-before the turn-around the ol’ legs had cleared themselves of exhaust gases and seemed eager to revisit the same stretches they had just ‘conquered.’   Plus I could tell myself I’d already succeeded for 5 miles, so had a lot more reason to believe I could do the same distance again.

End of story: after initially wondering if my intended run was possible, it turned out to be very much do-able and fun; not only able to beat goal pace for the first half, I managed to come within just a few seconds of it over the entire distance.  Plus I can now compare splits on the two halves and see clearly what role fatigue played on identical terrain, something you don’t get ever get on a loop, point-to-point or single out-and-back (where covering grades in reverse prevents any direct comparison).

Out and back, out and back – it’s really another way of saying you can run laps on any route, it doesn’t have to be a track or even a loop.  That turns out to be a great way to break up a long effort (see Divide and Conquer, 10/22/17) and also to hedge your bets if the weather is iffy, the terrain unknown or your own readiness in question.

Who would’a thunk?  Not this mid-packer, at least.

 

The Long and the Short of It

Most runners start out relatively short – with short distances, that is.  Whether as track athletes steered by coaches to an event which best suits them (100m, 200, 400, 800, 1600…), or recreational/fitness runners who choose a mile, 5K or at most a 10k for their first official  target.  Only after substantial experience with those more modest distances do they build up to hours-long efforts in half-marathons, marathons, or ultras – if ever.

As it happens, my first-ever organized running event was a half-marathon (or ‘hemithon’, if you’ve read an earlier post on giving this distance its due) which I entered with an over-ambitious buddy who’d started training and wanted company in his challenge.  It also doesn’t hurt that I live in a small town many miles from larger communities – it’s difficult to justify driving several hundred miles and spending one or two nights in a motel for any event that will last less than a couple of hours.  Whatever the factors, I tend to focus on events of 13.2 miles or more, and maybe not to fully value their more compact alternatives.

This year’s though, a local Turkey Trot 5K provided a good reminder of something to love about shorter events: the high ratio of Start/Finish time to cruising time.

It’s no secret, after all, that the start of a race is very exciting. The crush of bodies before the tape, the inspiring music, the cocky buddy-chatter with whoever winds up at your elbows.  The possibility of a new experience, a new PR, or just another notch in the old shoes…  Enough excitement and joy that many of us have to consciously avoid going out too fast and hurting later performance.

And the finish has an appeal all its own: that competitive burst as the line approaches (if there’s still that much gas in the old tank…), the imminent relief of ceasing to run (without guilt!), the after-race beverages – whether water, electrolyte or brewed…  The celebratory connecting with friends and co-runners.

In contrast, the mid-part of any event tends to be considerably less intense.  Unless you suffer a cramp or collision, or make a wrong turn and have to find your way back to the course, it’s mostly steady-state pacing and self-control (and how many people find self-control exciting?  not a lot of hands shooting up there…).  No wonder so many distance runners strike up conversations with strangers, or plug-in to music, podcasts or talk radio (well, maybe not that last one, we want to spend our energy running, not raging).

What struck me this turkey day is that the start line time and energy of a 5K can be just as great as that of a marathon.  In fact, it’s actually more related the size of the field than the length of the course.  The Bolder Boulder is a 10K,  for example, but with a field of nearly 50,000 it boasts remote parking, city-wide shuttle buses and a plethora of waves and corrals, meaning one may leave the house three or more hours before toing the line – plenty of fantasy time for any of us feel like an athlete in the Olympic Village.

And the emotional weight of a finish is really determined by one’s strategy and approach.  Sure, if you start accelerating at mile 23 of a marathon, that’s 3 miles of buildup and anticipation: hopefully enough foreplay for a satisfying release after the line is crossed.  But heck, you can get the same duration in a 5K; just start anticipating the finish at .1 mile in – right after you’ve forced your pace down from that initial foolish start-sprint.

The point is, these precious moments are just as accessible and meaningful no matter the length of the event!  We can have as many minutes of juicy start and finish experience in a 5K as in an Ultra, if we just remember to focus and enjoy them.

Long, short or in between, every organized event is a chance to experience excitement, anticipation and release.  What’s not to love about that!

 

Running is Different –

Life is big, and life is complicated.

Running is simple: one foot in front of the other, as quickly as you like, for as long as you like.  Everything else is optional.

Adult human life is deeply entwined with others – whether job or family, neighbors or government, or just trying to establish a place for yourself in a crowded world of not-enough-of-everything – most humans spend an overwhelming proportion of their time trying to satisfy others.

Running – especially for us MPRs, who are not paid or sponsored or skulked by the press – is about satisfying yourself. 

In so many parts of life, you must invest years to get anywhere – to earn that diploma, work up that job ladder or write that symphony, to raise those kids from infants to adults, to reach that golden anniversary.

As an MPR you decide today to be a runner. You can stop being a runner tomorrow – and start again the next day, month, year, whenever.  A new start every day if you want it.

In many sports, you compete to get on the team, compete to play a certain position, and even then get rotated in and out depending on how well you or someone else perform – or just the lucky chances that do or do not come your way.

As an MPR, you choose to run.  You choose the distance, trails or road, event or solo, day or night, local or far away, tried-and-true or new-and-unknown.  You are in control.

In any kind of group pursuit, even if you don’t do well, the enterprise may succeed, and you may still benefit. When the group succeeds, you share the glory (or maybe not – if you or they do not feel you contributed as much as you’d have liked).  And when the group does not succeed, it’s pretty hard not to share the disappointment, even if you performed your very best.

As an MPR, success depends one hundred percent on you.  There’s no one else to steal the limelight, no one else to share the blame – but remember:

Success and achievement in most parts of our lives are measured against external yardsticks – standards met and requirements fulfilled.

As an MPR, all that matters are your own goals; your own ambitions or lack thereof, your own satisfaction. 

Running is Different – Running is Yours!

To Hydrate, or Not to Hydrate, That is the Question…

If you’re interested enough to read about running, you’ve surely encountered admonitions about hydration.  Performance starts to suffer, the articles tell us, as soon as one gets the slightest bit dehydrated, as evidenced by the first touch of dry mouth, or the passing thought ‘I’d like a sip of water.’

“You need to drink enough to replace all the water you sweat out,” is a common injunction, followed by complex instructions about weighing yourself before and after runs, then converting pounds and ounces to liters or ounces (but a different kind of ounces, the liquid ones…) in order to calculate just how much you need to drink for every mile, or every hour.

For those of us not inclined to that level of lab-work, ‘drink early drink often,’ seems to be the simple bottom line, so if you’re a good scout, you may find yourself purchasing any of a variety of hydration devices – bladder packs, trail vests, belts with holsters for water bottles (single, double or even more), and using them almost religiously.  Despite the fact that when you look around at events – the top finishers are nearly always water-naked, or at most, sport a single hand-held bottle.

And being an even better scout, you may have tried to go farther by hydrating before the run; downing a couple cups of coffee, (yes, caffeine can enhance performance, but coffee is also a desiccant – meaning it encourages your body to expel fluid – and a laxative, which can become problematic an hour or two later…) and topping off with Gatoraid during the drive-to, so you’re fully watered up at the start.

Hence the scene in one marathon: first patch of thinned-out woods the course passed, passels of the boys stepped aside to relive themselves, in full view of the rest of the field. Poor form dudes! Especially given that a good number of the ladies were no-doubt holding-on for dear life till a more discreet opportunity presented itself.

Regardless of gender and manners though, every minute watering the lawn or on line for a Porta-Jane is a minute not running, as was pointed out to me after one race when a sleek young runner, with whom I’d played leapfrog throughout the last half, suggested she never would have passed me that final time if I hadn’t kept stopping off at the porta-potties.

Being a slow-learner is better than not learning at all, and since that day I’ve tried limiting beverages in the hours before a big run to no more than a single cup of coffee, then starting moderate drinking (oops, that sounds wrong: I mean ‘moderate hydration’) a half-hour before the start and continuing to drink (OK, ‘consume’) small amounts regularly throughout.  So far, the relief stops are fewer and times correspondingly shorter, plus it’s just more comfortable not running on a full bladder.

“To hydrate, or not to hydrate?”  It’s all about the timing.

Who’s Faster – He’s or She’s?

A recent article* about the possibility of someone, someday, breaking two hours in the marathon, contained what seems a contradiction.  Despite citing several reasons women’s physiology might be better suited to endurance running (smaller bodies for better heat rejection, longer legs in proportion to total height and mass, slender calves that take less energy to swing, less upper-body muscle-mass to carry around, etc.), nearly all the discussion about breaking the record was focused on men.  Which scratched-up an old pet peeve: the tendency of casual conversation to assume that, because the men’s record in a distance is faster than the women’s, it means that “men are faster than women.”

Actually, all it really demonstrates, is that the very fastest men are faster than the very fastest women; but those are the exceptional individuals, and ‘exceptional’ means just that – the ones for whom the rules do not apply.  For ordinary folks like us MPRs, the rules do apply, and in this case the operative rule is: the range of variation among either group (men, women) is greater than the difference between their extremes.  Or, put the way humans really speak, “some women are faster than damned near every man.  (How many men could equal Paula Radcliffe’s world record marathon time of 2:15:25?  Or Tirunesh Dibaba’s 14:11:15 in the 5K?)

If you’re a male MPR, you can count on plenty of female runners disappearing into the distance ahead of you.  Just as, if you’re a female MPR, you can reliably anticipate finishing ahead of some men.

For this dog, in fact, that’s one of the joys of the sport.  None of your old ‘boys on this side, girls on that side,’ gym class segregation; we’re all in the run together.  Androgen-fueled-aggressiveness has nothing on estrogen-paced-persistence, and vice-a-the-verse-a.  Lining up for a start in the Middle of the Pack, the gender of the runner off your shoulder tells nothing about where they will be by the end.  Any more than it tells who will be the one shouting ‘way to go,’ as they get passed, or ‘you’re kickin’ it’ when another runner seems to be flagging.

(Speaking of gender neutrality benefits: ain’t it grand that running is one of the few public activities where men wear Lycra and women sweat profusely – and sometimes even spit – and hardly anyone takes note!)

A runner struggled to the top of a Himalayan peak (on a rest-day, of course), to ask the fabled hermit a burning question.  “Who’s faster, oh Wise and All seeing One, men, or women?”

After many hours of meditation (during which the runner kept busy with gentle stretches and mental calculations of how much faster the run down might be than the hike up) the ancient gray-hair replied.

“Yes,” was all she answered.

What Will It Take To Run A 2-Hour Marathon?, Alex Hutchinson, Runner’s World, November 2014

The Measure of a Run

In 2014, Meb Keflezighi won the Boston Marathon, the first American man to do so in 31 years.  Millions watched intently, thrilled and awed by his victory. His winning time? in 2:08:37.

In 2011, Ryan Hall ran the same course in 2:04:58, the fastest marathon ever run by an American, anywhere.  But Ryan Hall didn’t win; he didn’t even get to stand on the podium, because three men ran even faster that year. So his run, nearly four minutes faster than Meb’s, didn’t bring anything like the acclaim – or rewards – of that performance.

Is beating every other runner who shows up for a particular event on a particular day the best measure of a runner’s performance – or is hitting a particular time the more absolute and lasting achievement?

On one hand, winning seems dubious when the time required to do so can vary so much from year to year…

On the other, there was reportedly a tailwind in 2011, which may have boosted the entire field’s times – though how much that affected them is undetermined; and undeterminable. Swinging the pendulum in the opposite direction, 2015’s winning time was 2:09:17, widely thought to be attributable, at least in part, to headwinds; but again, how much so is impossible to determine.  Consider that Robert Kiprono Cherulyot had won – and set a new course record – in 2010, but if his 2:05:52 had occurred one year later, it would only have been good for – fifth!

Clearly, actual time isn’t the absolute objective criterion it seems to be, either.

And is an individual’s performance really due solely to their efforts, or do drafting, switching leads and the emotions of the chase contribute – how much did the pacing of others play into those astounding 2011 times?   Speaking of intangibles, seven of the 2014 men’s field had previously run a 2:05:30 or better somewhere.  How readily do we conclude that it was only Meb’s personal commitment to making a statement after the tragedy of 2013 which set him at the head of such a phenomenal group – or were their efforts moderated, as some have claimed, by Hall himself, lulling them into a relaxed pace until Keflezghi had opened a gap which was to prove unbridgeable? (Apparently the same factors that can skew finishing time can affect placement as well – and make my brain start to hurt…)

When confusion reigns supreme, seek refuge in the simple: and one simply indisputable truth – especially for an MPR – is that both Meb’s and Ryan’s performances are spectacular, inspiring, and borderline incredible.  When your own marathon times hover around 4 hrs. (or five, or…), it is almost beyond belief that someone out there can do it in just over two – and those who can do so seem so superhuman, it makes little sense to differentiate between one or the other.

Another thing we can be sure of, is that neither of these runners –  among the very best in the world – really knows before a given event what they will achieve.  They may run a new PR and win – or run an even greater PR, and not win. Someone else may not run their fastest race – and still win. Or not.  All they or any of us can really count on is the satisfaction that comes from knowing you did your best; for that day, for those conditions, for all the factors that play into what seems like the simplest of sports (run from here to there, as fast as you can) but is in reality, fraught with complexities.

Doing your best is the most reliable measure of achievement, whether you’re an MPR or an elite champion: another way in which there’s not as much difference between us as one might first suppose!

 

(By the way, why is the US running conversation so focused on ‘American’ runners.  Lelisa Desisa won the event in 2013 and 2015;, where were the magazine covers, cable TV profiles, and full-page sponsor-ads for him?  Or for Geoffrey Mutai, leader of that blistering pack in 2011, with a 2:03:02 that still stands today as the course record? And we cannot go without mentioning Dennis Kimetto, whose 2:02:57 in Berlin 2014 is the fastest marathon to date; anywhere, in any field.

And why is this post only about the men?

More to come.)

Run-up to Boston – Part 7 – Turning On To Boylston

Hypothesis: for an MPR, running Boston is not about the finishing-time, but the experience, and when one takes that view, perhaps the ultimate moment is not crossing the big yellow line (yes, it really is big enough to see on Google Earth); the real climax is when you round the corner from Hereford St. onto Boylston and see that last .2 (it’s actually .36, but who’s counting?) stretching out, straight and simple and piece-of-cake, lined with roaring humanity, to the banners and bridge that will mean it’s over; and realize you wish this run could last forever.

775770_1384_0028

And so:

To the 27,000 who came from around the country and around the world to run…

( you saw them sprinkled around airports, train stations and highway rest stops across the country Friday, Saturday and Sunday, proudly displaying runner-shirts or jackets from years past, a pop-up community coalescing more and more, the closer each one came to the epicenter of its strange ambition…)

To the family and friends who humor and support them in their obsession…

To the organizers (the Boston Athletic Association, and its many generous sponsors), who put this enormous celebration together so seamlessly and well…

To the police, military, EMTs, firefighters and nobody-but-them-knows-who-all, who did so much to keep all of us safe, with as little visibility or inconvenience as they possibly could,

To the photographers, who captured moments and memories of what can otherwise seem an ephemeral experience…

To the volunteers, smiling with astonishing good cheer through –

  • Seemingly-endless lines of registrants to be checked-in, bags and shirts to be handed-out
  • Ushering dazed and hapless crowds around the expo
  • Dishing out tons of pre-race past in the bowels of City Hall
  • Preparing a safe and un-miss-able course from rural woodlands to city center
  • Accepting drop bags and shepherding thousands of manic, jittery would-be-racehorses onto busses in the early morning hours
  • Handing out coffee, water and smiles under drizzly tents in the runner’s village (even when we couldn’t figure out which side of the tables was for servers, and which for servees…)
  • Dispensing hydration, energy, first aid and encouragement every mile along the route
  • Draping medals over sweaty necks, thermal ponchos over about-to-become-hypothermic shoulders and handing out still more hydration, calories, first aid and encouragement after the line
  • The after-party – which many of us (like this one…) were too full of the experience by then to attend, so we’ll never know what it was like…

And did it all with patience and courtesy and heart-warming generosity…

And most of all, to the crowd, who came out in droves – despite the rain, wind and cold – to once again cheer a bunch of self-absorbed migrant-strangers as we exercised this odd compulsion, disrupting lives and clogging the streets of their cities and towns for hours on end, and made us feel completely and utterly welcome…

To anyone I’ve overlooked (as I’m sure I have, someone)…

There is only one thing to say:

Boylston Corner Tight Crop

 

Run-Hungry!

No, this is not about running when you’re hungry, it’s about when you’re hungry to run. That feeling you get when you:

– almost made a goal, but not quite, and can’t wait to take another shot at it.

– have spent weeks recovering from an injury and are aching to take the hobbles off, and run the way you did right before it started to hurt.

– just surprised yourself – with a time, a distance, a moment of runner’s high – and want to see where it will lead

– had a disappointing run, but you’ve got an idea what might help improve the next one (or build to better runs sometime down the road)

– had a good run, but the next one isn’t scheduled for two days (your next workout) or two weeks (your next event) or two months (your next BIG event).

– invited a friend to join you on a workout or familiar event, and can’t wait to share it with her

– signed up for something new and different (and maybe a bit scary)

– gave yourself a day (or two) off from training, and woke up more stiff and sore than when you exercise every day…

– just got a new (whatever) and can’t wait to try it/wear it/show it off, or simply find out if the damned thing really works…

– haven’t run at all fast or well, but can still feel how making the effort boosts your energy for everything else you do, how knowing that you did run can lift your spirits and confidence all day, and how much more likely you are to get a good night’s sleep thanks to the healthy fatigue of real whole-body exercise

It’s anything that reminds you that your next run can be great regardless of where you or anyone else finish, because you have your own goals, your own reasons for running and your own yardstick to measure what you’ve done.

Feeling Run-Hungryone more reason to love being an MPR!

You Need Not Finish First, To Be a Winner!

Having just experienced a particularly hard and slow run, I’m prompted to recall one of the great joys of Mid-Pack Running: everyone can be a winner, if they just choose to be.

 

  • A good-for-you finishing time is a win, regardless what that time would mean for any other runner.

 

  • A new and longer distance – even if your pace is slow, or you end up staggering, stiff and sore – is a victory!

 

  • A new and shorter distance can be a victory; a chance to unleash your inner-sprinter and see how a new pace feels.

 

  • Every new (to you) event is another unique memory added to your life’s experience – another notch on your bow.

 

  • A new route you run in training is discovering a piece of this world from a perspective different than walking, driving or riding can ever afford. Score!

 

  • That familiar run you’ve done before is a great opportunity to coach the first-timer on the shuttle seat beside you – feel like the wise old pro for a few minutes, and do some good as well!

 

  • Any run is an opportunity to make a connection with other runners – it’s a huge world out there and we all feel lost and insignificant at times, but if you run, you’re a member of the running community, regardless of division, place or pace.

 

  • Did you run according to the plan you made in the weeks before – you’re a winner!

 

  • Did you push on thru – despite your plan falling apart – you’re strong and resilient and maybe learned a thing or two. Score.

 

  • Was there one moment when it all seemed to come together, one glimpse of fluid motion where your body knew what to do better than your conscious mind – remember that feeling and seek the path to feeling it again.

 

  • Perhaps one mile-marker came up sooner than you thought it would – or you completely missed noting one because things were going so well that making the next mile no longer seemed like life or death – all that conditioning worked!

 

  • Maybe nothing particularly good happened today, but you completed what you set out to do without injury or worrisome little suggestions that some body part was about to go spring? Congratulations – with all that life can throw at a person, any day we can run is a good day!

 

  • Everything went wrong but you mustered a last tiny something to finish strong – in my book, that’s a triumph…

 

  • “Well actually, I barely dragged my sorry butt across the line….” You finished despite everything – that’s a triumph! Make yourself the hero in your own inner-movie.

 

  • Just couldn’t summon up the gumph to finish? Remember how far you did go – and know that’s farther than the majority of the populace will ever do! (Could be time to start dreaming about the next run: recharge, recalibrate, and bring in some other resources to help you train so you can do better – finishing next time will be all the sweeter for having had this experience.)

 

  • Injured? Every runner has their injury story, and this is yours now. Remember that the ending is what makes a story – treat yourself wisely, recover well and if you can come back another day, what a tale you’ll have to share – and maybe offer it up to help someone else when they are down and out!

 

  • Really can’t find anything worthwhile on your side of the run? Try giving back to the spectators and volunteers – this is always important to remember, but especially if things are not going well: the best way to get a shout of encouragement is to holler “Thank you volunteers!” as you stumble past their stations. Just might lift your mood a little, and the body is connected to the mind….

 

  • For that matter, a lot of running events raise funds for charities – so even if all else fails, your participation helped a good cause.

 

  • If nothing else, you spent some time in the fresh air, among enthusiastic energetic people, and not on the couch – in today’s privileged western world, that is a blessing and an achievement right there!

 

  • Tired and exhausted after a big run? Compared to the weariness of stress and workaday demands, just feeling truly physically-tired is a rarity and a victory all of itself. Maybe you’ll sleep a little better tonight

 

Mid-Pack Running is what you make of it; victory is ours to define – every day, every mile – and if you ask me, EVERY RUNNER IS A WINNER, EVERY TIME!