Runner. Instagrammer. Blogger Extraordinaire. Amazing Parent. Stud. Kind. Funny. Entertaining. Friend. Wise Ass. All of the above describe me... wait what? That doesn't make sense.
Oh nope. Read my notes wrong. All those great qualities describe the one and only Brian (aka Pavement Runner).
Side Note: do you know it took me a long time into our online friendship to learn Pavey's real name was NOT in fact Pavement Runner. Can you believe that? I thought it was on his birth certificate. ;)
But my dear Pavey is a huge inspiration to me in life, running and in blogging. I'm sure he regrets giving me his cell # after the resulting odd questions and texts I inundate him with.
I was lucky enough to meet Brian live and in person at a little tweetup/meetup I organized before the Rock 'n' Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon back in October ... and it was magic.
During one of the many text/Twitter DM convos, I inquired if Pavey would be up for penning a guest post for my little slice of the internet. He is wildly busy so I was nervous to ask. Think of it as writing that first note to your crush and asking "Do you like me like me? Check yes or no." Scary right? I get that way when speaking with my Blogging Idols.
And in true Pavey fashion he ignored me. :P
NOT! He graciously accepted.
But what did I have in mind? I needed him to impart his wisdom. The dude is a running rockstar and I needed to hear about his mojo, especially during the long training season for a marathon. So I asked him:
How do you keep the love, happiness and spark going
during the grueling training session?
And the post was born...
I'm going to jump right into it. Training is hard. There is no sugar coating the amount of time that is invested into getting ready to run a marathon. You pretty much have to invest one day per week dedicated to a long run, factor in a recovery day and most likely 2-3 runs during the week and you've accounted for 5 of the 7 days. Add into the equation that your training calendar can range from 3-6 months and you're looking at some serious time commitment.
I run throughout the year, often racing frequently. At times, it can feel like a full-time job on top of my existing full-time job. But if it is something you love, then you usually find ways to incorporate it into your daily life. There are, of course, sacrifices that have to be made. For me, it sometimes means missing breakfast on Saturday morning with the family. The other option is getting up at 4 am to get in my run and be home in time for breakfast. I do both. Either way there has to be some give. It's just finding the proper balance of which will work on a given day.
But here are some ways to make the training season a little more fun, and less like a job.
Make it a party. Not everyone can join you for a 20 mile run... unless of course you are in the Bay Area because then you could just shoot me a message. But if you have a long run planned, try to see if friends can join you. If you have a friend that can run 5-10 miles with you, invite them for a run. It's always best to have them join you at the end of the run so that you can count on their upbeat energy when you begin to feel tired. I'll often ask friends to meet me at a central location several hours after I've started. For example if you had a 20 mile run planned, start at a local coffee shop or running store and do a 5 mile out-and-back before your friend arrives, then run the last 10 together. The more the merrier is true here as well. If you can get 2-3 friends to join you, open up the invite. It can also be a shorter distance, if your friends can run 5 miles, run 12 before... a good way to recruit people is to offer breakfast afterwards. "My treat" is usually key in that sentence. Trust me, knowing you have friends joining you can motivate you to get through some tough miles.
This is actually how I get a lot of my longer runs done. I run with a group of friends that normally run between 7-12 miles and it is not uncommon for me to run for an hour before we plan to meet. When you break it up like that, it feels less like a 20 mile run and more like a 12 mile run, then an easy 8 miler you get to do with friends. It's funny how that second part of the run with company feels like you are fresh and starting over. Try it.
Bonus tip: change your shirt before your second run. Swing by the car real quick and put on a clean shirt. If you started in a long sleeve, switch to a short or a tank. It'll make you feel refreshed and your friends will be appreciative that you don't COMPLETELY stink like you just came from a run... even though you did.
Run a local race This one is something I also use quite often. It can be a little bit of an investment, but it can help add some excitement during the training season. Use shorter distance races to help you train. If you are incorporating speed work during your training, doing a 5k or 10k can help. Be sure to check your local running store around a holiday for a 5k or 10k race, they are usually smaller and hopefully less expensive.The same can be true for a half marathon. Although they are usually a bit more expensive, they can be great at teaching you to maintain your goal pace. If this is your first marathon, it can also give you a preview of what to expect on race day. From portapottys to water stops to pace groups. It can help remove some of the nerves from the unexpected.
Bonus for experienced runners: you can use a half marathon as part of a longer run. This one is tricky, but if you time it right you could run some miles before the half marathon. I've run 6-7 miles before a half to get my 20 miles in for a day. The only variable is how much down time you might have before the race starts. You'll want to keep it under 15 minutes as you won't want to tighten up before the half starts. Be very aware of your pace.
Make it social... on social. If you have a long run coming up and you are looking to pass the time, share your run on social media as it's happening. Create a hashtag, something like #Saturday20forfun. Take a picture of your feet at the start with the hash, then send out an update whenever you see something interesting. This works best with photos, but it could be a simple status update. Be sure to include the hash on each post so that if someone sees it 5 photos in, they can click on the hash and see where you have been... literally. Don't go crazy with the updates, you DO have to get in your miles. A good starting point would be a photo every 3-4 miles, and of course a selfie before and after.
And now comes the tough part: There are going to be bad runs and days when you don't even want to start. But give the run a chance. Even if you don't feel like running, you have to give it a chance. Put on your shoes, throw on some gear and head out the door. Commit to running X miles or X minutes and reevaluate at that point. You might feel AMAZING and ready to take over the world. If it's not your day, then it's just not your day. We have to remember that at some point or another we fell in love with running and that is why we keep doing it. If you ever find yourself in doubt, send me a message on social or hit up Dani and we'll talk you off the ledge... chances are, we can offer some ways to mix it up or probably know someone in your area that will run some miles with you.
Gotta love this running community!