Saturday, September 21, 2013
Signal vs. Noise and Why It's Okay to Sometimes Run in Circles
It finally happened-a Saturday morning with some totally soaked and saturated earth. For us soft-surface seekers, this can pose a bit of a challenge (in the dark, especially) for 'long run' day. After a day of nothing but hard rain, I knew I had to change my plans if I wanted to run safely.
Note: I know many of you are thinking "just run through the mud", but I wanted to get more out of today than just a slog. Please hold your judgments of my seeming wussiness until the end as I give a quick recap of this morning's 'long run' session. :)
As of the past couple weekends, I've been nearing/hitting double-digits and the official "long run" time frame of 80 mins. Whenever this happens, it always does my confidence good-for obvious reasons as I enjoy the rhythm and challenge of taxing the aerobic system.
I have become quite fond of my 1.5 mile loop at the Flintridge Nature trail. It's not long, it's not technical, but I always seem to really feel good and at easy on the sandy dirt pathways. No matter how many loops I do, I don't ever seem to burn out on it. So I was planning on putting in 6 to 6 and a half laps and calling it good before cleaning up for my clinic on mental skills and running, which was held right down the street. While the clinic seemed to go smoothly-I tried some new material and really liked it-I had to scramble a bit on where to a quality 9-10ish in.
The best option I could think of: The High School track down the road. Yes, I did a LR mostly on a 400m track, alone while the others ran the prescribed routes; with only a diversion every two miles where I switched directions and ran across an embankment above a lacrosse field (how I managed the distance and broke the effort up). All in the name of preserving the legs-and my brand new Brooks Ravenna 4's!
Believe it or not and call me crazy, it wasn't all that bad. I even did it without music, meaning I had a fair amount of time to think, and this became one of my "creative time" runs. I went through my upcoming talk at the local running shop, pre-planned some team workshops for this week and fought off continually having Lady Gaga's 'Applause' running though my head-um, an Mp3 player would have been nice, but whatever...
"I live for the applause, applause, applause...."
Speaking of fighting off things that run through our head, one takeaway from this exercise in patience and later discussed at the seminar was the importance of filtering out the 'signal' from the 'noise' in your head on the run. This can be an overly-catchy pop song, negative thinking, or ruminating over being tired or if something that is sore. I always find focusing on one aspect of my stride, relaxing, and staying present, often with just one or two-word cues (ex. on an incline "eyes down, shorter steps") makes the run go smoother and keeps you focused on things more productive.
While I was not necessarily entertained with this morning, getting in a LR can come in multiple forms. It just may make you more patient, tougher, and more creative! I don't recommend however, doing this every time:)
Anyone else ever do a long run full of short ones?
Thanks to Volte, TNT, and everyone else who came out to "A Winning Mindset".
Stay the course.