You know that feeling. You start a run and your legs are feeling heavy and sluggish. Part of you wants to turn around and head back home, try again another day. But you plod along waiting for it to get better. Maybe it’s because you did a hard effort run or a longer run. Maybe you didn’t get enough sleep the night before. Many times there is no reason at all.
As you run, your thoughts begin to shift. Your footsteps become subconscious, your mind free to wander. Maybe you’re reflecting on what you did that day, thinking of what you need to do tomorrow, or just enjoying the scenery and listening to the comforting sounds of your breath as your footsteps on the pavement. The soft sound and rhythmic sound of shoes against the road. Lost in your own thoughts, the next thing you know you weren’t even thinking about the effort of running. Somewhere along the way, the oxygen started to flow. Endorphins kicked in and running became more fluid, more effortless, and less of a chore. You feel connected to the road and the landscape all around you. Connected in a way that your mind did not allow when it was hard and uncomfortable just 10 minutes ago.
That first mile is always a liar. It is never a good indicator of the run to come. At least not for me. My best miles are almost always miles 3 to 10, depending on where I am at the time in my training.
Before I ran true distance I never understood the phrase “runner’s high”. Running 1-3 miles was hard work. All the time. It got easier but it never felt effortless. That indescribable feeling is what keeps me going. It is a powerful ego-booster. It is my therapy.
Step out of your comfort zone. Push past your perceived limits and discover what’s waiting for you on the other side.