I found myself feeling kind of stressed out this morning about getting in a long run. Now that the kids are out of school, I can't just go run whenever I feel like it. As I was thinking about it, though, I realized that stressing out was completely counterproductive to what I was hoping to work on this summer. I wanted stress-free running! That's why I cut way back on my mileage.
So, I'm going to try something I've never really done before. I'm going to toss my running schedule out the window, and just run when/where/how long I feel like. The only "rule" I have is that I must get in at least 3 runs per week, 3+ miles each time. That's been a rule of mine since I started running four years ago. I will most likely run 4-5 days a week, but the minimum is 3.
I don't want to stress out about trying to get in a long run on Fridays, or any run at all if it's ridiculously hot and humid. So if I have a good opportunity to go for a 10-mile run on a nice, cool Tuesday, then I'll go for it. And if my friends are running on Saturday, and it works out I can go, I'd love to do that. I've always followed a schedule, so I have no idea how well this will work, but because I'm not actively training for a particular race right now, it's the perfect time to give it a try!
Noah was at a friend's house this morning, so I was home with Eli. I had oatmeal for the first time in a while for breakfast, and I tried a combo I'd never tried before: oatmeal topped with caramel, chocolate chips, and pecans. I can't believe I never thought to do that before! I've done the caramel, chocolate chips and peanut butter, or caramel, chocolate chips and coconut; but never the pecans. It was really good--tasted like a turtle chocolate!
I used 33 grams of oats (which I cooked in water), 17 grams of caramel dip, 10 grams of mini chocolate chips, and 7 grams of pecans--which made the whole thing a total of 6 PointsPlus.
Eli went to my mom's house for a little while in the late morning, so I decided to go to the State Park for a long run. I decided to do 6 miles at a 9:1 run/walk ratio (run 0.9 miles, walk 0.1 miles, repeat). I really enjoy doing the 9:1 thing for my long runs. Since I was going to be taking a walk break each mile, I figured I might as well try and hit a decent pace during the running portions. I was hoping for sub-9:00 pace, but wasn't sure how I'd feel once I was actually running.
I had to start at a different part of the park, because the usual lot was closed, so that actually made the run a little more interesting. I didn't know where the mile markers were without looking at my watch, and it was kind of nice not knowing. As soon as I pulled into the park, it started to rain very lightly. I hoped the sprinkling would keep up through the run--running with light rain is the best!
I was able to hold a sub-9:00 pace for the first interval, so I made that my goal for the rest of the run. Run at a sub-9:00 pace for 0.9 miles, then walk for 0.1. Doing the 9:1 ratio sounds like it would be a lot easier than it actually is--this was a tough run! But mentally, it worked out well, because if I had been trying to hold a sub-9:00 pace for 6 miles this morning, it just wouldn't have happened. Physically, I'm sure I could do it if I really tried, but mentally, the desire just wasn't there. When I do the 9:1 intervals, I only have to hold pace for 0.9 miles, which doesn't seem far at all. It's much nicer to focus on a short segment at a time, rather than the whole distance at once.
I even managed to take a decent mid-run selfie (during my run portion, not my walk portion) ;)
It continued to drizzle rain the entire run, which felt great. The last mile had a couple of hills (not steep, but more than the 1 foot of elevation gain I had yesterday!), so I just made it a mission to run a little harder. And somehow, I managed negative splits for my running segments!
I think that most surprising to me is that my overall pace was 9:28, which included the walking segments. When I'm actually out there walking them, I always feel like it's going to drag my pace down. I think that if I had run the whole 6 miles today, my pace probably would have been pretty close to 9:30, so it didn't really affect my average pace at all. Doing it this way was actually harder than running the whole thing, because I pushed my pace while running.
It was a nice run today, and left me wanting more... which is definitely a good thing!