July 1, 2014

The joy of the three-miler

I think I have found the joy of running. It was in a three-miler all this time! ;) After all the miles I've been running for about a year now, very few of my runs have been less than 4-5 miles at a time. After the Heartbreak Hill Half & Festival, I've done several three-mile runs, and I'm starting to remember why I got hooked on it.

I remember when I first started running, and three miles seemed IMPOSSIBLE. I couldn't even run down my street, so the thought of running three, or even ONE mile was a foreign to me as climbing Mt. Everest. But over time, I obviously continued to add mileage and I started seeing three-milers as "just" three miles.

"Oh, good, I only have three miles on the schedule today!", as if it was a rest day.

Eventually, I was fast enough that I could do the three miles in less than 30 minutes. And because I'd always heard that you should do 30 minutes of intentional exercise each day, I decided to do 4 mile runs, to hit that 30+ minute mark. I started to have the attitude that a three-miler wasn't really worth my time, because it takes me that long to get ready to run (okay, that may be an exaggeration).

I was just looking at my training log, and from June 19 through October 21, 2013, I only had ONE run that was less than 4 miles. I got so used to running 4+ miles for marathon training that a 3-miler didn't even cross my mind anymore.

After the Heartbreak Hill Half training, I was feeling burnt out and tired of running so many miles, so I did some three-mile runs. And it felt great! At first, I felt kind of guilty that I was "only" doing three miles, but I'm totally over that now. I am feeling excited about running again, which is what I was hoping to accomplish. I don't have any races on my schedule until the end of October, so I have several months of just running how I feel like running--and that will include lots of three-milers!

It's been ridiculously humid for the past week or so, but because it's "only" three miles, I don't dread going out and running in it. Yesterday, I was drenched in sweat, and fish flies were sticking to me, and a bird even pooped on my arm--but I still felt happy to be out there. And today, I did another three-miler... in 100% humidity. Yep, when I headed out this morning, I checked the weather, and the humidity was at 100%. I could certainly feel it when I stepped outside, too! But I knew I'd be done in 30 minutes (give or take), so I just started running.

I have no idea why, but my entire street is covered in dead baby frogs. They're really tiny, and just look like splotches on the road until you get up close, and then you can see that it was a frog. I think they've all been run over by cars, which is odd because our street doesn't get much traffic. Anyway, I just thought it was so weird to see all the frogs--poor little guys!

I carried my phone with me, and took all sorts of photos while I was running. It helped me to not think about the humidity for a little bit. I did stop a mile and a half in to take a picture of the lake, though.

At one point, I thought I was taking a mid-run selfie, but when I got home, I realized that the camera was pointing the opposite direction. I ended up getting a pretty cool picture of the sunrise!

I was surprised to see that my pace wasn't too bad, either. Because of the humidity, I expected to see my pace in the mid-10:00 range, but I finished the run with negative splits and a 9:11/mi average pace. I'm very happy with that!

It ended up being a little over three miles today, because I changed my route a mile in so I could run by the lake. But that's another thing I like about not having a schedule--I don't have to do a 3-mile or 4-mile run, I can do a 3.39 mile run, and not feel like it's odd ;)

I didn't intend to turn this in a post about three-mile runs, but I guess that's what came out when I started typing. If you're feeling burnt out from higher mileage, I suggest changing it up--do some three-milers!


  1. I can't wait till I get to this point in running! I had the same "oh awesome, only 3 miles today!" mindset during my half marathon training, but I haven't run more than 4 or 5 miles since my half! Gotta get back on it!

  2. Amazing. Whether you run 3 miles or 13 your dedication rocks. I just started running again and a mile is so hard! I find it impossible to believe I once ran a half marathon. Thank you for your constant inspiration.

  3. I did the exact same thing when I "just" ran 5 miles, It's funny how a few mints ago that was a scary long distance. But I must be weird because I have to end my runs with either a 0 or a 5, that .39 would have me running in circles around the mailbox!

  4. Runner's World had an article a couple months ago pushing runners to do more 5Ks - it could have been written for you! The points that I appreciated: you can run 5K without being totally exhausted for the rest of the day. You can walk normally afterward, too! Of course, they don't earn so much for dessert... I'm training for my second half-marathon, so 3 miles isn't usually in the books for me at the moment. Some of my speed interval runs are 3 - 4 miles, but they stink for their own reasons.

  5. Beautiful lake and happy you are enjoying the shorter runs. I have a half planned for late November so I am just playing at running now. I've only been doing a thirty minute run twice weekly then a long run once a week. I am slow so my thirty one minute run today was only 2.58 miles, but it felt great!

  6. I have a newbie runner question -- how long does it take you to "get used to" 3 mile runs when you've started from nothing? I started about 3-4 months ago, and I'm just about at 3 miles. It's SOOOO hard, though. I can't even imagine thinking that's an easy workout!

    1. I'm really not sure how long it took me. Once you regularly start running much farther than that, like for half-marathon training, the three-miler becomes your "easy" day. It probably took me about a year to really see a three-miler that way.

  7. The Heartbreak Hill weekend was when I did my 2nd 10K (did my 3rd on July 4). I realized that I enjoy runs up to 5 miles, and that 5Ks are best for me. However, I am in the middle of training for my first half so I have to keep going. I just want to be able to accomplish that once and say I did it :)


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