Half-Marathon Training: Lessons from the Heat

Another week.  Another 26 miles on the running shoes.  That was my weekly total last week.  It’s crazy to think that less than a year ago, I ran that many miles in a few hours!

Anywho, training went well last week.  I had some time off from work so I was able to make every group run during the week, including our tempo run on Thursday night.  I ran at the top of our tempo pace, and it felt great!  I, seriously, couldn’t stop smiling I felt so good!017So going into our 10 mile run on Saturday, I felt optimistic.  I had done well with 9 miles last week.  Weekly runs had felt good.

But 3 miles into our run, we stopped for water, and I knew I wasn’t going to make it, at least not at our current pace.  I paced myself slower than the rest of the group like last week, but I was still struggling.  My legs felt heavy, and I couldn’t get my breathing under control.  Usually by 3 miles in, I’ve got my breathing where it needs to be and my legs are starting to wake up.  This time, though…it wasn’t happening.

The pace group just below mine came in for water, so I joined them for the rest of the run.  The pace was at least 30 seconds a mile slower, and yet, I still struggled.  I felt like I had never run before.  Like ever.  It was horrible.

And it was horribly humid.  I had on a loose-fitting shirt, but even though it was moisture wicking, that thing got totally water-logged from sweat and slapped against my body like a wet towel.  My legs were like lead, and one hill lead to another and another…

And on we ran.  Would we never reach 10 miles?  I continually fought the urge to walk, willing myself to just put one foot in front of the other.  Angela, a fellow runner I’m getting to know, must have seen what a hard time I was having.  She came up beside me and just started chatting.  I didn’t say much,  mostly just listened, but having her there got me through to the end, and finally that terrible, no good, really bad 10 mile run was about to become a bad memory.

But as hard as that run was, looking back (because, you know, perspective is everything), I learned some things in those steamy, hilly, miserable 10 miles.

  1.  Long runs don’t start the morning of the run.  Long runs are a product of what we do all week.  Let nutrition and hydration lapse, and it will affect your long run.  Looking back, I had not eaten as healthily as usual or drank my usual amount of water in the days leading up to our long run.  Given the 1000 percent humidity on Saturday, that most definitely played a part in my struggle.
  2. I can do hard things.  If there’s a lesson I learned (or learned again) it was that I can do hard things.  I may not want to do hard things, but I can.  It’s sometimes mind over matter, as in the case Saturday, when I knew I had the physical ability to run 10 miles at our pace.  It was just a matter of pushing through the discomfort from the heat, humidity, and hills.  A word to the wise here, though.  There’s NO shame in cutting a run short if you’re feeling bad physically.  Know and listen to your body.  If you’re dizzy, light headed, nauseated, in real pain, or feeling any other symptom that you are concerned about, just stop.  It’s okay to stop and probably dangerous to your health to keep going.
  3. People make doing hard things bearable.  At the end of our run, I learned that nearly everyone in the training program had a tough run that day.  In fact, a record 25 people had to be picked up by the sag wagon.  I’m telling you, that humidity was horrible.  Seriously, I’m not sure I would have found the strength to keep going had it not been for Angela.  That’s what running with a group is all about for me.  It’s all of us, sharing an experience, and cheering each other on.  Next time, I hope I can be the cheerleader instead of the one needing to be carried.

So what obstacles stand in your way to reaching your health goals?  Take my lessons from a hot, miserable run and learn from them.  You want to lose weight?  It doesn’t happen in a day.  It happens from the choices we make over time.  Making a lifestyle change is hard, but trust me.  You can do hard things!  You can!  But those hard things don’t seem as bad when you’ve got people around you supporting you and cheering for you.  So who are those people in your life?  Let them know the goal you’re working towards and walk on their encouragement.  We’ve got this!!!

Talk to me:

What’s the weather like where you live?

What’s your health goal for the week?  Tell me and let me be your cheerleader!  (Pretty please?)

 

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Author: Juanita

Thanks for dropping in! I'm Juanita. People tell me I don't look like a Juanita since I'm red headed and freckled with super pale skin, but what's in a name, right? I'm a 40-something, single (as in no kids, never been married) gal from Oklahoma. I'm a nurse and most importantly, a follower of Jesus. I love chocolate, am scared of heights, and petrified of snakes. After my fortieth birthday and coming to grips with the fact that I was obese, I discovered I'm a runner and a CrossFitter, and that there's a whole lot of life left to live. I just had to get past the fat, stare down the fear, and realize that 40 is not too old for new beginnings. So this is the story of my struggles and adventures in the quest to live a healthy life in mind, body, and soul.

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