After running my farthest distance yet just the other day (6.25 miles), I’ve had plenty of opportunity to think about one’s own ideas about distance.
This last spring when I first started to increase my endurance and strength, I did so after my nephew suggested I start using the program described in Body for Life–one thing in particular: the running for 20 minutes routine, every third day. What was revolutionary for me: alternating weight training and running made the days I ran even more important. And shooting for a really good 20 minute run, with hills and flats, increased my own expectations of what I could do–I loved it.
Pretty soon, however, 20 mins wasn’t enough. Just about the time I pushed the time up to 25 minutes, I decided to try my first 5K. The deal was, I switched from time to distance, but time running was always the necessary foundation and now, when I’ve pushed myself too hard and I feel on the edge of perhaps injuring myself, I switch back to time.
Distance feels better than time, for some reason. Saying I ran 3.5 miles just seems like more of an accomplishment than saying I ran 32 minutes.
But knowing–and using the knowledge–that I can and should modulate between the two sometimes is a great thing to learn. The other day, after running 6.25 miles, I was sore and tired. The next day, my chronically sore heels were whimpering for some TLC. Even though I was sort of excited by the thought of another big run, it was time to ease back–way back. And build up again. I ran for 25 minutes, an easy jog thru the park, and felt great–light on my feet and happy.
It’s important to pay close attention to this body that ain’t no spring chick anymore. Working with it will help it to go the distance.