Runs We Love to Hate and Hate to Love
By: Brad Deel
One of the things I have learned from talking to other runners is that we are all different when it comes to the runs we love and the runs we hate. Some of us (like me) relish track work. When I look at my training schedule and know I'm heading to the track for a set of 6 x 1,000 VO2max intervals or something like 12 x 400 speed repetitions, I nearly salivate with anticipation. I can taste the speed and I'm ready to embrace the pain. Love it. That's in complete contrast to a long run. I see Sunday approaching on the calendar and view it with contempt usually reserved for unsavory criminals. I'm very much aware that many runners feel exactly the opposite. Those are my feelings in anticipation of the workouts. Once I'm actually doing them, something very different happens.
While I'm doing intervals, I am constantly having to talk myself into doing the next one. Even on the first one, my mind is telling me that my legs are stiff or the wind is blowing too hard or it's too hot or I didn't get enough sleep or I can't get my pace wired in, or blah, blah, blah. I have to force myself to do the next one and the next one and the next one. I do it but I hate it. The long runs couldn't be more different. Once I get started on a long run, I relax. I don't focus on pace. I just relax and run. I don't use headphones so I spend all of that time wandering around inside my head. (I admit it's a scary place). My guilty confession is that, rather than solving the world's problems, I frequently spend a lot of that time thinking about running. I really enjoy the opportunity to do what our busy lives all too often prevent us from doing which is to spend time just thinking.
The irony then is that I love speed work when I'm contemplating it but hate it once it starts while I hate the thought of an upcoming long run but love it once I'm three or four miles down the road. If you think that doesn't make a bit of sense, well, I'd agree with you. It doesn't. Then again, I suppose not everything in life has to make sense.
See ya out there.