I came to endurance sports with a background in ball sports and weight lifting. Thus, I initially attacked my running with a distorted view of training. I’d run 3-4 times per week, and attempt to run the course as fast as possible. This was misery, yet since I had no background, and was running so little, it actually worked. My times for each route continued to drop by a few seconds each week.
At this time, I knew nothing of track workouts, long runs, or the various ways to pace my runs throughout the week. However before you scrap your program to follow my foolish training regime, its important to note that what I was doing simply wasn’t sustainable. It was mental torture, and physical agony.
As I got faster, I started to cheat. I’d start the workout comfortable, easing into the pace, knowing that I now had the ability to crush the last mile or two and make up for my weak start. I’d finish with my desired time, but obviously, I had left seconds out on the course. At some point, during these shenanigans that I was pretending to call training, a buddy and I stumbled on the idea of a longer run. At this point in time, I was grinding out around 10 miles per week spread over 3 runs.
With a few quick toe touches, and a tuck jump or two, we set off on a 7 mile course. Luckily, we realized a modified pace was in order, as we were about to nearly hit our weekly total in an afternoon. I was nervous, how my body would respond to the road ahead was unknown.
We trotted down country roads that we had scouted online but were only vaguely familiar with in reality. Things took an ominous turn, when we turned right onto Buch Rd. only to meet a No Outlet sign. At this point, we were 3 miles into the run and still possessed all the confidence that 20 something year old men enjoy. We decided to continue on our present route, and take the next available right hand turn, once we crossed over the highway, we should be able to turn right on Metzler Rd. just a half mile or so further then we had planned.
No big deal.
At mile 4.5 of our journey, we met Metzler Rd. just not as we expected. Oddly, we expected to be able to turn right, and begin our final push towards home, yet Metzler Rd. intersected our path from the left, leaving us with the confusing option of meeting up with our planned route, but quite possibly heading in the wrong direction. Enjoying another dose of our youthful confidence, we turned left and assumed the road must loop around or something.
Instead, it simply ended at a T intersection with Peach Rd. At this point, we were nearly 6 miles out, thoroughly confused as to our whereabouts, and looking at a 12 miler if we just cut our loses and retraced our steps. We elected to continue into the unknown and hoped to get lucky. At mile 7, we stood at the base of a large hill, which allowed both of us to realize our location. We were no longer lost! Taking a bit of the wind from our sails was the knowledge that our route home, was on the other side of the hill.
Up we went.
We still had over 6 miles to go. In the span of over two hours, I had completed my first 13 mile run (please don’t calculate my pace – this time includes multiple instances of standing and staring at road signs – plus I was slower then), my weekly total was increased by roughly 130%, only slightly exceeding the recommended 10%. I was thirsty, my knees and hips hurt, but I had my first long run in the bag.
I was a runner!
Ashley coaches runners of all abilities, even dumb ones who increase the weekly totals by 100% and choose roads that dead end at highways for their long run routes. If you’d rather avoid a similar fate, contact me.