Monday, March 3, 2008

Don't Forget the Short Run

It’s no secret that two years ago I would have rather gnawed off my legs than run on them. I was the person who used the phrase “I only run when chased” and thought it was funny. Two years ago I might have preferred getting punched in the face than going for a run.

What a difference a couple years makes, eh?

One reason running has vaulted itself to the top of my Fav Five: its natural and flexible ability to eek itself into any part of my day. Today, for instance, I had 20 spare minutes when I came home from work. It was 60 degrees outside and there wasn’t an excuse in the world for not hitting the road.

So, I ran into my apartment, changed into some running clothes (oh how I’ve missed my running SHORTS!) and went for what turned out to be a 25-minute run around 9:45/mile. It was totally laid back and relaxing. And it was a good use of time too.

I could have stayed inside and kicked my feet up, watched an episode of Friends or prepared dinner a little early. All of those activities have their advantages. So, I did them all.

It irks me when people complain that they “don’t have time to run.” I agree: sometimes life gets hectic and you just don’t have time to breathe. But if you can’t find 15-20 minutes (even five minutes!) every couple of days to take a walk, jog, run, then you have so reevaluating to do. Twenty minutes is more than enough time to run. In fact, it makes for a worthwhile trip. Those minutes are in your day; you just have to use them.

Is it obvious that I’ve been surrounded by nay-sayers for too long?

Today wasn’t supposed to be a running day for me. I had intended to take my Sunday long run, rest of Monday, then run after work on Tuesday, during lunch on Wednesday, after work on Thursday, rest on Friday and get in some long runs over the weekend. Taking 25 minutes for a relaxing run didn’t throw a wrench into things. It just helped.

The best thing I took away from today’s run was a warm-up estimate. It took me way too long last year to realize that warm-ups are key to succeeding in races. But I’ve never taken the time to evaluate what made for a good warm-up. When I take some distance runs, I generally “warm up” for a mile or for ten minutes—whichever comes first—before pushing my pace to a slightly higher level.

Warm or cold, my body tends to take around the same amount of time to warm up. I just never paid attention to how long that warm up might be. So, today I took note. At exactly 19 minutes I felt my body loosen and at 20 minutes I was warm and cool as a cucumber. Hence the reason I ran the extra five minutes—why stop when you’re feeling just fine?

My knees and thigh were a little crickety when I started running, but I took it so easy and enjoyed my workout enough that it all just faded into the background. Aside from some puddles to dodge ad mud in my shoes, I had one cool run. I didn’t need a pool or a long road to travel; I didn’t need a couple hours out of my day; I didn’t need a helmet or goggles. I just tied up my shoes and ran.


B Bop said...

I have the hardest time cutting those short runs off just when I'm starting to feel good!!! I suppose it is a lesson in discipline.

I agree, the simplicity of running is grand.

miss petite america said...

damn. way to make a girl feel guilty. :(

good on you for getting it done! :)

E-Speed said...

I can't wait till I am on my own schedule and not a plan and can do these little short fun runs when I please!

Good on you for taking advantage of the crazy weather!