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Getting through the Middle Miles

The goal remains far off.  Motivation is waning and race day is still down the road.  Dean Karnazes calls them the “Half-way blahs.”

Long_road Of everything I’ve learned about getting through the tough times, the chief lesson is you can’t always muscle your way through.  I’m not talking about perseverance, which every runner has.  I’m talking about stubborn, heads down, aimless, grimace-and-strain-with-each-step running  It just doesn’t work.

So to get through those middle miles of training, I’ve learned a couple techniques.

  • Return to my original mindset way back when I took up running, experimenting with and finding new joys along the way.  That's how I get back in touch with my motivation.  Passion carries me long after my warrior drive has faded.  I stop running just to be able to run more or run faster.  Instead, I just run for the fulfillment.
  • Run gently and gracefully, not athletically.  I do this imagining I'm running as poetically as if to Chariots of Fire.  Then, when running becomes so demanding and it bursts my daydreaming, I stop, walk a bit, recover and resume.  If that means only running for a half mile or beyond view of my house before walking, so be it.
  • Keep_going_2 Ask other runners about their running.  Sort of the way volunteering makes me appreciate what I have, engaging others to talk about their running helps me re-ignite my motivations, achievements, and next runs.  I can listen to most runners talk about their running with genuine enthusiasm.  I inquire how it’s going, what they’re experimenting with, what's motivating them, what they’ve accomplished, and what aiming for.  Tip: did you know by clicking on the Runners’ Lounge sign board on the home page, then it refreshes to show you a new display of runners and their reasons “Why I run?”
  • Stop training and just run.  I recall the feeling I get after a run—not a training run—just a run.  There’s no substitute for it. I love what running writer John Jerome says in The Elements of Effort.

Running is for now.  Training is for later.  Training is about increase, improvement; it is future oriented, aimed at pushing back.

Running is for the run itself.  It’s only when you run for the running that you can hope to flow.  You can’t train all the time.

  • I abandon all things competitive.  I stash away everything associated with training—my schedule and running watch.   I run pure and unburdened. The same would go for other gear if I used it—Garmin, Nike+, I-Pod.  I also stop cluttering my mind with jargon like tempo, intervals, splits, running long, etc.  It’s like a vacation from training.

As I do every week, I am truly looking forward to diving into the wisdom to be shared in tomorrow’s Take It And Run Thursday on the topic of Middle Miles.  Whether it’s about getting through the middle portion of a run or the middle weeks of a training period.  It’s all good.

Down the Road on Flickr by Marc50
Keep Going on Flickr by Deestea


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Fresh Kicks

Don't forget about having the right shoes...


I like that run for the run. I don't think I have done that since I began running a year ago. Just to run cause I love it and not training for something....


Now I won't be able to get the "Chariots of Fire" theme out of my head! Thanks for the continuing encouragement as I doggedly stick with the training for New York... it helps!

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Los zapatos llegaron en buen estado. Son muy buenos, lucen mejor de lo que se ven en la página.Se los recomiendo!!!

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