I don't love the long run. I'm definitely a sprinter by nature. My attention span works for 15-20 minutes at a time before I need a change of pace. But I'm determined to turn myself into a distance runner, if only to make Olympic Distance Triathlons easier. The way I see it, increasing my attention span cannot be a bad thing, and if I'm burning 700+ calories while strengthening my entire body and brain, I'll be better off, even if I initially object.
So since I'm training for this Half-Marathon in February, long runs are going to become part of my weekly routine whether I like the idea or not. I'm casually following a Nike+ training plan, which I will officially start the day after my 4 mile race on Thanksgiving. To prep for this 4 mile race I've been doing hill and speed intervals on the treadmill, the occassional mid-distance (3-4mi) run outside, and a lot of short runs on the treadmill. I am definitely half-assing the distance part of the training plan, and by that I mean skipping it all together.
Yesterday, I did a 10k (6.2mi) run outside, on the lake, in 25+ mph winds and it was EXHAUSTING! I'm really, really sore today. I took Chuck with me, who was pretty much bouncing off the walls for the rest of the afternoon. I can't believe all this energy! Overall, it was a good run. But like all good runs, I learned some valuable lessons. First is hydration and food - I always forget how important they are. I took a water bottle with me, but I should have refilled it half way through. I was really dehydrated for the rest of the night. Also, I should have taken some Shot Blocks or a gel with me. I got very hungry on the way home, so much so that it was all I could think about.
It's important to get out to the lake for the bulk of the run. Stopping at every light between Ashland and the lake is so annoying! Also, I need to properly stretch before the long run. I had to stop a lot to work out the kinks in my quads, hips, and shins. I didn't have a lot of knee pain till the end, but I also didn't feel loose until the end. And today I'm really sore. So for next time, I think I'll warm up in the house with some jumping jacks and calisthenics, then stretch, then start running.
Another thing I need to work on is ab/core strength. The first place I felt tired was my lower back. Taking an ab class once a week will help my running quite a bit, I think.
I'm proud of myself for doing my long run on Monday, my only day off of the week. It would have been easy to sit around and do nothing all day (which is what I wanted to do). And now I can say that every run this week will be shorter than that one! Woo hoo!