Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wednesday Workout Update

Back in 2010 when I was training for my first (and so far, only) half marathon, my mantra was "mind over miles" - I even had a necklace that said that on one side, and "13.1" on the other.  This go-round, my mantra has been "run happy" (and of course I have a necklace for that...which should surprise exactly no one, lol).  And after an involuntary year off, I definitely AM happy to be running.  But I'm also thinking that I need to resurrect my other mantra as well, because lately I've been having some serious doubts when it comes to distance.

I know that part of this is because every long run on Saturday is a "new" distance for me (this go-round).  So I'm not running a familiar distance, and that messes with my mind.  Where it manifests is not in my legs, but my lungs.  I practically hyperventilate as I start each long run...which, as you can imagine, does not make running very easy!  This last Saturday, we were running 4 miles, and I wanted to run the entire distance.  At nearly a mile longer than my 5K last Sunday, I knew that it would be a challenge, but I figured the hard part would come after I'd hit 3 miles.  Nope.  Right away, I was gasping for air.  My heart was pounding out of my chest - it was ridiculous, really.  It was close to half a mile before I stopped feeling like I was going to die - and probably another mile before I felt like I found my rhythm between my breathing and my feet.  Then?  Everything was fine.  I ran without much effort.  Didn't think about what I was just flowed.  THIS is why I run.

But dang, getting to that point?  Painful.  And you'd think after all this time, I could do a simple run without practically going through a panic attack.  I honestly don't know what to do to change this, or if I just need more time.  This coming Saturday is our goal race (and yet another new distance, ack), but after that, we are just going to do some 5K's for the next few weeks.  Which should be comfortable and familiar, so hopefully I'll stop this panic-breathing nonsense.  Are you listening, mind???


  1. That sucks Shelley. I have no tips for you because I never have experienced it. I can be nervous days before a new distance or race but no panic attack. My problem is my legs always kind of hurt the first mile, like they're saying: no, not again, what are you doing to us.

    But I am sure that in time you will get over this.

  2. My husband is always reminding me how much of this is a mental game.

  3. Shelley - I feel like I go through the same thing on long run days. My heart rate is usually around 120 before I even start running because I'm so freaked out about going the distance. Right now that distance is only 5 miles, and I still get crazy. What has helped me is to think about the run in chunks, and allow myself the option to walk. Also, I think about it in minutes, which seems less daunting than distance to cover (10 minutes passes whether you are running fast or slow, where as waiting for that mile marker could take forever). So I say to myself, "I will run the first ten minutes, and if I need to, I'll walk two minutes after. If that is the way it goes the whole time, then I'll end up doing that 5 times. No biggie!" Usually I get to that ten minutes and feel great. The way the deal works is that if I don't take the walk break at 10 minutes, I can't take it between ten minute intervals - i have to take it at the next 10 minute mark. So then its 20 minutes, I feel good, and I keep going for another 10 minutes. After 30 minutes of straight running, I don't want to mess it up, so I skip that walk break, even if I really want to take it, and then at 40 minutes its just another ten minutes plus three or four minutes until the end.

    This is working for me right now. Sometimes it doesn't work, but its worth a shot! No matter what the distance is, you know you'll finish it, so its just finding a way to make it manageable in your mind, which you already know : )

  4. Normally I would say that sort of breathing is because of going out way too fast. On a long run especially your first mile should be your slowest. But this does sound like anxiety. Of course the anxiety could be making you run too fast. So it really can be a Catch-22. Hope you're able to figure it out because it's obvious that it's annoying the heck out of you!

  5. Do you do any kind of light warm up before starting the run? Or jogging in place while waiting to start?

    I would tend to start too fast and breathe really hard and think "How the heck am I going to make X miles?" Then it would settle down.

  6. I am the same way when running Shelley - its as if my brain is telling me WTF are you doing? But after 10 minutes? It's smooth sailing. Weird!

  7. HI Shelley. This is your mind...and yes, I'm listening! :)
    Good luck on ALL the upcoming races!!!

  8. I have never stopped that feeling even though i now run ultra distances . I am 46 yrs old and been running about 6 yrs. My sister who is like a whippet and her husband have been running long distances all their adult lives and also experience this. We have discussed it and put it down to the immediate increase in heart rate - ie it's when your heart rate makes that initial climb from resting 50- 90 bpm up to the 120+ mark. Once it starts to level out you feel more comfy and settle into your pace. For my sister it takes a good 2-5 miles before she drops into that place. Louise

  9. LOL at Roz.
    For me running is all about the mind.
    Even before my back (ok piriformis) booboo I told everyone ID NEVER EVER DO A FULL MARATHON.
    Im not that kind of mentally tough.

  10. I agree that running is all in the mind, well maybe not all, a lot of it is legs and lungs, but quite a bit in the mind. I don't have anxiety on regular runs, but as I get closer to a race my runs start to really suffer. I'm sorry I have no advice, except maybe to do some deep breathing or quiet meditation before you run?


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