Solo Run

by Stephanie on March 30, 2011 · 0 comments

in Running

When I lived in Chicago by myself a handful of years ago I’d go running after work almost every day.  I’d run by myself, with or without music.  Each workout’s intensity was dependent on me and me alone.

Fast forward to present day and I have an awesome roommate who’s also become my workout buddy.  Steve and I have done a couple of triathlons together and for the last several months we’ve been running together quite religiously.  We coordinate our workouts for many reasons: we enjoy each other’s company, it makes planning easier, we keep each other accountable, and working out with a buddy is more fun.

Due to some changes in schedule (his) and training (mine) it looks like we won’t be able to work out together as much in the coming weeks/months.  So what happens when your buddy isn’t there to push you?

Running is such a mental game.  My body is ready to quit at any given moment in the first 3 or so miles of a run.  On a long run day I can make it through those miles and my body just gives up and agrees to finish the mileage but on shorter run days I have to will myself to keep going the entire workout sometimes!  When my workout buddy is running with me, stopping isn’t an option.  He’ll pull me along when I’m struggling and if I give up he’ll leave me in his dust, feeling guilty for having given up.  Can I keep myself going without that support?  Can I will myself to do what needs to be done when no one is around to know if I do or not?  I used to be able to but as I headed out yesterday for my first solo run in months, I wasn’t so sure.

The workout was a hill loop.  It was a little over a mile long; down one long, steep hill, over one block, up one long, steep hill, repeat three times.  The goal was to power up the hill and use the rest of the loop as recovery.  By the end of the first loop it started.  My body was enticing me with how nice it would be to walk, just for a minute.  Or 10.  Or how about just stopping?  This is a BIG hill after all.  Only crazy people run it on purpose.

When I used to run on my own this kind of thing was never an issue, though I’m not sure why.  Maybe it was because I never had another person to push me.  I just did it because it was what I set out to do.  I had to prove to myself that I could still stick with it on my own.  I willed myself to keep going even when it was hard.  This worked, but the turning point was something entirely different.  I changed my perspective.  Instead of thinking of how hard it was, I started remembering how fun running is.  I started paying attention to the trees and the cars and the weather (distractions!).  I took the advice of a running column I’d recently read and Instead of thinking “I have to keep running” I started thinking “I get to run”.  And run I did.

I finished the workout, just over 4 miles, without walking and feeling pretty cheery.  Not only did I prove to myself that I could push myself without the help of a workout buddy, I also had fun.  I call that a successful day!

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment