Saturday, December 27, 2014

Not So Sweet Six

For some reason, six mile runs are not my friend.  They feel short enough that I don't spend much time preparing for them mentally, but they are long enough that I can't really fake them.  My fueling strategies are challenged.  Miles three and four just drag on forever.  Why do they taunt me so?

Six miles has really always been my nemesis.  When I first started ramping up my mileage in 2012, I plateaued around six mile long runs for several weeks.  I just couldn't get over the hump - mentally more so than physically.  I finally broke through, but it took a concerted effort.  And six continues to taunt me today.  This very day, in fact, I found myself facing my old foe six.

It was a dreary morning, and no part of me wanted to leave my warm bed at 5:45 to get ready for my run.  I nearly convinced myself to postpone the run until tomorrow, but dreary as it was, today's weather looked more promising than tomorrow's, so I forced myself out the door.

My new AMR gear: the one bright spot in today's run.

The run started off fine enough.  I was happy to be outside and to have a few moments to myself.  I quickly discovered, however, that I was not such a fun person to be around.  I was inexplicably crabby, feeling annoyed with the weather (not quite rain but not quite not rain) and tired of dodging ankle-deep puddles.  I was listening to a fabulously upbeat and positive podcast featuring the incredible Olympian and mother runner Deena Kastor, yet I couldn't stop myself from spiraling further into a funk.

Around mile four, I challenged myself to finish with negative splits, an attempt to salvage something useful from the gloomy morning.  That idea changed my mental focus enough that I could (finally!) settle into the run.  And I did it!  I managed to finish with a strong effort and completed the run with picture-perfect negative splits.

All's well that ends well, but I hope I can improve my relationship with that number which is afraid of seven (you know the joke, right?).  I have many midweek six's on deck in this training cycle, and I certainly don't want to suffer through each of them the way I suffered through today's run.  Is there any particular distance that taunts you?  How do you power through those tough runs?