Nick and I were at dinner last night, when all of a sudden I blurted out, “Why am I training for another half marathon?”
He shrugged and continued to eat his pizza.
My thoughts exactly.
Here’s the deal: I know why I’m training for another half. I like having a workout plan, first and foremost. I love waking up in the morning and knowing exactly what my workout is going to be for the day. I like working towards a goal, too, and this is a goal that is clearly measurable and makes it easy to see my progress. Every three to four weeks, I increase my mileage a little bit more, nudging my way back into the double digit running that I never thought was possible a little over a year ago. I also know that I’m going to feel like a beast when I cross that finish line in March. After the Baltimore Half, I was riding on an embarrassingly pumped up runner’s high for at least two days post-race; I’m sure this will be much the same.
But here’s the even clearer deal: a huge, huge part of me hates training (something I conveniently forgot about a month or so after my last race). There are a lot of miles to cover each week (weird; training for a half marathon involves covering a lot of miles. Total revelatory shocker, I know), and sometimes I get bored. Running in the winter is cold (Yep. Already covered this issue too. And yep, I’m still bitching about it). I’m getting bored of the routes that I’m running. Blah blah whine complain blah blah. But seriously. I’m not even close to halfway through this training, and I knew I needed a little pick-me-up before my six-mile run this morning.
Enter the things that made this morning’s run a little more bearable:
1. A new four-hour playlist. Featuring some old faves and some newer ones, too. I was getting REALLY sick of my old playlist and needed something to keep me on my toes (literally). This did the trick.
2. A new cold-weather jacket. Remember how I said I needed to invest in some cold-weather gear? I finally did. (Well, if you can consider dropping $25 at Target an “investment,” but this did the trick). I was toasty and felt kind of spunky, too.
(Fake that enthusiasm until you make it, right?)
3. Six inches of my hair chopped off. Ok, so admittedly this isn’t something that I’ll be doing often, but I finally got a haircut yesterday, and I feel so freaking FREE. I got it cut short enough that a ponytail is just barely possible, which means that instead of a huge, heavy, curly bouffant bouncing around on top of my head, I was running with this teeny, tiny, totally unnoticeable pixie pony. Only those of you with an outrageous amount of hair might be able to appreciate this, but I felt like ten pounds had been lifted off of my shoulders (head?) It was fabulous.
4. A nice cup of coffee. Did you read this article from the NY Times this week? I knew my addiction would come in handy some day. Sometimes coffee before a workout makes me want to hurl. Today it made me pick up my pace a bit. I much prefer the latter.
So I have another three months to go until race day. I think these things might be able to pull me through for another few weeks, and then it’s probably back to the drawing board!
What are your motivators when training for a race? Or for exercise in general?