Like Mondays. Almost every Monday through the end of my training plan has me running seven miles. But Mondays! I’ve found I just cannot get up and do it. Well, more like won’t.
The past few Sunday evenings, I have set my alarm early, intent on getting up and running first thing to start my week. Once the alarm goes off, however, it quickly gets reset to allow me another 30-40 minutes in bed. The way I see, why cram in my seven miles on Monday when I still have other days of the week left to pound the pavement?
The problem is when other things get in the way. Wednesdays, I have learned, will never be a running day. After multiple Tuesdays spent teaching only followed by track or hill workouts, I have been lucky to have had any energy the next day at work, nevermind run. This Tuesday at track was no exception.
The day’s workout was essentially a Rocky stair workout on steroids. Although we weren’t running the up 72 stone steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, we did run up and down nearly 6 separate flights of steps on the sides of the track, before taking off to run 400 meters. After the quarter of a mile, 10 box jumps, 10 push-ups and 10 sit-ups served as our “recovery” only then to repeat the stadium steps, but with double steps upwards. Oh, and then running 800 meters.
That’s one cycle. We were advised to do it four complete cycles.
The workout put that Rocky climb to shame. My legs are on fire.
But yet, even as I ran up and down the stairs and cursed to myself having to run the second lap of the 800 meter dash, I felt happy to be there. Track definitely kicks my ass, but it is also making me a stronger, better runner. I am working on my speed and my strength. All the while, I am not doing it alone either; I am there with my crew, all of us together sweating it out and feeling the burn in our quad and calf muscles.
At the track yesterday we had a running sneaker representative join us for our coach’s special workout. In her introductions before we began, she pointed to her shirt which had the mantra “run happy” written all over it. She reminded us to think about that as we climbed the steps and completed our laps.
It is not always easy to “run happy.” Some days, like Mondays, I’m lucky if I run at all. But though I reset my alarm on Monday morning, I still logged some miles later in the evening as I bypass a bus to run from my office to my apartment. Like the miles accumulated on the track, they weren’t pretty, yet they got done. And the runner’s high followed.
As a friend studying for the LSAT reminds me of the horrors of that experience, I have concluded that track workouts now are what logic games were for me during my senior-year of studying. It sucks when you do them, but when you finish and see your speed or come to the right answers, you can’t help but bask in the achievement.
So the lesson: simply “run happy.”