I still remember the days where I used to think that I will never be able to run ever. I always wonder at the way my body has improved and has adjusted itself to be able to endure not just a 5 km run but a 21.5 km run. Yes, yesterday I ran a total of 21.5 km.
As I began the time was 17:00 on a cloudy Sunday afternoon. After having ran 5.5 km, it began to rain. This was the best thing ever to happen to me during a run. The rain was keeping my body cool and functional. I ran a clean 19 km with my body feeling as if I am in a slow 3 km run. The pain began manifest when I was approaching the 20th kilometer. I endured and persisted until I had ran a half marathon (21.1 km) and 400 meters on top.
I can attest that it was the most enjoyable run ever. I was in charge of the pace, the breathing and I listened to my body. I was confident in my strides and I had a smile on my face, a thing I never do during any run. I am looking forward to having a go again on the same 21 km route.
I think what made me enjoy the run is that I was not focusing on the numbers. I did not care about the pace or the time it would take me to complete the run. I only focused on finishing the run and I took necessary steps to ensure that I complete it. Some of those steps are:
There is always a temptation to run harder and faster when doing a longer run. The good practice one must subscribe to is to learn to back off. Do not rush things. Save the energy for the rest of the run. When you feel that you are running out of air and you are breathing heavily, it means you are running too hard. Back off until you are able to speak during the run. If you run hard you may find yourself getting tired to quickly. We should always run smarter not harder.
There was absolutely no need for me to run harder nor faster. I was not in a race. I was only running to build my endurance. I succeeded in my effort. I ran the whole predetermined distance and I could have gone even further had the time permitted me.
Correct Running Posture
It is important to maintain a correct running posture. This a relaxed posture. When running you should avoid pulling your arms to your chest and avoid making fists. You should run relaxed. Have your arms swing lower past your hips and with open hands. You are not in the fist fight, you are running. Relax the shoulders. If you run relaxed, you will enjoy the run and you will run longer.
The body needs oxygen. The muscles need oxygen, especially when running. Breathe in and fill the belly will air and let the air out. If you cannot breathe, then slow down. In order to be able to control my breathing, I pay attention to it during the warm up process within the first 2 km of my 21 km run. I need to be able to develop a rhythm as I run and breath. If my body want to break that rhythm, I slow down and recover.
There are many tricks and hacks to get going in a long run and they vary from person to person. Over all, if you don’t enjoy the run then you are not doing it correctly. Keep working on it until you are able to run with a smile. Ensure that when you run a long distance, in the last few kilometers, you can pick the pace up and slow down at will.
You know that when you have finished your running session and you feel super exhausted, you’ve had a good work out. Go out there and RUN!!