Within the first few steps of this morning’s run, I could tell I didn’t have the energy I normally did. I kept running anyway.
I don’t know why sometimes my body has less energy. Sometimes my legs feel like lead. Other times I have tons of energy. I haven’t done a long run, nor pushed myself hard on the rowing machine lately. I surfed earlier this week, which takes a lot out of me, but that was Tuesday and wouldn’t affect Saturday. Maybe I didn’t eat or sleep enough last night? Oh yeah, the temperature was above eighty most of the run, which probably contributed, though it was only in the high seventies when I started.
Anyway, I thought about running a shorter distance than my planned twelve to fourteen miles. The marathon is almost three months away so I’m not pressed for training. Besides, I ran 18.5 miles a couple weeks ago, so I’m on track. I figured running when it’s hard might not build as much muscle, oxygen processing capacity, or whatever running distance develops. Why not take it easy today and consider it preparation to run harder tomorrow or soon after?
Instead I thought about what I could gain from the mental aspect of it. The last few miles of a marathon take as much mental effort as physical. You have to keep consciously pushing yourself when your unconscious motivates you to stop. I like this challenge of endurance running. I realized that mentally, running far today would be like running toward the end of a marathon. Normally I have to run twenty miles to reach that exhaustion. Today my body gave me a gift—exhaustion right away! That meant I could train myself mentally right away.
My plan worked. I had to concentrate most of the run harder than I normally would. I felt like I was running the second half of a marathon, not the first. I’ll see if during the marathon in November I notice any feeling after mile twenty or so like “this reminds me of that tough run in August… I made it through that so I can make it through this.”
I had to stop two or three times to walk twenty yards or so, which I normally wouldn’t have to do for a modest distance run like this, but my body almost stopped running without my choosing to. Otherwise the run went great.
Exhaustion feels great
When I got home I could barely do anything except stand around. I haven’t felt that exhausted for a long time, even after the recent 18.5-mile run. Well, I did do the morning burpees I put off until after the run. I had to pause at twenty before the last five, which only happened to me two or three times.
As lethargic as I feel and despite not getting to the work I wanted to do today, exhaustion feels great. It’s relaxing. I can just lie on my bed and relax. Even reading takes too much energy and focus. That’s serious deep relaxation.
Maybe I’ll be sore tomorrow. Probably not because running doesn’t stress single muscles. In the meantime, this feels great.
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