When I am asked what I like most about running, my standard answer is because of the sense of community running brings. No matter where you are in the world, runners have a way of connecting even without saying anything at all.
I run my long runs on mountain trails in the Los Angeles area. I like to pick a trail that has a nice stretch for running, and hills with elevation gain. The more popular trails are shared by runners, hikers and even dogs. When I head out early in the morning, I tend to see more trail runners, vs hikers and when I finish I see more hikers vs runners. Those early morning trail runners are mostly running alone, like me, taking advantage of the opportunity to have a wide open trail to run, rather than one that is heavily populated with groups or hikers. (this was a similar situation in Chicago for early morning lakefront runs). One thing I love about trail runners, is this sense of comradery, a bit of a “you’ve got this” for other runners, whether they are strangers or route regulars. This week on my trail run, I felt this with every mile I ran. My run started at 6:30am, right after sunrise and surprisingly there were a good amount of hikers headed out for their morning adventure. As the trail lead up the mountain, through the hiking switchbacks, it opened to a ridge, perfect for a few miles of solid running. This is where I found my groove, and other trail running peeps, trekking through their long run. Each time I passed or came up another runner, I made a point to say good morning, good job or some type of encouragement. Every single runner I came up responded back with a smile, a “you’ve got this” nod, and some even said hello first. Half way through my run, I came up a man with his toddler in the midst of trying to capture a photo moment. I had to stop and enjoy the view for a minute, as she was running, giggling and seriously loving every bit of nature around her. I saw them again a few miles later, as I was headed back from my run and this time she was back in his backpack, but it was if she was trying to say something to me. Her dad quickly explained, she wanted a high five, as she had been high fiving everyone she had seen that morning. Yes, this trailing running group, is one I don’t intend on leaving anytime soon.
My training this week went pretty well. As I mentioned last week, I am trying to incorporate mental strength training and while I have a lot of work to go in that area, incorporating this into my training plan hasn’t been as challenging as I thought it might be.
This week’s workouts included:
This week I began my initiative into incorporating mental strength training. First up, mediation with Headspace. Headspace is a guided mediation app. I have completed 5 sessions and so far I really like it and find it comfortable to use. Trying meditation makes me realize how much my mind can wander and how much work I have to do to control my focus. The guided app really makes it easy to understand the process of mediation, and how to get the most out of each 10 minute session. I have tried both first thing in the morning and right before bed. I am not sure which I like better, but will keep you posted.
Next up was a yin yoga session. Yin yoga is a session that has very specific poses that do not flow, but instead are held for a range of minutes (usually 2-5). The point of this type of yoga is to not only get a deeper stretch, but also a restorative way to bring awareness to your body and inner thoughts, similar to mediation. I am not gonna lie, this session was hard. My body is a lot tighter than I thought and my I need needs lots of mental restoration, but it was an amazing challenge. I hope to do a session like this once a week.
From here on out, my weekly miles pick up and workouts get tougher. As I enter the peak cycle of my training I know incorporating the mental strength training will help with burnout, and loss of enthusiasm that tends to come at this stage. I will tackle it head on, and hope to make it out in one piece…or should I say peace…
Until next week. Run Fierce. Live Fit.