Thursday, August 21, 2008

TIART: The Middle Miles

***This post is part of the Runner's Lounge Take It and Run Thursday.

The middle miles of a training run or a race can be tough. Every runner knows this.

When I'm training, there are days that I sail through the middle miles of the run and hardly notice them. Other times I feeling like I'm dragging my feet as I try to get to the point where I can tell myself there are only 2 miles left.

To keep myself from being overwhelmed by the middle miles when I'm training, I try to break up the really long runs so that the middle miles happen twice... I'll go to the local greenway and park my car at the trailhead. If it's a 20-miler day, then I'll run 5 miles out and 5 miles back. I'll go to the car and get some extra water/Gatorade and eat a snack. I'll use the bathroom in the rec center. I enjoy a solid 5-minute (at a minimum) break. I might meet up with someone else at this point who will run the next 10 with me, and we'll head out to run 5 out and 5 back. Of course I'm still tired on that second loop, but breaking it up really helps me to forget how much I'm running and where the middle miles even are since I try to pretend each time I'm only doing a 10-mile run instead of 20.

A race is a whole different story. I really struggled with the middle miles when I ran the Rocket City Marathon last year. I wouldn't say I hit the wall, but I was getting bored and ready to be done around mile 18 or so. For me, I have to dig deep and focus on just running one mile at a time, telling myself that when I get to the next mile marker I'll take a drink and tell myself that it's only one more mile... when I try to forget how many more miles are ahead of me, I can focus more easily on getting through the one I'm on. Before I know it, I'm seeing the 24-mile marker and heading toward the finish.

It's not impressive advice, but these things do help me. Sometimes it comes down to just making sure you keep putting one foot in front of the other and reminding yourself of all the reasons why you're running in the first place.


*aron* said...

that's what i did in my marathon... focused on each mile, one mile at a time, and then before i knew it, it was almost over!

The Happy Runner said...

Breaks really help, don't they? I use that trick, too, and it works!

Playful Professional said...

I love running out and backs because I feel like there isn't as much of a middle mile point. There is a beginning and end on the out and beginning and end on the in.