With my first half marathon post-ACL surgery in the books and few more weeks until my first full marathon training plan starts, I’ve found myself floating around in this cloud of indecision and inspiration. If it sounds weird, just imagine living it.
I’ve only gone on about 4 or 5 runs since my half, telling myself to get back into the swing of things easily now because once full training starts, my knees will be begging for mercy. But at the same time, I’m anxious to get out there again and again because – and I’m not kidding here – every run since my half has been amazing. Like, A-MAY-ZING with a capital A. I feel lighter, my pace has improved, the hills are easier to tackle, my breathing is even, I fall right into a rhythm as soon as I start… it’s unbelievable!
How I felt running this past Sunday morning
Have I finally pushed through all of those crap-tastic training runs I fought throughout February and March? Is my running karma finally turning around after feeling like Homer Simpson for pretty much the first 2 miles of every. damn. run. I’ve taken in the past 6 months?
I’d like to think it’s magic. But when I examine the facts, I really can’t deny that everything I’ve heard about “getting out of running what you put into it” is really true. In my training, I added serious cross-training to strengthen my whole body and protect my injury-prone joints. As a result, my post-surgery knee feels stronger than ever (except when it’s humid. NOT when it’s humid). I built up my mileage slowly, and have seen my limits grow with every long run. I learned how to alter my pace to my distance to avoid burnout, and have found shorter distances to be much faster now that my endurance is built up. Sure, I went from a 13:00 mile to an 11:00 one, but hey, I was on track to break 10:00 before my injury and I never thought I’d see it again!
So while I’d like to think that it’s magic, the facts really don’t lie: training smart really does make you a better runner. Although a little magic doesn’t hurt.
What do you think? Have you noticed any improvements thanks to your training? Have any tips or tricks that you like to use? Share your story!