It’s amazing how when you do something enough, your body becomes amazingly efficient at it. The human body is a marvelous thing, it actually learns through repetition so this running thing actually gets easier over time. I know a beginner would look at me like I’m crazy, but let me explain.
In 2007 when I started running to train for a marathon, the first time I ran 11 miles I didn’t have any aide/gels/electrolyte drink and I just about died. When I finished the run I felt dizzy and out of it, the same way I feel when I’m college drunk. I was a little worried about the drive home to be honest, it was that bad. From that point I learned I needed to bring shot blocks if I was running 11 miles or more. I continued that tradition for quite a long time. At some point my mileage began increasing and I started doing a medium long run on Wednesdays of 10-12 miles. I don’t know when it happened, but I started forgetting to bring blocks and I was just fine.
That brings me to today. I’m pretty well trained. I’ve gotten to the point where I can run 10 miles at my easy pace and hardly feel like I’ve broken a sweat. Not all days are that easy, but I’ve adapted to the point where I can run fairly long and not need anything to pad my diet. I’ve only brought blocks on one long run this season and that’s because we were going 18 miles. I previously did 18 miles with only a 12oz bottle of Gatorade and things went swimmingly.
The good news is I’ve adapted, the bad news is I’ve adapted and now to get the training stimulus I have to kick it up another notch. So today instead of running my medium long run at my easy pace (7:10-7:30/mi) I decided I’d make it worthwhile and go 6:30-6:45/mi. It was definitely the effort level I wanted. It didn’t feel easy but it wasn’t tempo hard. It was back to when I started running and it actually took effort to cover the distance.
Now let’s see if I’m as satisfied about this run tomorrow when I’m out on the track running tempo intervals.