Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Benefit of Short Runs

Spring break is an awesome time of year for us teachers. Quarter 3 grades are finished and we're looking into the final set of weeks until summer break. I can taste the freedom! We're on our penultimate unit in LA, beginning our final novel in reading, and all the fun 8th grade festivities are just around the corner!

The problem with spring break, like most breaks, is scheduling. There's usually some travel involved in vacation, and traveling can lead to a broken running schedule. I've been very good about going every-other-day, but the Komen 5k was on Saturday, and then we left for camping Sunday. Now, camping only went until Tuesday, so while I packed running clothes, we only had one full day at the campsite and therefore no real time for running. (Late-night runs through the woods are not recommended, of course.)

So we get home Tuesday, exhausted, spent, and not looking to run. Wednesday could have been a running day, but unpacking, doing laundry, and little errands got in the way.

Today is Thursday, and tomorrow I have a wedding to attend, which will mean I'm gone from this afternoon until Saturday...and break ends Monday. So where did my running schedule go? When you're spending hours on end in the car, you crave a run, but actually fitting one in can be tough.

This morning I woke up, knowing that I had to run, even if it was short, because the next time I'd run would be Saturday, and that would make an entire week of non-running. But I had to fit the run in before the temperature hit 80. So the run was short.

The benefit of a short run is this: it turns the running switch back on, and sometimes that's all you need. After a race, even a short race, I tend to feel a sense of accomplishment. "Okay, self, we did it. Now it's okay to take a break from training." Sure. Why not? But if I had let a week sneak in between the 5k and my next run, I'd have backslid into a place where running was a chore, not a pleasure.

A short run is enough to motivate me back into a place where schedules are kept. The run this morning was hot, short, a little painful, and slow. But I went. I'm glad I went. I spent less than 15 minutes out there, but I got a little exercise in. When I go out for my run Saturday, I won't feel as sluggish and defeated as I would had I not gone today.

Not every run needs to be a push-it-to-the-limit, 3-mile, 4-mile, 5-mile run. Not every run needs to break a personal record. Not every run needs to leave you feeling sore and happy. Feeling moderately pleased with yourself is sometimes enough.

I only did 1.25 today, but I got out there, and by catching myself before I could get to the point where running was an annoyance, I did myself a favor. And it's also something that, this time last year, I never would have had the ambition to do. In this way, I'm making progress and keeping up with my 2012 NY resolution.


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