I do a lot of my runs during my lunch break. I live about 10 minutes away from the office, so I go home for lunch on most days. I get home, do a quick change, and head out the door. We live close to a county park that has a decent sized lake and woods, with paved and unpaved trails throughout the park. My lunchtime run almost always consists of running down to the park, and picking one of the different trails for my run. I usually don’t run any longer than 7 miles at lunch, since this is about the maximum distance I can get in before time becomes an issue. I leave my long runs for the weekend.
When I head out the door, ninety percent of the time I wear headphones. I like listening to music when I run, and I usually listen to stuff that has a great beat, more towards rock, metal, and a little grunge. It can definitely get me going when I’m feeling a little tired. So what about the other ten percent? Well, I wish I could say that it’s because I want to listen and be one with nature, which is partially true, but the main reason is that I since they don’t allow headphones in races (I agree with this 100%), I need to make sure I can run and race as well without music as with it.
So I’m running along, and jammin’ to my tunes. What am I thinking about? Here is what I thought about recently on my runs:
- Running at lunch clears my mind of all the crap that filled my head that morning at the office. By the end of the run, I definitely have a different perspective on things, and I’m reenergized for the afternoon. This gives me time to think about the morning issues, and I usually compile a To Do list in my head for when I get back to the office.
- Running at the same time of day, I see the same people over and over. I often wonder what their story is, and why they are there at the park walking or running. I get the runners. Most of them are on their lunch break like I am. Some of the other people walking their dog, or just putzing around, makes me wonder what they do with their day.
- There are some days that all I can think about is taking the next step. These are the days when I’m tired, exhausted, or mentally stressed, and the run hasn’t made me feel better. I’m not enjoying it, and I just want to get my a$$ home. There is a little fear that I will get 3 or 4 miles out, bonk or run out of gas, and have to walk a little. I don’t overdress in the cold weather, so if this ever happens, it can be a cold trip home. This has only happened a few times in all of my running, but it hasn’t been fun.
- By far, the thing I think about most when running is my training. I think about races I want to do, my training plan, tech stuff and bikes (I love this stuff), and making sure I have the right diet, which varies depending on the time of year.
- Pushing my run definitely makes me think about pain. When I started training for triathlon, pain is something that I tried to avoid. Now I’ve learned to like the pain. The pain I’m talking about is the pain you get when you are pushing yourself beyond your limits where you feel comfortable. For me, on the run, I’ve noticed that there are two ways to suffer. One is when I’m pushing my legs, and they are still sore or tired from prior workouts, and the other is lack of oxygen, when I’m pushing myself and sucking air and can’t run any faster. Of the two, I would rather have fresh legs and run into oxygen debt than the other way around. Anyway, thinking about the pain is a way for me to focus and get faster.
- There are times when I totally zone out, and get into a trance like state. You all know what I’m talking about. You start running, and the next thing you know, you’re finished. Steep hills can snap me out of it, but I’m right back to it within a minute or two. When I’m in this zone, if I look at my pace, it is usually fairly fast, and I feel good during the run and after. I don’t know why; can’t explain it. But I love this run.
- Sometimes I just kick back and enjoy the endorphins and think about how lucky I am to be running.
This is my quick list. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think about when you run.