Raise the Red, White, and Blue…And the Contradiction of ‘Easy Days’

Happy Memorial Day!! Okay, it’s a little late in the day but I can still yell it out there! 🙂 Hope you’re all enjoying the holiday, maybe getting a little BBQ action, a little pool party, some nice food grubbing. If you are getting some nice sunshine I reserve the right to be a little jealous. It’s not as cold as it’s been the past few days and it’s not raining (yet) but it’s definitely not what I would consider ‘lay by the pool and bust out the grill’ type of weather.

There’s a pool here at my apartment complex but there is no freaking way you’d catch me diving in right now. I think some kids are, but I’m a total weenie and still complain getting into an indoor pool that’s heated. I have issues with being cold. Plus I’m not a big waterbaby to begin with.

Moving on…definitely had one of those ‘just get through this’ runs today and was a trooper and busted out my core/abs routine before sticking a fork in myself. I knew if I didn’t do it right after no way I’d be motivated to do it later. Then, bring on lounge lizard mode! At least I was prepared for it, it’s kind of funny to think of the word ‘easy day’ because in training it usually follows a harder workout day and even though it’s at a slower pace it inevitably winds up feeling tough because of the effort of the day before. Haha.

So you just know what’s coming, get in the token miles, and make sure you keep it at a recovery pace. But it still sometimes becomes a mind over matter issue. How I get through it is to usually tell myself to just make it to ‘X’ amount of miles (usually for me it’s 4) and I tell myself that if I really feel like sh** I can cut out early. But usually once I hit that mark I figure I’m already here, let’s just finish out what was in the training plan. All about lying to yourself at the beginning to get out the door. 😉

Just one more mile…or one more half mile. This is what I tell myself as I’m going along. “Eh, what’s one more mile? Just make it to that mark.” Running outside, we all have our usual routes and I’d have little check points or landmarks that I’d know were coming, “Just make it to that big random clocktower in the middle of suburbia with the stained glass.” That was on one of my routes, that clock was massive and so out of place, but once I got to the clock I knew I was about half-way done. I’d have others, one that was just over a mile from my house and I knew that usually no matter how junky I was feeling I could make it home once I hit that point.

Zone out. For easy days, usually your body can run on auto-pilot, it’s kind of funny how you can mentally zone out sometimes and, “Wow! Two miles just few by!” Usually it’s because I’ve got some song stuck in my head (blast that Bieber! Hehe) or this can happen a lot if you’re running with a partner.

Still, you also need to pay attention if you’re constantly feeling rundown or crappy because that can be a sign that you’re just overtraining, going too fast on your easy days, and maybe need to back off. That’s where keeping a training log can really come in handy. Go back and look that baby over, have you recently increased your mileage a lot? Also check to see if you’re hitting your harder workouts as you’d like to. If you’re not, then reassess and again make sure that your easy days aren’t being run too hard. Doing that can blur your training program into a whole gray blob, the distinction between the hard/easy days gets harder to distinguish and the workouts that you actually CARE about pace-wise start to suffer.

I’ll follow up on this post about getting through workouts that aren’t going your way and races where the second the gun goes off you know it’s gonna be a battle of wills. We all have them. Also, The Hungry Runner Girl wrote a really good post on a similar topic about mentally battling back after a crummy workout/race. You can’t let those less than stellar performances keep you from coming back because we ALL have them and those bad days are what make those good days all the sweeter. 🙂

1) How do you keep on plugging through a crummy run or workout?

2) Are you a total waterbaby or a weenie in the pool like me?

3) Favorite food at a BBQ?

My mom and grandma (we actually call her Po-Po, long story) makes this dessert call chocolate junk cake…yummy stuff!

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7 thoughts on “Raise the Red, White, and Blue…And the Contradiction of ‘Easy Days’

  1. hahah wooooo Bieber! Leave it to him to get you thorough a workout! Music usually helps me get through, or I'll sometimes play mind tricks with myself similar to the ones you have explained.

    I am totally against cold pools. I hate cold in general. I am definitely not one to jump right in either. I stick my toes in first and then about 3 hours later you might find me in at about hip level.

    Favourite BBQ food now that I don't eat meat – grilled veggies! I love corn and sweet potatoes on the BBQ. There are some vegan hot dogs and burgers out there too that aren't too bad 🙂

  2. pools and me just don't mix. anytime i'm injured and do aqua-jogging it is begrudgingly! the whole get in and then get-out process is just laughable.

    haha…ya, i guess you wouldn't be singing a Beiber tune in your head. 🙂

  3. I'm all about the mental tricks. Lately it's been jelly beans–I bring along a big handful in my water bottle pouch and I get to eat one every half mile. Such a silly little thing but helps me get one more half mile…and then one more…
    Favorite barbeque food for me is grilled corn on the cob–so good!

  4. oh my gosh, i luv your jellybean bribe trick! haha, that's awesome! but i'll bet that store of jellybeans got kinda heavy on some of those long runs. 🙂

  5. For a while I'd get down on myself for having crappy runs, like it was my fault or I was out of shape even though I wasn't (I have a thing for self-destruction). Then the next day or two I'd usually have a great run. So once I realized this pattern, it makes it easier to get through the bad days. I tell myself I'll probably feel better tomorrow and I usually do.

    I like pools, but it has been a while since I've been in one. I actually swam competitively one season in high school between cross country and track season. I got a lot better at running after that (I ran at the same time). I got kind of burned out from pools, elipticals and stationary bikes from a few years of injuries though.

    My favorite BBQ food is blackened salmon. I don't eat beef, but I'll admit I enjoy the smell.

  6. ya, did i mention i'm a chronic self-hater too? not a good habit, but at least we can be aware of it and catch ourselves when we start really going. like you said, if you have a crappy run after an awesome workout you have to tell yourself, "it's freaking impossible to fall out of shape after one day…you're just tired and will feel better in a few days." lol.

    i didn't know you were a swimmer! interesting you say that you noticed it helped your running a lot, i've heard that from a few others. i can relate to that elliptical burn-out. seriously, after months and months of that thing i could barely stand to even look at it!

    ditto on the beef, but gimmie seafood any day of the week! 🙂

  7. I hit the elliptical hard the first time I got injured. Tried to compensate for my 80 mile weeks to no avail other than serious burnout and no life because of 2+ hour workouts. No bueno.

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