“The first time you run 8 miles, make a mental note of how you feel during mile 5.”
One of the many pieces of running wisdom/advice from Phil. That Sunday, I mapped out an 8 mile course on RunKeeper. I started in Brighton, went into Cambridge, around the Charles, through Kenmore Square and back. The fact that an 8 mile run covers a decent chunk of the city shows how small Boston really is, and another reason I love it. My love for Beantown aside, the most I’d run up to that point was 6. I try to zone out during runs and not focus too much on form/how I feel, but when the RunKeeper chick chimed in to tell me I was on mile 5, I did a mental check in. I was more than halfway there – and surprisingly, felt pretty good. My knees were a little sore, but I didn’t feel like I had to stop anytime soon.
When I reported back to Phil on Monday, he explained the purpose of the mental check in. When the goal weeks before had been to run 5 miles, I was spent by the time I hit that last mile. But when the goal became to run further, mile 5 – psh, ain’t no thang. Even though you’ve run the same distance, your perspective and mindset going into the two runs is different. Back in February, when Phil first suggested that in addition to planning the Rare Disease Day Relay Race, I should also run the last 5K leg, I remember thinking “I’ve never run 3 miles before, I’d probably die.” And now as I continue to train, the number of miles I think I can run before “I’d probably die” keeps climbing up.
I can now somewhat understand how really intense long distance runners get to that point. Once you achieve a certain distance, you want to keep raising the bar and before you know it, you’re running 100 miles. Don’t get me wrong – I still think those runners are cray because I don’t even like driving 100 miles, but I do get the itch to keep raising the bar mile by mile and wanting to prove the “I’d probably die if I ran that far” thoughts wrong run after run.
This idea of changing your perspective can really be applied to anything in life. Whether it’s moving to a new city, landing your dream job, dropping 20 pounds, or starting a new relationship – it’s all about how you go into it mentally. Any goal you set that is outside your comfort zone can seem a whole lot less scary if you break it down into manageable steps and work your way through it. So just do it – Nike.