For my first Genius Hour Blog Post, I challenged myself to do something I have been wanting to do for a while, but always get scared away from doing. I wanted to run 6 miles straight. However, when researching my topic, I found that anything less than or equal to 6 miles is not considered long distance running, so being the competitive person that I am, I challenged myself to run 7 miles in one run. Below is an explanation of why I chose to fulfill this goal of mine.
I chose this challenge because I have been thinking about running the AthHalf Half Marathon in October, and have wanted to push myself into running longer distances. Usually when I go for a run I can hit about 4 miles and then convince myself to be done because I have a mental block that tells me that is the most I can do. I have always known that I can do more miles, it has just become a matter of determination and will power.
As I stated in my previous post, I grew up competitively swimming for 13 years so I am very interested in staying in shape and how I can achieve new goals. The difference in these two sports is that one is in the water and one is on dry land, which personally I am not used to competing on dry land. Running is a good way to stay in shape though, which is how it is relevant to my life. If I am not swimming every day like I used to, I can still make time to run, and why not run long distances while I am at it? Both of my parents are runners, in fact my dad ran track in college, so I feel as if it is in my genes to become a runner at some point in my life. This challenge gave me the push I needed to accomplish this goal of mine.
Anyone who is interested in becoming more fit and running longer distances can relate to my post. It shows that an average person can learn to run long distances. Although it took me an hour and ten minutes to run the distance, I am happy that I did and can only get better from here. This post can also become relevant to anyone looking for inspiration on accomplishing a physical fitness goal. Most of the time when performing physical activities, our brains tell us when to stop even though our body could go longer. My 7 mile run is an example of pushing yourself even when you want to stop.
I began searching for articles and tips online on Pinterest because it linked me to many blog posts from experienced runners. A blog, called Mastering the Long Run, gave me ideas about splitting the run into thirds mentally. This means to look at the run in sets of 2 miles, rather than thinking of the run as 7 long miles. Another idea I got from this post was to create a playlist with motivating songs that I would not have to change. If I am feeling weary towards the end typically, that is where I would put the best songs to keep me going. I also learned about taking a 30 second break to help my body reset in between every 1-2 miles. Out of all the blog posts I looked at, this was the most helpful one. It guided me to think about my long run in a way like never before.
I also checked out multiple twitter accounts such as “@halfmarathons” and “@Cool_Running“. Both of these accounts have helpful tips on training, playlists, injuries, and what to do when you don’t think you can go any further. One article, 7 Steps to Avoid the Dreaded Bonk, I found on @Cool_Running, and it had interesting ways to keep your body going when you hit a wall. I liked researching these tips because it is something I am genuinely interested in and want to get better at so that I can succeed.
So, when I went to Ramsey to complete my long 7 mile run, I was nervous that I would not make it or that I would chicken out, but I tuned out my attitude and began the run. The first two miles were easy because I took them at a slower pace than normal, the next two miles I pushed myself a little harder and increased the speed, and the last 3 miles were the real challenge ones. After I finished the run, my hips ached and my stomach cramped, but I was so happy that I had just beat my goal. I am excited to try for 8 miles the next time I run, and I hope to actually be prepared to compete in the AthHalf Half Marathon this fall.