Bad Habits

Bad habits are like riding a bicycle, you  might put them aside for a long time but it’s easy to jump back on and go for a spin. Once you do, it doesn’t take long for those bad habits to take over again. Since completing my first marathon at age 50 (I turn 60 this year) this training season has been the most disciplined. I’ve missed very few runs, a few, but not many. The reasons primarily schedule conflicts not because of weather, or a nice warm bed, or because I thought another day off would do me good. In addition, I do a 15 minute series of stretching exercises after every run, every morning and most evenings immediately before I go to bed. Between the stretching and holding to plan I’m running farther, faster than ever before.

Off the Wagon

I run 26.2 from Cape May to Sea Isle City on March 26, two weeks before the Garden Spot Village Marathon | Half Marathon | Kid’s Marathon, consequently my long run, 20 miles, was last weekend. I can honestly say my legs had another 6.2 in them, what a great 20!  And boom!  It’s taper time. Two days off then a 5 mile run. Day 1 the legs felt great but I was rushed in the morning and didn’t stretch. Day 2 legs were rather achy. I made it a point to stretch twice. Day 3, time to run, but legs still achy. Another day of rest would probably do them good. I skipped it. And there you have it. I took an old habit for a spin.

A Good Talk’n Too

Day 4 I’m determined to hit the road. Out of bed at 4:00 a.m. and on the rail trail by 4:30. A gorgeous star lit morning. Temperatures were perfect with just a hint of a breeze. You can’t ask for better running weather. That was the only thing good about it! It was the nightmare run of the century. Legs ached. Sluggish. Felt like I could barely move. Couldn’t catch my breath. Wheezing like an old mule. I had a good talk with myself, “Miller, this is what you get for skipping a day. Had a good long run so now you think you can just slack off. Do that and you’ll regret it on race day. You know better. Get it together and knock it off. Okay, so at least you realized it. Today’s a new day. Starting today you’re back on plan until the race.”

Imagine That

Later in the day I realized I had the flu or something like it. Apparently, it’s going around. Achy from head to toe. High fever. Chills. Sweats. You can guess the other symptoms. I thought I was going to die. It was probably the reason for the achy feeling the day before as well. Turns out I ran 5 miles with flu like symptoms rapidly descending upon me. That probably accounts for the lousy run. It was a wake up call, however, to keep an eye out for the return of bad habits. They will sneak up on you in a heart beat.

I intentionally took yesterday off because I was sick as a dog. But 3 easy miles this morning (to account for yesterday) and I’ll do 12 tomorrow. Stretching on schedule. So back on track.

We all jump the plan from time to time. It’s usually due to the temptations of past bad habits. It might be the start of a new bad habit – yikes. The key is to realize it and fix it. It’s a new day every day. You can’t fix what you did yesterday but you can fix it going forward.

Final Thoughts

A few reminders. You’re in what I refer to as the danger zone because high mileage increases the risk of injury unless you’re careful. I got an e-mail yesterday from a runner asking to switching from the full to the half due to a high mileage injury. You’re also in pretty good shape and there’s a temptation to tack on a couple more fast miles, especially for half runners. Don’t do it. I see more injuries because of that than you might imagine.

Keep the nutrition and hydration on track. I find running increases my appetite and tend to think, since I’m running a lot, a couple extra donuts won’t do me any harm. It’s a great way to pick up a bunch of unwanted pounds by race day so keep an eye on carb cravings. I go with proteins and vegetables instead of carbs until a few days before the race when I intentionally carb load.

Check Here for some Quick Facts and reminders about the race itself. We’ll start sending informational e-mails closer to race day.

It’s 27 days ’till race day as of today. Enjoy those runs and be careful out there. We want to see you on race day.

Run On!



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