Fitness / running
Running on tired legs.
They say it's important to run on tired legs sometimes. Especially for distance runners. While in some senses this may seem counterintuitive, it really does makes a lot of sense, actually. Training on fresh muscles and a rested, powered-up physiology might feel great, but nothing can really prepare you for the mental pain that hits when fatigue sets in, or when a runner hits "the wall" in a long distance run. This mental anguish is really quite remarkable and likely not comprehensible, really, to someone that hasn't faced it. I remember on my first 20-mile run, down the Sea of Japan coast to a little village called Yahiko, I began to almost cry. My eyes filled with tears and I began to whimper, almost as a little child would for his mother, and I felt something much more than just a physical fatigue. It was a kind of mental pain. It was almost a....self loathing? Hmmm. Well, it was...miserable. One thing that stuck with me, though, after I had somehow stuck with it and completed that run without stopping, was how the body and mind can actually overcome these seemingly insurmountable pains and "impossibilities," and how much stronger I felt afterward in terms of endurance (after my legs were no longer Jell-O, of course). Once your body--and more importantly, maybe, your mind--pushes through that pain and accomplishes the objective, new kind of musculature which is more than just physical is formed. A new kind of program. A new kind of toughness. What really causes this tenacity? I think it is victory in the mind and heart and spirit over the overwhelmingly painful and urgent screaming voice that said: "You can't do it! JUST STOP RUNNING! It's impossible!" Now granted, there are times when do muscles just lock up, and you've got to stop and stretch. This is not the goal, of course, and training helps to prevent these types of unfortunate situations from rearing their ugly heads. It happened to me around the 32 km mark of my first marathon in 2017. What is one way to train with an special focus on preventing this from happening....? RUNNING ON TIRED LEGS! Training on tired legs can really build a runner's confidence, endurance, and mental fortitude and strength, because of the physiological/emotional battle one must face, and the pain and self-loathesome fatique in the body the runner must overcome. Today I did a little bit of that. I was already feeling down and depressed for some reason, and my body felt very tired from hiking and running the previous three days. Going out tonight seemed counterintuitive. But. I did it, and after 4 miles feel much better for it. Both in body and in mind. And in spirit! Thanks for reading. -gs