Solo running: Dedication
A long time ago, I used to really enjoy competing in triathlons. One thing I never quite got used to, though, was the feeling of my legs after I finished a several-hour bike ride, and started to run. In triathlon training, a workout that goes straight from cycling to running, to practice and prepare for this feeling, is called a “brick workout.” It refers to the stacking of the two disciplines on each other, but a lot of athletes joke, it’s because your legs feel like bags of bricks while doing them!
Triathletes or not, I’m sure we’ve all experienced that “brick” feeling. Sluggish, heavy, and with no motivation to run. So here’s another trick I learned during my racing days, to shift your focus to something more positive on your long runs.
I first read about this idea when it was shared by Ironman world champion Chrissie Wellington. During the run leg of a race, she would dedicate each mile to someone who helped her get there, or who inspired her at some point. So here’s how I do it: I pick a distance (a mile, a kilometer, the distance to the next tree or stoplight), and I dedicate it to an important person in my life. I think about memories I’ve shared with them, mentally thank them for helping me on my journey, and, similar to the “good vibes” runs, just generally try to send some love their way.
I dedicate a mile of my run to my mom, who always supports me and cheers me on, no matter the endeavor. A mile to my best friend, who gives the best advice and who makes me laugh harder than anyone. A mile to my coworker, who manages to make each workday fun, and who even started running thanks to my suggestion. Depending how long I’m running, maybe I even start dedicating miles to the farmers who grow my food, the conductors who drive the subway trains in the city, the trash collectors who keep the streets clean where I run. And right now, of course we all have medical professionals, teachers, and essential workers we can dedicate our miles to as well. The possibilities are endless.
I’m inspired to run with my best, strongest form, to fully honor each dedication. And my mind is focused on each person or group of people, instead of zeroing in on pain or negative thoughts. Once again, the run is over before I know it, and I feel great at the end of it, instead of tired and sluggish. So I invite you to give it a try, next time you are dreading those miles, and see if you don’t feel less “brick-like”by the end.