Downs and Ups On the Run

Today I ran my first significant long run since I sprained my ankle. The plan called for seven miles. I figured I could do it. Lately I have been running my long runs on the towpath to get a flatter terrane. The path is covered mostly in crushed limestone and I was a little concerned about the uneven surface. Closer to home is a paved path that runs through a parkway. I thought I would give it a try. I should have mapped it out first. While the path was paved asphalt and smooth, it was all downhill going out. I didn’t realize how steep it was as I ran out 3.5 miles. My very quick pace and relatively moderate heart rate should have been a sign. When I turned around to go back I was looking up a mountain. I made it back, but the return run was not as quick and my heart rate pushed the maximum levels. Good news was my ankle faired quite well.

Yesterday I wrote about tacking hills on the bike. As I ran I thought of what I wrote. While I do my best to be inspirational to others, I never thought I would have to draw on it so quickly for myself. Sometimes I slowed to a shuffle going up hill, other times I made sure I had great form regardless of the hills since a pack of cyclist were passing me going downhill. I am sure I am not alone in my efforts to “look the part”. But the entire climb I thought of how monotonous it would be to run a completely flat course every run. Long runs I would rather not have so much climbing, but it does make me stronger. In revising my running plan this past week I read that hills work muscles that all help accelerate on the flats. Would I have changed my run if I knew what I faced? I want to believe I would have started at the turnaround point and ran up hill the first half and downhill the second. There is a reason it is called “ups and downs”…

It is ironic – in life the phrase “ups and downs” refers to good times and bad in that order. In running and cycling it is the opposite – the down hills are the easy (good) times and the up hills are the challenging (bad) times. What I did learn today was to prepare a little more – as detailed as I am, I have little excuse that I didn’t check the topography out ahead of time. I checked the weather, wore the right clothes and made sure to wear sunscreen because it was a beautiful sunny day. So with a bit more preparation, next time I will enjoy even more the downs and ups of running.

Published by elisariva

I want to encourage everyone to follow your passions, not just what is easy. It is in overcoming hurdles and barriers that we truly test our limits and abilities. There is much more we are capable of if we only believe in ourselves.

2 thoughts on “Downs and Ups On the Run

  1. Glad your ankle is doing better, so that you may endure these downs and ups! And the part where you turned around to find a mountain – I’ve so done that…it’s one of those “oh!” moments.

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