Week 8: Flow

I am back in the saddle. Last week I was able to wrap up my sick and miserable Week 7 with a 13 mile run. Then I had a lovely vacation hiking around the Olympic Peninsula, disconnecting from my work and distractions, and focusing on some self-time and family-time. The GRE went really well, too. I return to my daily work with a full tank!

I am halfway through Week 8. Monday should have been a 4 mile run, but I swapped it out for hiking throughout the day wearing my 30 lb daughter. Yesterday was my mid-length run, about 6 miles. Tomorrow will be another 4 mile run, and Saturday is my first ever 14 mile run. I am feeling a little less intimidated by the 14 miles after last weekend, when I had such a good 13 mile run (all trails!). I really experienced good Flow during Week 7’s long run.

What is Flow? Flow is what my training book calls the state I refer to as The Zone. I think every runner might have their own term for it, but it’s that special point during a run where the preoccupations subside, and you are just running without trepidation, difficulty, distraction… You don’t think about how far you’ve gone or how many more miles you have to go, you just simply are. During a long run, I usually experience Flow somewhere between 5 and 9 miles. I hope as my runs grow in distance, that the length of Flow follows suit. Up until this point, Flow has been an organic treat manifesting spontaneously on longer runs. However, Flow is something that can be intentionally created when you combine the mental exercise of positive self talk and internalizing the locus of control with the physical repetition of strong running practice.

In the weeks ahead, I have a lot of long runs. Runs that extend for lengths without fanfare. Two consecutive weeks at 14. Two consecutive weeks at 16. Two consecutive weeks at 18. August will prove a rigorous month for training. I hope to use this opportunity to learn the art of crafting Flow for myself. I hope to learn more about my body and my mind during this stretches of many hours alone, one foot in front of the other.

What are the things you do to make a long run enjoyable?

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