On the weekend when I do my long training run of the week, I like to look my best.
I’m only half kidding when I say this. Running can be done two different ways: the hard way and the easier way.
Hard runs are fast runs or long runs. (Or hills, or speed work, or – well, you get the idea). An easy run is called walking.
A long run is a run that’s long for you. You head out and know that you will be tired when you get back. Hopefully exhilarated, but also tired. The run is long. You may want to stop along the way. You may have moments where you think you can run forever, and 30 seconds later are spent and wonder why you suddenly are running so much faster when you still have so far to go.
Long runs are where things get messy. And by things I mean you. You get tired and sweaty. Your hair gets messy and if it’s hot you may get that crusty salty look from sweating. You won’t look great when you get back. Guaranteed you will probably look worse than you feel. Maybe.
My thinking is that if I’m dressed well then I will look better than I feel. I like to wear my favorite and most comfortable shorts, or skirt if I’m feeling frisky, and a really chafe-resistant top. Nothing hides the wrong bulges or accentuates the right curves more than the made-for-wearing-on-the-outside spanx. Fitness clothes are designed to make the largest percentage of varying body shapes look good. I appreciate this fact.
I also bring one accessory with me that is a must-have. I used to never leave the house without my Garmin. For those of you not as obsessive as some of us, a Garmin is a watch that can tell you not only how long you’ve run but also your pace and your distance. Different models can get even fancier with heart-rate monitors, track your calories burned, and about 15 other things I need the manual to figure out. Given that a lot of my running stressors came from being so focused on my pace and how far I hadn’t run in a given amount of time, my coach wisely suggested I lose the fancy options. I now basically run with only time displayed. So I know when I have run 10 min and when I have run 45. (Thanks for buying me this watch for hundreds of dollars, Sweetie. Turns out the Lego watch that we gave one of the kids for Christmas will do the same thing, even if it does have a broken second-hand.)
But my new necessity-accessory is my iPod. I like to have music with me when I run. Specifically I like to have sound. I listen to more podcasts than I do music and I like the feeling of having earbuds in my ears. There’s something about feeling insulated from the noises in the world that helps me tune in more to what my body is feeling. I like having a soundtrack that follows me – it’s like the iPod reminds me that sound comes from the inside too – I’m running with myself instead of against myself. I enjoy my time on the road or trail. I’m doing something good for me.
I may run slowly or I may get sweaty. I may drip water down the front of my shirt as I try to master opening a water bottle while in motion. But I know one thing: on my long runs, I look good doing it.