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January 31, 2011 / Rohit

Running Without Support

I have been training for the LA marathon on my own. Which means that I have no company on my training runs. It’s not so bad on the weekdays, when I run anywhere between 5-8 miles, but becomes extremely painful during my long run days — Saturdays or Sundays.

I have been following the Hal Higdon Novice 2 plan, which is not really an aggressive marathon training plan. But for someone who just has one full marathon under his belt, I think it’s sufficient. Moreover, I don’t think I have the kind of motivation or discipline to follow anything which is more demanding than this. Today, according to the plan, I had to do an 18 mile (~ 29 KM) long run. During the 3 hours which took me to finish, I gave plenty of thought to the merits of having company while running.

  1. Less boring. It’s mentally easier to chew on the distance when running with someone. I, like my other running friends, love to talk while running. I find that this makes miles pass by quickly. Not so when you run alone.
  2. Water, electrolytes and food. In a group there is always plenty to eat and drink. Right now, I don’t even carry proper electrolyte replenishments. Instead I have been using the age old Doordarshan recommended Oral Rehydration Solution — water mixed with equal quantities of salt and sugar. For food, I come back home aftere 60% of my run, grab something to eat and go run again.
  3. Better pacing. While running as a group, I have found that I could always pick the pace which I wanted to. Sometimes I would stay in the lead pack. Sometimes in the middle. Or if I felt like not pushing it too much, way in the back. The best part is that, if you are feeling low there is always someone to push you.
  4. Morning runs. With no one along with me, I find it really hard to wake up early and do a long run. On most of my long run days, I wake up in dread. The long runs seem more of a chore than something which I look forward to. Thus, I procrastinate during the day and go run only during late afternoons or evenings.  And that is possible only because L.A has such nice weather.
  5. Exotic locations. It’s less crazy when you go run in some exotic location as a group. All my runs these days are in the vicinity of my locality.
  6. Post run celebrations. Breakfast … oh the lovely breakfast … I miss you so much. In Bangalore, we would finish our run with a grand meal in one of the many fabulous restaurants. Nowadays I come back from the run and eat food which I cooked.

All in all running alone is painful. It’s something which I dislike, but I do anyway.

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