Thursday, August 21, 2008

Middle Miles Syndrome

The middle miles get very little respect.

The don't have the glory of the end miles, when you might be inclined to speed up and finish strong. Or when you can finally say to yourself, "I rock. I just ran 3 (or 5, 8, 10, 26.2 . . . ) miles!"

Nor do the middle miles have the freshness of the first miles, when you are so happy to be out there running and you feel proud of yourself for getting out the door.

Nope, the middle miles are neither your beginning nor your end. They are the miles you might slog through, the miles that might make you want to stop.

But they can also be the miles that make you a better, stronger, happier runner.

Today, the Runners' Lounge Take it and Run Thursday theme is how to handle the middle miles. My suggestion is to give those miles the respect they deserve. Don't ignore them in favor of the first or last miles. The middle miles are where it happens! Respect them and they will respect you back.

So, what to do?

Plan a route that takes you past great scenery at the middle of your run. Hide a cold drink at the half-way mark of your long run and actually pause to enjoy that treat when you get there. Think of the middle miles as carrying you from point A to point B, with many twists, turns and hills along the way.

If you find yourself trudging along in the middle miles, wanting to cut your run short, slow down. Take some of those middle miles as rest miles. Walk -- it's not going to kill you if you don't run every inch of every mile. Or, conversely, speed up! Sometimes you simply need to shake up your pace, to do something different.

Most important, in my mind, is to understand that the middle miles are the miles that get you where you need to go. Whether where you need to go is out for an easy 3-miler, or through a months-long training for a marathon. You run the middle miles to increase your distance, your strength, your endurance.

So, respect those miles. Treat them well. Love them for what they are!


E said...

I really liked this post. Thanks!

Lindy said...

Nice post! Those middle miles have always been a bear for me...full of self doubt. Thanks for the tips!

Chellie has Issues said...

I've never thought about it that way, but I agree and enjoyed your post. Those middle miles are the toughest to get through but very worhtwhile.

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