Loving Long Runs

Did any of you guys make a special New Year’s Day dinner last night to hopefully bring a little luck your way in 2013?

For as long as I can remember, my mom always made pork, black-eyed peas and sauerkraut for dinner on New Year’s Day. These foods, along with a handful of others, are said to bring luck in the new year and since I like all of these foods anyway, I figured I’d keep the tradition going and prepared a meal centered around these “lucky” foods last night.

Though all of the sauerkraut was consumed last night (I love the stuff), there were some leftovers remaining that I threw together in a bowl for lunch today.

pork collard greens black eyed peas

I tossed leftover sautéed collard greens with the remaining black-eyed peas before topping the greens with sliced pork.

new year's day  lucky food

Just as good the second day!

Loving Long Runs

Right before lunch today, I took a brief 30-minute break to run three miles with Sadie.

3 mile run time

Something that seems to happen to me every time I train for a half marathon is happening to me again. I am loving my long runs, but find my midweek runs rather boring. I’m trying to vary the distance and pace of my midweek runs a bit to fight some of this boredom which is helping. Still, long runs are far and away my favorite part of half marathon training.

Each long run feels like an amazing accomplishment. When my long run is over, I am hit with a wonderful sense of satisfaction that I cannot seem to get from any other workout. While I’m out running a long run, I feel at peace. I fall into a groove and just go. Though my body may be struggling (running is never easy for me), my mind is clear as I focus on achieving a new distance record in my latest half marathon training plan.

This week I will be running 11 miles and I’ve already started to psych myself up for it!

Questions of the Afternoon

  • Have you ever trained for a race or athletic competition of some sort? What was your favorite part of training?
  • Do you hope to train for a race or athletic competition this year? Any big goals out there?


  1. says

    I’m thinking about running another half this summer… I always have have to think ahead to make sure sure that key training doesn’t need to happen when I’m on vacation or out of town.

    I also plan on running the Soldier Field 10 Mile (Chicago gal here) – it’s such a fun one!


  2. says

    I am training for my first full marathon. My favorite part of training is my long run but not because of boredom or anything. I like seeing how far I can push myself. I am so proud of myself each week if there is an increase in mileage. I did my first 16 miler last weekend. It was exhausting running through 16 miles of snow but I was so proud that I did it.


  3. says

    I have a couple of running/training goals this year: 1) run 700 miles (up from 624 in 2012); and 2) run a sub-25 minute 5k. This is my first “speed” goal in a long time, because I normally go for distance. This will force me to shake things up a little bit, which is not a bad thing! Happy running!


  4. says

    I agree with you, short runs when I was training for my last half were my least favorite! I’m running the Disney Princess Half in February. I haven’t started seriously training yet, eeek!


  5. says

    I’ve never trained for a marathon and don’t really have any aspirations to. Plus, my IT band won’t really allow it anyways. 😉 I get bored on long runs or doing long cardio sessions of any sort really. I like to keep things short, but effective. However, I would be up for doing one of those fun-looking color runs or mud obstacle courses. 😀 Enjoy your 11 miler this week!


  6. says

    running is like a drugs to me when I am in the groove. I have done two half marathons and training period is like a love-hate relationship for me. Due to cold weather i have stopped lately but I am planning on starting back on track. Also, I m going to look more into good luck food for new years, never heard of it before. this year I missed it, so maybe for next year :)


  7. Kira says

    How are you able to do long runs without aching?! I really want to run a half marathon but I find it difficult to go on long runs without getting shin splints and my shoulders (for some odd reason!) ache and I just have to stop! Any advice?


    • Tara says

      Kira-sounds like you may be hunching/ your shoulders when you run. I had a problem with aches in my shoulders and I realized I needed to relax them more when running…….if you have ever taken a spin class, you may hear the instructor informing you to ‘lower and loosen your shoulders’ same goes for running.
      Its something I have to remind myself to check on when I go longer distance, but its definitely improved the aches!
      Hope that helps!


  8. Tara says

    I just signed up for my first half, and I do not have alot of ‘long runs’ under my shoes!
    I did find something to motivate me for longer runs though.
    I usually do a 6-7 mile loop around my hood. This can get boring, its also the same route for my 3-4miles.
    So, on the weekends, I do a different route-to the next town over (7 mile run) and have my husband meet me at our favorite diner for breakfast!
    This way I get in my miles, get my protein fill (and chocolate milk!) and a ride back home : )


  9. Katie says

    Do you like your Garmin Forerunner 305? I am in the market to get a GPS/Heart rate monitor and would love to hear what you think about it! I am totally lost with all my options. I have also been looking at Polar monitors. I am not sure which direction to take. Thought I would give it a shot and ask you :-)

    BTW, I made my husband and I turnip greens, blackeyed peas, mac-n-cheese, and cornbread last night. Hoping for some of that financial luck this year! Totally forgot about pork, I will have to do that in 2014 😉


  10. says

    I was always the same way when I was training for a half-marathon. I hated the mid-week runs, but I always “enjoyed” my long runs. Like you, it was never ‘easy’ for me, but I felt such an awesome sense of accomplishment after it was over!


  11. says

    Happy New Year! When it comes to running, I always have to create tricks so keep me going. I’m not a natural runner at all so I definitely struggle too. I like running with others and one trick you could try is to change your running path. It can be fun navigating around a new area and keep you distracted! Keep it up!


  12. says

    My biggest goal this year is to achieve a PR in the half marathon distance. I will be running half marathon #6 this year, and I have written the goal down on a piece of paper in flashy colours so I will always stay focused! I find it’s easy for me to focus on a goal when it is written down and eye catching.

    The best thing for me about training is the accomplishment you feel after each training run. I completed eight miles yesterday, and I was flying on cloud nine for the whole entire day. Running clears my mind and kicks my ass all at the same time – so good!


  13. Alex says

    Happy New Year!!!!

    Last summer I helped out with a relay run called Ragnar. You make up a team of 12 runners and it is a relay run that is about 200 miles. Each runners runs 3 different legs. This is the one we do http://www.ragnarrelay.com/race/greatriver. My goal is to run on a team this summer for the August 2013 ragnar relay. It was very interesting and you live out of a van for 2 days. Runners even run overnight.


  14. says

    Hi Julie! Yes I trained for my first half marathon too last summer and I got those same feelings!

    I would mentally prepare myself by making sure I got plenty of good carbs in me the day before a long run (who doesn’t love an excuse to make some pasta!) and then I would feel completely ready to conquer the new longer distance!

    I would run those runs so slow at times but I never stopped! That was the key for me; I promised myself I could go as slow as I needed. Even if grandmas walking passed me 😉

    Good luck on your 11 mile run; you will do great!


  15. says

    I like the long weekend training (biking or running) the best too mid week sessions are usually interval or tempo so I still like them but I love to get out and just run or ride “easy” for hours. My big goal for 2013 is to finish my second ironman in less than 14 hours.


  16. says

    My goals are to run my first 10-miler and 1/2 marathon! I got hooked on the running drug a few years back and have run over 10 5Ks. I bookmarked your current 1/2 marathon plan to do later this year! Great idea about crossing runs off. PS, your blog is awesome!


  17. Lisa says

    I love running half marathons but am not the biggest fan of long runs. I absolutely love the rush and accomplishment I get after running a half marathon. One of my close friends and I run half marathons together and we help keep each other motivated. This year I’m going to sign up for a sprint triathlon. I’m comfortable with running and biking, but I think the swimming is going to be challenging, especially race day in open water. I’m hoping to get my husband to join me, I always stay motivated when I have a training buddy.


    • says

      Awesome goal! I love triathlons! Make sure you train in OPEN water! it is completely different from the pool! Stroke counting and spotting are good to practice with the swim:)


  18. says

    Sometimes I feel like I don’t get into a running groove until 6-7 miles! After that point I feel like I could keep running forever! I really struggle in the earlier miles.

    To keep short runs feeling like more of an accomplishment I really try and focus on being speedy!


  19. Beth says

    I love the feeling of jello-legs after a long run. I always come back home and make a big smoothie packed with greek yogurt to recover and just lay on the floor a while! May sound weird, but I like that next-day feeling of having really sore legs because it lets me know I worked hard!


  20. says

    I experience a similar feeling about my mid week runs. It takes me a while to get warmed up and hit my stride, so I definitely enjoy long runs better. After 3 minles, I’m just getting warmed up. I’m doing a half on February 3rd! Good luck on your half!


  21. says

    I definitely know what you mean! When I was training for my half, the short runs got super tedious, but I was able to get pumped for the long runs. I’m so inspired and impressed by your consistency and commitment to your goal – keep it up!


  22. says

    Even though my half-marathon this summer didn’t go as well as planned, I enjoyed training for the 13.1-mile distance. Long runs gave me an opportunity to reflect and zone out, but they didn’t destroy my social calendar (i.e. no super-early bedtimes for 20-plus-mile runs!). And since it was my first half, each long run equated to my new “longest distance run, ever,” which was pretty neat. Looking forward to training for another! :)


  23. says

    I am with ya with the short runs. I’m training for my first marathon and the short runs during the week are hard to get into but the long run is great and I totally look forward to them. Keep up the great training.


  24. says

    To motivate me for my mid week runs, I do Tradmaill Tuesday! I pick a treadmill workout that’ll last 35 or so minutes and do them on…you guessed it…Tuesday. For some reason having the name motivates me to actually do a midweek run!


  25. Carly says

    I love long runs as well! The farther I run the more I get into it and want to just keep going….plus I’m one of those people that loves thinking of my body as a machine…so I love to push myself as far as I can go. 2013 will be the year of my first half marathon and I’m super excited….do something special since I’ll be turning the big 3-0! “) I have a 7 yr old German short hair pointer and the max I like to take her is 6 miles because she is starting to get a little sore after our runs. 6 miles seems to be the sweet spot…and I know it will only go down from there for her distance running. Oh how I hate running without her :(


  26. says

    I never realized there were so many “lucky” foods until reading the blogs this year. Now I am dying to try making something with black-eyed peas. Sauerkraut I am not so sure about yet. I tried it several years back and was not fond of it, but would like to try it again soon. I hear it is good on pizza??


  27. says

    I have always felt the same way about long runs while half marathon training. Which is probably once of the reasons I ended up seriously injured after my last half marathon – my mid-week runs bored me so much I neglected them most of the time. Yeah – bad idea.

    I am planning to start training in about 2 weeks for a half marathon at the end of April! It will be my first half marathon since February 2011!


  28. says

    I’ve trained for Ironmans, half-Ironmans, Olympic and sprint-distance triathlons, marathons, and half marathons. Every distance has their ups and downs during training. I’ve had a blast competing in my Ironman and 70.3 (half IM) races.

    This year, I have a half marathon in March and in May. I’ll be riding bike in the French Alps in July (lots of climbing – good thing I live in Colorado and can train for it). I’m planning on signing up for a couple triathlons as well, as long as the schedule allows. Once your body has trained for so many years, it remembers. You don’t really lose that base. Love it!

    Best of luck in your half, Julie!


  29. says

    In the past, the best parts of training have been when I completed the last “long” run before the face–it helped me to know that race day was indeed going to go well!

    My goals for 2013 are to complete my first half marathon at the Cleveland Marathon in May 2013 and my first full marathon at the Towpath Marathon in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in October 2013.

    Have you ever tried running to a Pandora station? I ran to my 90s rap station last week and it really invigorated me on a really cold and windy day. I see the value of playlists and I definitely plan to keep utilizing my running playlist, but the anticipation of wondering what song was coming up next helped carry me through my runs, and the rush that came when a great song that I hadn’t heard for years came on was an added bonus.


  30. says

    Great job with your half marathon training! I read your Chicago Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon recap which got me really interested in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon series. Now I am training for the Nashville Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon coming up in April. This is the first time that I have stuck to a real training schedule and I’m noticing the same thing about enjoying the long runs much more than the short ones. I have noticed though that doing long runs makes it much harder to make excuses for skipping short runs. Good luck in your upcoming half marathon! Can’t wait to read the recap!


  31. Cait Coletti says

    Julie, you are awesome! I read your blog religiously and I started my new years resolution early on my 21st birthday (Dec. 23rd) it seemed to fit the occasion! The resolution is to RUN! In November I started running in intervals ( a tip from one of your readers) and doing strength training after I suffered a rut for 3 months. I built up more muscle in my leg and I figured I was strong enough to run and I am! I have been running everyday and it doesn’t matter the speed … just that I am doing it! My mom asked me, “How do you feel after your run?” the answer: Accomplished and Challenged. My body is happy and I can already tell a difference. I have been running 2-2.25 miles everyday with less and less slow downs. You are an inspiration! I thank you for getting me to where I am! Just knowing that I am not a naturally talented runner and don’t have to be really got me thinking!! And I actually LOVE running now! I am working towards a 5K! :) much love to you!


  32. says

    Ugh I hate long runs..and short runs..and running in general 😛 Haha! I’ve never heard that theory about eating lucky foods. Interesting :) Hope it brings you luck for 2013!


  33. says

    I’m running a 10-mile race in April and I’m thinking about registering for a half-marathon afterwards since I’ll already be most of the way there!
    Long runs are a little bit of a struggle for me, I feel amazing when I finish them, but they’re so mental for me, I freak myself out mentally about the length before I even start running.


  34. says

    I am training for my first half marathon right now (well, kind of, I’m giving myself a huge head start so I am starting with a 15k). I am loving the long runs mainly because it gives me time to get into a groove and start thinking about everything going on in my life. I have been doing my best thinking during my runs. The short runs don’t always give me time to think but I do have to admit I like how quickly I finish them!


  35. says

    I am getting back into running and my goal is to run a 10K this spring… the longest race distance I’ll have run. I’m hoping to work myself up to a half marathon by fall. Since high school, I’ve had problems with shin splints and stress fractures from running so my favorite part of training is when my shins don’t hurt!


  36. says

    I have my second half marathon next Saturday–The Walt Disney World Half Marathon. I was training for it in the fall and felt good so thought I’d try for the marathon. While running 16 miles, I injured my knee and it’s not quite back to par so I’m a little nervous about next weekend. I’ve only run 9 miles at the longest since then!



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