running on tired legs

This workout week has been something.  I took Saturday as my rest day this week, but still ended up walking a couple miles at my boyfriend’s jiu jitsu tournament because the campus where it took place was beyond beautiful.  Why is it that scenery plays such a large part of motivation to get moving?  In between his competitions, I would plug in my headphones and just go for a walk among the rolling hills.  It was the most serene feeling in the world and much more enjoyable than just sitting on my butt waiting.


The campus sat on a hill overlooking this bay and I just couldn’t get over it.  The next day, I was feeling rejuvenated from my rest and decided to go for a run.  7 miles later I felt on top of the world.  I hadn’t meant to go that far, but I was just wrapped up in the good feelings and that was that.  Well, not exactly that because I had my BBG Philly Meetup to get my butt to!  I am loving these meetups.  Some of these girls are the most inspiring, incredible, kind girls I’ve ever had the chance to meet, so when they had a redo of last weeks’ snowed out get together, I jumped at the chance.  The workout was 30 whole minutes of awesome death.  My legs were feeling it in the best possible way and even more so the next day.  I took the opportunity to sooth my legs by just focusing on my arms on Monday, but by Tuesday I was done.


I woke up on Tuesday and I just said “Nope.” and turned around and crawled into bed.  My legs were tired.  My arms were tired.  My abs were tired.  Working out just didn’t seem to be in the cards.

Fast forward a couple hours later and my lunch break was quickly approaching and all that was on my mind was “Maybe I could just hop over to the gym for a quick run”.  I work from home, so when I decided to take lunch, I changed into my workout gear and headed for the door.

The run felt amazing.  I felt strong and powerful and speedy to boot.  Then I got to thinking.  Sometimes it’s important to train on tired legs, especially if you’re training to run further distances and for longer periods of time.  You need to get used to that feeling of your legs and lungs being heavy and really working to produce each step.  The last thing you want is for this feeling to be unfamiliar when you need it most.

When you’re training for something, you’re often working your body in a million different ways and you can’t expect to be on your A game every single time you go out there.  But it’s these tired workouts that change us.  The ones that you don’t really want to do, but you do anyway and you walk away feeling like you’ve overcome everything.  You talk back to that voice in your head saying “just quit already” and you say, “I’ve got this”.

More than a physical obstacle, running on tired legs is in a whole nother mental ballpark.  Working out can be mentally challenging in a lot of ways.  I tend to workout alone so a lot of my brain power is spent motivating myself to keep going, telling myself I can do it, and convincing my brain that what I’m doing really isn’t all that crazy.  Training your mind is just as important as training your body if you truly want to be successful.

All this being said, sometimes it’s important to take it easy because injuries are a very real thing.  But, if you want to challenge yourself every now and again, don’t sell yourself short.  Pick up those tired legs and move em a little bit and show that voice in your head who’s boss.



pacing, pacing, pacing. junk miles vs. easy miles.

I’m starting to learn more and more about all the terrible things I’m doing while running these days.  My boyfriend was a collegiate runner and has made fun of me for years for running what he deems “junk miles”.  I used to scoff and him and think, “I’m in totally great running shape!  I run 4 quick miles every other day and I’m just getting faster!”.  Except I was wrong.  I know, I know I’m admitting I’m wrong and that’s a very hard thing to do but it’s also a very true thing!

Junk Miles: miles run at the same pace and the same distance every time you go out for a run.

Easy Miles: miles run at a comfortable, conversational pace.

If I keep running the same four miles every other day at the same pace for the rest of my life, where is that going to get me?  Three-quarters past nowhere.  I knew I needed to change things up and started reading some more and more info on the importance of easy runs, which were a total foreign concept to me.


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So why are easy runs important?

Even elite runners schedule in easy runs as part of their training.  Some of the fastest 5k runners with times of 14:30 and 15:12 pace their easy runs at 8:30 per mile.  Um.  Wow.  I never would have expected that in a million years.  So why does this work?

On easy days, you’re activating your slow-twitch muscle fibers. You are training the mitochondria and capillaries within them to better use oxygen and increase blood flow.  The easy runs are the building blocks for the more intense runs.  If you continually run at the same pace every time you go out there, you’re never going to get any better and will just coast.  To see improvement in speed and fitness, you need to challenge yourself even if that challenging thing is going slower than you ever anticipated.

Need help deciding which pace is right for you?  Look no further than the calculator here:

One of my new year’s resolutions this year is to run smarter.  I’m going to focus on pacing, form, and varying my workout types and really trying to get out and run in more unique places.  It’s time for a change & I’m pretty darn excited.