Yesterday marked the start of my 16-week training plan to the 2015 Tokyo Marathon. It was like the first day at work or even your first day in school – the day which would dictate and define your journey ahead. Kinda like “the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” I knew that I would run later in the day and I swore to myself that I would get off work early, avoid any side trips or late night escapades, so I could get home and run and get to bed at a decent hour.
But for some reason I felt lethargic. Maybe it was because I woke up at 5 in the morning. Maybe because it was a slow and uneventful day at work. Maybe because I only had one cup of coffee the whole day. For whatever reason I was sleepy. On the way home I was yawning and my eyelids felt heavy. The thought of a 15-minute nap was extremely tempting but I knew that if I succumbed to that temptation I wouldn't be able to run. My head hurt and I was woozy. I felt clumsy and was becoming cranky. I was already playing around with the idea of postponing my run for Tuesday morning.
Still I ran. I didn't want any excuses for my first day of training. I also didn't want to get some nasty comments from my coach (I doubt it though – he doesn't seem the type but who knows?) So I forced myself to run. My training plan called for an easy 30-minute run followed by 10-minute strides so I told myself that all I had to do was run for half an hour. I was telling myself that if I was going to quit just because I was drowsy or lethargic then what more if when my legs are cramping after 30 kms? I was already compromising with myself and telling myself that I could postpone the 10-minute strides for another day. I struggled into my running clothes, strapped on my HR monitor, laced up my shoes, and stepped outside. Based on Sunday's 10k run, I figured I could take it easy with a 9 minute pace. After a few minutes things got easier and I was getting into the groove. I found that my HR was lower than usual, probably because of the cool evening weather, even if I was running at a relatively faster pace, roughly around 8:45 a kilometer. The sleepiness faded away and it became a normal run. I finished with plenty of energy and was able to do the 10-minute strides routine, which was fun.
In the end, whatever drowsiness or lethargy I felt was gone. I felt refreshed and rejuvenated. I was able to have a good dinner, able to read through some office emails, even finished watching the latest episode of The Walking Dead!
So, the lesson of the day is to do an easy run even if you feel lethargic. It may seem counter-intuitive, but it can be an energy-boost!
Run stats: covered 3.5 kilometers in 30 minutes, average HR was 128.