A couple years ago Josie told me to quit running at Creve Coeur Lake Park. She noticed that I was beginning to make negative associations with the park. For years CCLP had been my primary long run training location. The beautiful park has several different paved trails that lead around a couple lakes and streams. A big plus are the drinking fountains and bathrooms spaced out along the trail and then my favorite spot is the little gravel trail that runs through the woods. It was for all those reasons that weekend after weekend I would pack up my stuff and run long at Creve Coeur Lake. I really like to run, but I have to admit that marathon training long runs are something that I often have to talk myself into. They’re LONG. The repetitive drudgery creates fatigue and muscle soreness. Long runs challenge you mentally as you push to keep running. Marathon training is primarily building up long runs. Let’s say you run 8 miles one weekend, 10 the next and then 12 the weekend after that. Usually people will do something like 3 hard weeks and 1 easy, which would give you long runs like this: 8, 10, 12, 8. Every week I would have these little talks with myself “You ran 8 last week, 10 is only 2 more this week.” Ok, that doesn’t sound bad, how about this “You ran 20 last week 22 is only 2 miles more.” Yeah, once you hit the bigger numbers you find that the long run takes up most of your Saturday. Packing up gear, driving to the park, running 3+ hours, walking to cool down, driving home, and crashing on the couch. I began to dread Creve Coeur Lake Park.
I followed Josie’s advice and I quit running long at CCLP, in fact I avoided running there during my ironman training. Come to think of it, I’ve shunned long runs altogether since the ironman. Well, believe it or not, last weekend I ran at Creve Coeur Lake. That’s right, I ran my current long run of 9 miles at my favorite training location and it was great! This time when I started to run I remembered all the times I had worked my way up that marathon distance ladder. I’ve done it so often that it was second nature to pack my nutrition, drinks and my assorted layers of clothing. Running the first mile I smiled as I recalled my IM coach Liz giving me long runs with the instructions that the first 30 minutes were the warm up. As I trotted along the soccer fields I knew that it wouldn’t be long before I was running by the beautiful lake. Mile after mile I pulled out the good experiences, memories, and the past accomplishments. I’d done this before, I could do it again. I changed my focus and made positive associations with the park. That’s what I want you to consider: how do you focus and what associations you are making.
“You are a product of your environment. So choose the environment that will best develop you toward your objective. Analyze your life in terms of its environment. Are the things around you helping you toward success-or are they holding you back?” – W. Clement Stone