I don’t know what has changed, but I’m loving running again.
I think it was just a simple change in mindset. Instead of “having” to do X # of miles, I’m now enjoying every one of them. I don’t HAVE to do any of this, no one is making me. So no use in making it feel like a chore.
I think it’s also helped that I’m starting to feel faster. I can’t 100% tell (can’t really do workouts to compare apples to apples to this summer), but I think I am. My lungs feel strong, and the little bit I did measure myself on my runs this week, they were fairly quick (yesterday’s workout was 11 miles: 3 WU, then 5 miles of 2 minutes on, 1 min easy, 1 min hard, 30 sec easy, 30 sec hard, 30 sec easy… repeat until you’ve done a total of 5 miles. Most of the fast stuff was 5:30-5:35, which is at or a little bit faster that what the Daniels plan suggests for me).
Another thing I’ve changed: I’m not looking at the watch as much. When my plan says to go hard, I try to make it as hard as I can. When it says to go easy, I enjoy what feels “easy”. Sort of a nice break. I can be a slave to pace when the weather is better and I need to memorize a few key paces. Right now, I just need to put in miles and become fit. That doesn’t require constant monitoring.
Jim, my chiropractor (I might refer to him as “miracle worker” from now on, he’s that good), also said it best: “If you didn’t see Nate in two weeks, and you saw him again, would you be elated just to see/be with him? It’s the same with running. Maybe you need to step away for a while to get back to where you love it, you’re excited for every mile, every minute of it”. 🙂
P.S. To look back and compare to last year (I like to do this every once in a while). My mileage for this winter has been much more consistent:
Since 11/07/10: 60, 69, 54, 68, 55, 70 (average of 62). Add in an average of an hour a week of strength (there was over a week where I didn’t do any strength…) and some skiing, and my weekly training hours have been at 9.2 hours/week.
Last year for the same 6 weeks my mileage was: 45, 55, 65, 21, 53, 44 (average of 47) (with skiing 2.5 hours/week, total hours per week averaged 8.9 hours).