The “Best” Running Tip Ever!

The Long Run

Yesterday, I ventured out of my comfort zone to meet up with a group of friends to run a portion of the Grassy Waters Preserve trail system in West Palm Beach, FL. I typically prefer to run in the Jupiter area, but decided it was time I explored something new and I’m so glad I did! Since I wanted to run at least 15 miles this weekend, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to do so and not have to run alone! So I met up with the group at 7 AM and planned to run two 8-mile loops around a portion of the trail system known as the Owahee Trail.

Trio of Runners
Trail running phenoms!

The 16-mile Challenge

There were seven of us at the start and I knew it was going to be a challenge for me to even finish the two 8-miles loops so I tried to pace myself accordingly. Thankfully, whenever a group of us makes plans to run together there are usually a variety of paces represented – a few “really fast” runners, and some, like me, who need to take their time to ensure the distance can be completed.

Lap #1 – Check!

The first lap was an experience in and of itself because, having never been there before, a few of the more experienced runners stayed with me and made sure I didn’t get lost!

Apoxee Trail
Entrance to the Apoxee Trail, from the Owahee Trail

I enjoyed seeing new scenery, lots of trees, birds, and natural bodies of water, and similarly, lots of gators! I saw a few large ones from a distance, and many smaller ones right alongside the trail as I ran.

Lap # 2 – The Real Challenge

We had started the first lap early to try to avoid the heat, but unfortunately this simply isn’t possible in August in south Florida. In fact, one of my running mates had informed me at the start that “the second lap will be brutal!”. So by the time we started our second lap it was nearly 90 degrees, very humid, and of course, sunny and hot as blazes.

Running Mates
My very patient and supportive running mates

Considering both the weather conditions and the planned distance, I knew the second eight miles were going to be a real challenge.  A few of the faster runners were WAY ahead of me (having started their second lap at least ten minutes before me) and a few others were trying a run/walk combination. If I wanted to continue to run (and not walk) at least the first few miles of the second lap, I knew I was going to be running the second lap by myself. This meant I would probably need both entertainment and a way to pace myself.

Music, Motivation, and Cadence

Listening to music always motivates me and I have found that when matching the music’s BPM (beats per minute) to my running cadence (steps per minute) it’s a surefire way to pace myself. So this was the perfect solution. In the past, the only way I could have instantly pulled up a playlist at the right BPM would have been to open my iPhone’s Music app and select one of the playlists of purchased music I had put together specifically for this purpose. But all of the songs in those playlists are overplayed and quite frankly, I don’t find them all that motivating anymore.

Me, contemplating the last five miles…

Luckily, I had another option available as I had just put together a test version of the Cadence Booster training program. One of the optional sessions I created is called a Cadence Long Run, and it consists of two hours of music made up of 24 different five-minute songs. This was the perfect opportunity to try this one out!

To B, or not to B

Since I had created three ability levels for each session of my program, I considered using the Level A long run (the slowest one) because I was very tired after having already run eight miles and the weather conditions were so oppressive. But when I went to select the A-level track I realized I hadn’t downloaded it to my phone so I chose the B level one instead! The music at this level hovers right around 175 beats per minute, and I found I was actually able to run at this rate quite easily. In fact, I ran the next four miles without walking before the beating sun finally took its toll, and I half-walked, half-ran the final four miles. Next week I plan to run 20 miles on Sunday, so wish me luck!

A Tip and a Gift

So my tip to you is to use music whenever you need to motivate yourself to keep going or to pace yourself when you’re running solo.

And if you’d like to try out some of the running music I’ve created for my program for yourself, just let me know by clicking here and I would love, love, love to share it with you too!

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