So, I've come to realize that my motivation is quite fickle. Its not really a bad thing, but something I know that I need to dig deep for. When I first started running, I had to suffer through getting to that 5k distance alone, like everyone else. But, once I was up to a solid 4-5 miles, I could join others and partake in the group runs....it was so easy to push myself to keep up and go a little farther. This is positive peer pressure! But looking back, running alone was so hard to stay motivated, even mid run. I'm right back there again...and trust me, its not easier this time around.
I think what hit me the hardest is the fact that the weather changed dramatically since my IT injury. It occurred a mere 2 months, in quite normal "spring" weather (for Florida). I've been trying to find motivation and determination these last 3 weeks, and I am completely demoralized! However, this week I finally realized that the weather is completely different....its truly summer here. And that is a HUGE difference to a runner who lives in Florida.
My approach, therefore, is quite different. First of all, I was trying to run too fast when I returned after my hiatus. Running a 10 min/mile pace is fine in Spring...but in Summer, that is a dreadful mistake for me. I should be aiming for 11 min/mile pace right now. Sure, I'm not there yet, but it will happen.
My self pity of not being able to run a mile straight without the desire to stop....well, again, most likely related to the weather. I started bringing water with me again....something I have not had to do since September! And even for short runs of 2 miles, water is needed. Seems like every 4-5 minutes, I take a sip and then also splash some on my face/neck and it keeps me from wanting to walk.
As for the difference, I didn't run for 6 weeks...so of course, I shouldn't expect to be able to run a 5k non-stop the first day out. Yeah, I was running 10 miles at a stretch, but I also need to remember that I am a new runner...and I need to build back up slowly. Sure, if I was running for 10 years and had to take 6 weeks off, this would have been a completely different story.
So, things have changed since I really ran. Hot, humid, need water, shorter distances and slower. I need to accept that, and find smart ways to slowly change that. The last few days, I've awoken early (hard for me!) and ran outside. These have been short 2ish mile runs...but done in an effort to better acclimatize me to the hot humid weather here. Also, since I had no fuel with me when I ran these, I will not expect faster times....need to remind myself of this. That being said, I've been ok with my 11:00+ pace. Its ridiculously slow, but once I get the distance up, I'm sure that will slowly change.
So, my goal for now is to run daily. Maybe it will stay at 2 miles or so, but I'm rather hoping that I can get it up to a 5k distance fast. I really would like to try 5k/day for 50 days now. I think this is the perfect time for me to give this challenge a go. So, the moment I hit 5k without stopping, I'm going for it. Maybe this will kick my butt into gear? It will certainly encourage me to sleep/rest well, eat nutritiously, and strengthen my muscles.