Counting My Steps

I currently have perhaps the lowest amount of running fitness that I’ve had in three or four years.  I can literally (and quite sadly) count the number of times I’ve run in 2012 on one hand.  While I’ve started working on that, the bottom line is that runs hurt.

My quads hurt and get tired.  My heart rate spikes.  I’m not really enjoying running right now – because I’m so out of “run shape”.  Almost every time I run, I get just a little bit into it, and start having thoughts about stopping.

You know.  Thoughts like, “just walk 50 yards.”  Or, “I just need to catch my breath.”  Many of us fall into this trap.  In fact, I suspect it’s thoughts like these that keep lots of folks from ever really getting into shape.  They fight with themselves, and eventually just give up.  I’m no stranger to these thoughts (as evidenced by my prior writings on the mental aspects of endurance sports).

This morning during my run, the same thing happened.  I got about a mile in, and was ready to stop.  Only this time I didn’t.  Instead of having that internal conversation with myself regarding the merits of walking or not walking, I decided to completely take my mind off of it.


I started counting.  Each time my left foot hit, I counted.  I counted up to 250 paces, and then started over.  I did it until I was done with my 4.5 mile run.

Guess what?  It WORKED.  Suddenly, my legs didn’t feel as tired.  I wasn’t constantly thinking about walking or stopping my run altogether. My breathing became normalized.  While I wasn’t wearing my heart rate monitor, I suspect that my rate settled down too.

Perhaps that’s the solution for me.  Who knows.  I’ve decided, though, that the next time I feel like I need to walk or quit, I’m going to start counting again.  And maybe next time I’ll mix it up a little – count once in English, once in French, once in Spanish.

Given that effort, count me as running 1, quitting 0.


4 thoughts on “Counting My Steps

  1. What ever works Rainman!

    Sometimes when I start running and am not feeling it I force myself to do strides. Usually just about 100m or so. I will do 5 or 6 of these and it always gets me going? Not sure if it is the changing up to a harder pace or the adrenaline rush from the harder effort but it always seems to work?

  2. Congrats for finding something to get through your run! I know it can be difficult some times. I have that problem as well. I can’t think right now what I do to make it better but I am sure I do something.

  3. Oh my gosh! I totally count steps during a run. Except I’m a little more spacey on my runs and can only get to 100 or so before I’ve lost count. Good luck and keep it up! 250 at a time!

  4. If you’re going to count steps put a clock on it as well. Count the number of left foot strikes per minute and compare it to 90. An excellent guide to managing your stride length to avoid putting the breaks on with your heel (overstriding). I had a former D1 runner skeptically try it and he would hit 90 over and over. He has a perfect stride!

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