The most difficult part of marathon training is not the long run, it is the day after.
On Monday I ran 15 miles from our house (altitude of 5,200 feet) up to the lower tram terminal (altitude 6,500 feet), several hundred feet higher on the Tramway Trail, and back home.
These long runs are exhilarating. I love the challenge of swinging my arms for strength as I climb uphill. I love the quick turnover of my legs as I speed downhill. Whenever I finish a long run, I know I could have gone further.
The hard part comes the following morning when I do a three-mile recovery run around the neighborhood. Those same legs that were turning over with speed and precision yesterday suddenly feel heavy and sore. On these “day after” runs, my body moves slowly; each movement is countered with great reluctance. Whenever I finish a short run, I wonder if I could have taken another single step.
One of the great ironies of running: the longer the run, the greater the joy—the shorter the run, the greater the pain.