Sunday, February 24, 2013

To Get There, You Have to Go There

This weekend I had two hard runs on my schedule. A 75 minute "long" run on Friday and a tempo run on Sunday. These came after a solid week of training that included two swims, a brick workout, a one very tough hill workout. I am starting to feel like I am in training. I usually recover pretty quickly but I found my legs a bit more tired than normal this week, which left me questioning whether I would be able to hit my prescribed paces.

My hill workout on Wednesday was unlike any run I've ever done. I've done my fair share of hard workouts but this one left me feeling like I was going to throw up and my legs were going to fall off at the end of each repeat. I've never been one of those people who can stay in the moment an focus on the mile or repeat they are currently running but every time I thought about how many more repeats I had left I wanted to quit. I told myself to run that repeat as hard as I could and I would worry about the rest later. I figured if I went too hard early on and ended up dying it was better than going too easy.

After I finished my last repeat I layed down in the grass and had multiple passersby ask if I was okay. I hated this workout while I was doing it but I was proud of myself for not giving up and pushing through. I know it will only make me stronger come race day, both physically and mentally.

When I woke up Friday morning for my long run my legs were still tired. I had been confident all week about this run but when I was tired from just going up the stairs I started to get nervous. I changed my plan from just running under 8:40 min/mile pace to focusing on pacing and running negative splits. I figured this would distract me mentally, not be as taxing on my legs, and be good practice for race day.

From last week's run but equally as nice out

Instead of starting my run trying to run at an 8:40 pace I went at a comfortable pace. I knew I had to get progressively faster so I didn't want to push the pace so early on. I also tried to run by feel and didn't look at my watch for the first half of the run. On the second half I checked it every 10 minutes or so just to make sure my pace was dropping enough.

After about an hour I started to get tired. My legs were spent and I was tired in general from not getting a lot of sleep the night before. I don't like teaching myself that quitting or giving in to feeling tired is okay so I picked up the pace even more. I ended up finishing with 8.8 miles in 75 minutes for an 8:31 pace, something I am very pleased with considering how tired I was going in to the run. I also ran perfect negative splits!

Like Friday, when I woke up this morning my legs were still tired. I, again, wondered how I was going to do a tempo run on such tired legs. Instead of being nervous I tried to take the same approach as I did my hill workout on Wednesday. Do my best and focus on the interval I'm running. If the second one ends up being a bust at least I didn't give up. I also thought about this post from Jess. I know that if I want to achieve my goals as a runner I'm going to have to get out of my comfort zone and take some risks.

If you want to GET there, you have to GO there.

I did my warm up and then got started. The first interval didn't feel so great but after checking my garmin stats I realized I was running gradually uphill the entire time. Good to know. There were times when I struggled to maintain an 8:10 pace but every time I saw a number above that I surged. I kept a pretty steady eye on my watch to ensure I never slowed down too much.

Interval #1: 15 minutes at 8:08 pace

For the second interval, though, I covered my watch and ran by feel. Although it was a gradual downhill, it was visible and I couldn't even tell as I was running. When I finally checked my watch I only had 90 seconds left and was very surprised by the pace I saw. I felt good but didn't think I was running that fast.

Interval #2: 15 minutes at 7:51 pace

This week taught me that my body is capable than way more than I let myself believe. Even on tired legs I still had really good runs this week. I need to trust in my training and be more willing to take risks. As my favorite birds say go fast, take chances. Well that is my plan for the rest of training.

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