Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Confidence Building Runs

I have struggled with low self-esteem issues for as long as I can remember. I was an above average swimmer and always had straight A's so I'm not entirely sure where my lack of confidence comes from. This lovely trait of mine continues to plague me as a runner as well. Sometimes I think it is actually good to be not completely confident so that you don't put too much pressure on yourself or expect too much. But at the same time that lack of confidence can knock you out of the game before it even starts.

When I first started training for the Nike Women's Half Marathon back in January I saw a lot of improvement in my running. My pace for easy runs dropped from a 10 minute mile to close to a 9 minute mile in only a few weeks. I was nailing my long runs and getting even faster. I was full of confidence about breaking the two hour mark. The problem was that I was too confident. I was losing motivation and skipped one too many workouts in favor of dinner with friends or just out of sheer laziness. My paces plateaued and my confidence plummeted. The worse my confidence was in my ability to get hard runs done the worse I actually did on those runs. It felt like a never ending circle.

Best running buddy!

After having a rest week last week I was feeling refreshed and ready to take on this last training block before my race. But things didn't exactly go as I had hoped. My first few workouts of the week were painfully bad. I felt tired, heavy, just awful. Not much in the way of helping my confidence levels. Wednesday night's track run turned things around for me. I was still nervous about Friday's long run but I wasn't dreading it anymore because at least some small part of me knew I could do it. And do it I did. Not only was I able to nail my prescribed paces but I went even faster on a pretty dang windy day.

Here was the plan:
2 mile w/u, 1 @ 8:20, .5 @ 9:00, 1 @ 8:10, .5 @ 9:00, 1 @ 8:00, .5 @8:30, 1 @ 7:50, .5 @ 8:30, 2 c/d

My splits for the hard miles:
8:19, 8:08, 7:47, 7:44

The first mile interval was pretty challenging but during the second one I started to get the hang of it. I felt great during the third one and decided to run hard and not look at my watch and see how it went. I was shocked to see 7:47. I felt like I was running closer to 7:57. For the last interval I was hoping to go under 7:40 but the wind got the better of me. There definitely wasn't a lack of effort though.

Maybe it's because I've been improving so quickly and my mind hasn't had time to catch up with my body but I still have a hard time comprehending that I can run sub 8 minute miles. Not long ago I was happy to see a number that started with an eight. Even as I'm writing this I am doubting myself about next week's long run.  Besides the obvious running I am going to try to spend the last weeks of training focusing on the mental side of it all. Even if my body is capable if my mind is not on board it is going to be hard to accomplish much. Looks like I'll be having quite a few dates with my Believe I Am journal.


  1. Hi, Nice writeup. I can totally connect when you say I was too confident about sub 2 hr mark. Good luck for your runs. keep sharing.

  2. I totally am the same way...wasn't a bad swimmer, great student, horrible confidence. It's so hard for me to figure out the confidence aspect...struggle city!