This summer I have surprised myself more times than I can count. I've hit paces faster than I thought were possible, climbed hills I thought would eat me alive, and raced like I had nothing to lose. If I've learned one thing this summer it's to take chances. My fitness level is a million times higher than last summer and I know it's because of all the work I've put in over the last three months.
I'm not sure when I made the change but somewhere along the way I stopped going through the motions during workouts and started trying to really push myself. I didn't want to survive a workout, I wanted to dominate it. It may sound a bit obvious to go hard during workouts but it's all too easy to stay within your comfort zone. I know that if I want to become the kind of athlete I want to be I need to reach outside my comfort zone and not be afraid to fail.
For the past three weeks I've done the same interval run and each week the run went very differently.
15 min warm up
2x [1min on, 1 min off, 2 min on, 2 min off, 3 min on, 3 min off]
10 min warm down
The first time I was in Chincoteague on vacation and the temps were probably low 70's with low humidity. I had had a couple crappy runs the previous two days and lacking confidence going into the workout. As soon as I started running I knew it was going to be great though. My legs felt light and quick, and I felt like I nailed the workout. Afterwards I remember coming home and telling my dad it was one of the strongest workouts I'd had all summer.
1 min @ 7:16, 7:06
2 min @ 7:42, 7:27
3 min @ 7:40, 7:21
Avg pace 8:31
The second time I did this workout was when I was in the Florida Keys where it was at least 90 degrees all day long. It was ~15 mph winds and very humid too. This run was a struggle but I fought really freaking hard for it. I felt pretty crappy and my calves were insanely tight but I managed to run pretty comparable to the week before. Some faster, some slower.
1 min @ 7:24, 7:28
2 min @ 7:32, 7:20
3 min @ 7:51, 7:13
Avg pace 8:40
Thursday evening I did this workout for a third time, this time on the track. Both Chincoteague & Florida are super flat so I thought it would be pretty consistent with the past two times I did it. Between Sunday's race and lifting heavy on Tuesday my hamstrings were crazy tight and never fully loosened up. The weather was warmer than in Chincoteague but definitely cooler than Florida. Between my tight legs and moving back to school on Wednesday & Thursday I wasn't expecting anything special here.
Before I started the workout I told myself to run as hard as my body would let me on that given day. Effort is more important than pace. As you can see I absolutely crushed this workout. I'm assuming some of the extra speed is attributed to doing this on a track but still, that's a huge improvement! I know that in order to be making so much progress I have to be something right, which is an incredible feeling.
1 min @ 6:35, 6:37
2 min @ 7:00, 6:46
3 min @ 6:51, 6:54
Avg pace 8:19
I have a little over two months until the New York City Marathon and I know the only way I'm going to achieve my goal [which I haven't said yet] is to get really far out of my comfort zone. I don't want to look back and wish I could have done more or run harder. I want to show up to Staten Island knowing that I put in the work and am ready to conquer those 26.2 miles.