Wednesday, May 1, 2013

I'm too comfortable

How much of running is mental vs physical?

I've thought a lot about the mental aspect of running since The Shamrock Shuffle a month ago. While I ran a 3 minute PR that day, I knew I could have pushed a bit harder overall. The pace I ran felt too *comfortable* for a "lung burner" of a shorter race.

This year I've got a good handle on staying healthy* and really want to see what I'm capable of with some consistent training. Physically, I'm prepared- but mentally I'm a freaking wuss!

I'm also foam rolling, stregth training, using the stick & TP Kit like my life depends on it so that I remain injury free. It's absolutely working.

*Shin pain post 10 miler last week which scared me given my history with stress fractures in that same location. The stationary bike & I had a reunion and all is good again.

I need to channel my inner 15 year old badass self who wasn't afraid of pushing the pace.

I've got a 5k this weekend and I want to fly.

Historically I generally don't train for 5ks because I favor the longer distances a lot more, But this year I really wanted to give a good effort at some shorter distances before starting marathon training.

For 2012, I was pretty damn consistent at the 5k distance:

11/24/11 22:18 PR

1/1/12 23:37*
*Day after 20 miler. Definitely not on fresh legs

5/5/12 23:34*
*Following 4+months of non running due to the hip flexor injury of 2012

6/9/12 23:41*
*Hotter than &@$! Still injured

Mental Game Plan?

Did a hard 6x 400 workout yesterday to see how the shin was & felt freaking fantastic. Started at 6:37 pace and each 400 got a little faster so my 6th & final 400 was at 6:18 pace. I then entered that grey area of "will I barf or not" for 10 minutes. Must have been a hell of a workout!

I wish there was a way to "predict" my 5k time based off a workout (so I know what pace to go for), but since I've been underperforming at races, the pace calcs are of no use to me. I've got a number in my head that I'll be loosely shooting for but am more concerned with running by effort as opposed to being glued to the Garmin.

Inspiration. My Daad running his fastest 5k "old man PR" in 2011. He still holds all the current distance records between us. (Not to forget about his 16 minute 5k, 30 year old PR...)

Some things for me to remember for this weekend:

•You're so much stronger than 2012, and that 22:18 from 2011.

•Don't sell yourself short. You've put in many quality workouts.

•Let loose and FLY down that course.

•Physically, you've got this. Keep going when your mind says NO!

•This is your last chance before marathon training begins. Make it count!

•It's only 22 minutes. After that you can catch your breath.

•HTFU, and mind STFU.

•Have fun and smile!

- xaar


  1. I can totally relate to how you want to fly for this race. After training for so many longer races, a 5k is a nice, fast change of pace (so to speak)! It's even more awesome that you are injury-free and stronger than last year. Anyway, for what it's worth, here is how I race 5ks: In the first mile, I keep repeating the mantra "just hold back" and let everyone else go out too fast. From mile 1 to 2.5, I run semi-uncomfortably, reeling in a couple of runners always making sure I have just a little juice in the tank until mile mark 2.6. Then I leave it all out on the course from 2.6 until the finish line, passing those runners who have used up all of their energy just before the end. It is such an exhilarating feeling to fly at the end of a 5k! Okay, now I need to run one too! :) Good luck!

  2. You DO have this! I nearly PR'd a 5k this weekend without really even trying for the same reasons - I've had a ton of great work-outs, I'm stronger now than before, and my foam roller, stick and I have been besties for a couple months now. And if all else fails, remember your last bullet point - have fun!

  3. I think you can do that, just start out fast (but not too fast that you don't think you could keep it up for long), and then just try to keep gradually increasing your speed during the race. And yea, you probably want to be verging on the barfing pace, and at the start of mile 3 you should really be hurting lol

  4. I totally know what you mean about the mental aspect. I am my own worst enemy out there on the road. I psych myself out too much and doubt my abilities. I start to slow, die in the middle, or don't push to a strong finish like I know I can/should. I think if you go out there, run how you feel (without worrying about the pace), you'll PR no problem! You've put in some amazing workouts and your legs will follow!

    Best of luck!!! :)

  5. Ugh. The mental game is the WORST. However, I think you're going to crush it! It sounds like your last run gave you physical confidence to tackle the mental! Good luck!

  6. Oh girl, with your healthy running streak this year, you have definitely got a PR in the words for you. Have a fantastic race!!

  7. wow you are from a super speedy family!

    I fight with mental all the time. I am glad to hear it isn't just me.

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  9. I have a feeling you have a pretty big PR in you!!!! If you can PR by 3 minutes in a longer race and still feel good, you got this girl! I will be rooting for you.

  10. You go, girl. You've so got this - unleash that beast mode!

  11. Love the list of things to remember. Good luck! You've got this!

  12. The list of things to remember is fantastic - I am going to bookmark it and reread it anytime I need my own mental boost. And I totally understand the feeling of being too comfortable. I know that I could do better at some of my longer-distance races but I get scared of the discomfort from pushing myself to get there. In any event, CONGRATS AGAIN on your PR yesterday!!! YOU ROCK!!!

  13. Sorry I am seeing this so late!!! :) Now that I have read it, were you close to your time goal and happy with how it was executed? I think... yes? :)