Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Fully Baked

Running professionals state that it's better to toe the race line slightly undercooked than overbaked, meaning it's better to be undertrained than to show up overtrained. Cookies and brownies taste better slightly underbaked. Of course, it's best to time training, recovery, life to make it to the start at peak condition (Optimal Training)--to be perfectly baked like cakes. As I reflect on my just completed spring racing/training season I realize I have a lot to learn about skating running this fine line. 

I didn't perform as well as I expected during my final race of the season (OC 1/2 Marathon). I'm certainly stronger and faster now than I was at the start of the season. The last few weeks of training, I felt exhausted and on the edge of getting sick. Did I get to Race Day with a less than full tank?

My race strategy was to run the first 6 or so miles slightly faster than my goal 1/2 marathon race pace (8:00/mile) because the first part is fast and downhill. I spoke to the 1:40 pace leader and this was his strategy too. Bank some time for the later hills at 6 1/2 and 11 miles. Soon after I started the race, I felt that my nutrition was off. That maybe I didn't eat enough of the right foods the day before. I patted myself on my back for not quitting even though I felt like it after 4 miles. 

I pride myself on having great perseverance. I don't quit. That night, I talked to Paul about my race experience and how I'm always able to dig in and finish. I didn't push myself as hard as I am capable and still had a decent finish time (3rd fastest 1/2 marathon time & course record for me. Not official because my timing chip didn't work. grr.)

And this is what he said {and it's a perfect example about why I love this man. I love the way he thinks and lets me see things from a different perspective and sometimes is should be blatantly obvious but somehow I'm blind to} : Well, if you stop pushing yourself during a race--isn't that like quitting and giving up? 

OMG. Lightbulb moment. 

I finish. I have no problem finishing. That's not an issue with me. I realized that my body is able but I haven't trained my mind to keep up with it. I start feeling uncomfortable, I start feeling like quitting--but instead of digging deeper to continue, I pull back. My physical training was evident by my finish time~1:49:19* 8:13/mile. Still speedy, even though I didn't try 100%.
Mental will is a muscle that needs exercise, just like the muscles of the body ~ Lynn Jennings, Three-time world cross-country champion
This was the first time I've defined a training season and followed a training plan. My spring racing season training started on December 15, 2014 when I started following the Runner's World Break 1:45 Half-Marathon Training Plan. This was my entry into real speed, tempo, track etc workouts in addition to my long slow distance runs. Each time I went on a run, I ran with a purpose. 

I knew the importance of mental training before my race. Now I know in my heart, mind, body and soul.I'm carrying the lesson with me when I start my new training season in 4 weeks. 

Spring Racing Season by the Numbers:

  • Length: 20 Weeks (December 15, 2014 - May 3, 2015)
  • Miles Run: 825.7 miles (Avg 41.3 miles/week; 5.9 miles/day)
  • Dog miles: 52.4 miles (This is an underestimation. Only counting runs with Nani or #dogmiles in title of run. I started the #dogmiles tag towards the end of my season. I now tag all runs with Nani with it.)
  • Races: 2 5-Ks, 2 half-marathons, 1 marathon

*My D-Tag/Timing Chip was defective. I've submitted a results correction to the organizers and as of today have not received an official decision on my time.

No comments:

Post a Comment