Thursday, October 29, 2009

90% Mental? I guess...

When I was at physical therapy on Tuesday, I was reading a Charlotte running magazine. One of the editors had set out to run the Boston Marathon. Apparently the first half of this race is a lot of downhill running, and the veteran runners will tell you not to get too excited and push past your pace, because the second half of the race will get you. He apparently wasn't thinking about that, because he started running too fast for the first half, and he was dying the second half. But, he did meet his goal to finish the race in under 4 hours...I think he made it in 3:57. One of the things I read in the magazine was that running was 90% mental and 10% physical. I think I agree with this...somewhat.

Case in point - yesterday, I went running with my coworker, T. Now T used to run track in college, and she was a 400 runner. And apparently a pretty good one. I hated that 400 and only ran it when forced to. But I haven't run track in 15 years or more. She apparently still has her track legs and her track lungs. We are running the 5K on Saturday, along with another co-worker. Yesterday we went for a 3 mile run. Before we got started she said, "now this is going to just be an easy jog, right?" Like I was gonna take off and sprint. I was like yeah, easy jog.

Peeps, an easy jog for me is a 12 minute mile pace. I can talk, laugh and all that at that pace. No problems. This about the pace we run when we do our long distance ru ns (6 miles or more). Had I been smarter, I would have asked her what she though "easy" was, and how she calculated that. It's harder to set your pace when you run outside, than it is on the treadmill. But just for math's sake, I'll tell you that a 12 minute mile means you are running at 5.0 on the treadmill, and a 10 minute mile means you are runing at 6.0 on the treadmill.

We get started and I let her set the pace. When we get to the 1 mile marker we are at 10 minutes. I'm breathing harder. It's a little harder to talk. I can still eek out a few sentences here and there. I tell her that it took is 10 minutes and she says ok. OK? Well, I guess I have to just try to hang in here with this. We run out to the 1.5 mile marker and turn around. When we get back to the 1.0 marker, that is another mile, and I see that it also took us 10 minutes. By this time, I'm breathing HARD. At least it seems that way to me. I feel like my heart is about to pound outta my chest! Break through the skin, climb up my chest to my face, and cuss me out. Literally.

I'm not sure what happened when she hit the 3/4 mile marker, but she just kept getting faster. At this point, I thought about the article, and the whle 90% mental. I really wanted to keep up with her. For one, I'd feel great to be able to finish at that pace. Secondly, I was just ready to be done with that 3 mile run. Third, I figured if I could run at a good clip today, I'd be great for the race on Saturday.

Hmph! I don't care what my MIND said, my body was NOT FEELING IT. NOT. FEELING. IT. I just kept watching T pull further and further away. I watched her foot turnover speed is simply not that fast! It's time for some speed work. Some intervals, some fartleks...something! At that point, it just became about finishing without walking, and without having a heart attack. She told me this morning that she didn't realize running a 10 minute mile was equivalent to getting on that treadmill and busting a move at 6.0 mph. In my mind, I was thining we are running like we are running for freedom on the Underground Railroad! I her mind, she thought that I was ok with the pace and that we were taking it easy. Go figure!

I'm going to estimate that I was about 40 seconds behind her when it was all said and done, but it really felt like an eternity. I think at that point she could have run 1/2 mile to a mile more, and I was about to keel over. Oh well. This just tells me that while my mind is ready, my cardiovascular system is NOT. Speed training is definitely in order. But I do agree that you have to have your mind right in any thing you are trying to do. If you tell yourself you can't do it, you won't be able to. I envision being able to run a 5K in 30 minutes or less, at some point. :)


Tazzee said...

I unofficially started the Couch25k program this past weekend. I won't officially start until I get some good running shoes.

So far, with the little bit of running I've done - it is largely mental. I find that in the beginning I have to talk myself out of quitting then I'm smooth sailing during the second half. I know that will probably change when I start running for real.

Marilie said...

Today I did a 3.5 mile run, but I pushed myself to do a faster pace. I was breathing so hard. There were several times in when I wanted to quit. Particularly at 1.75 miles, the halfway mark. To get to that mile marker you have to run a hill...then when you turn around you gotta go back up that same little hill...I pushed past that and got back to the 1.5 mile marker and checked my time for 2 miles. That motivated me to keep going. I am loving the Nike+. Wish I had gotten it sooner!

Good luck with your program! You can do it!