I am still in disbelief that I called myself “marathon training” when I lived in NYC, yet I never hit the track or did speedwork. What was I thinking?
A little bit is because of what I talked about yesterday, but a lot of it was just me making excuses and not pushing myself. The deeper reason behind that? Not quite sure. Fear, maybe?
Anyways, that’s in the past and today we’re talking about training for Twin Cities Marathon. I’m in the training cycle where I do mile repeats for a few weeks, and since it was the first week of them, last night was the easiest of them all… three mile repeats.
I like to do this workout on the treadmill, mostly because I can control my speed and not let the excuses sneak in and slow myself down. I do wish that my gym (in my apartment) actually had the treadmills lined up to face the TVs instead of the pool, because that is definitely the better entertainment (and turning my head to watch the TV seems super dangerous).
I ended up doing 3x1600m at 6:31 each… which I think marks the fastest that I’ve done this workout and I’m so proud of it.
For three miles.
I still can’t believe it.
My legs felt pretty solid, my lungs were burning and my mind was a bitch.
Mostly because it was a mental battle the entire time I was running (especially the last .40 of each mile) and I managed to beat my mind.
Beating your mind has to be one of the toughest things about a workout. I don’t know why our mind hates us getting in shape so much, but it amazes me how the excuses sneak in and tend to take over everything in our workout and make it seem so easy to quit. That’s one of the reasons why I like going to fitness classes like OTF —> you can’t quit. If you start slowing down, the coach catches you and that’s never a fun conversation.
But when you’re on your own, beating your mind is an entirely different ballgame. Last night — and over the years — there are a few things that I’ve found that work:
* Getting creative on the countdown —> if I’m doing a long run, for instance, and have 4 miles left, I’ll tell myself that I have 3 miles and change. I even do this on race day. Last night, I was doing this based on the minutes left (2 minutes and change). For some reason, that seems easier/more manageable than saying the full amount.
* Comparing it to another workout —> in OTF, we do things like “push” and “all out.” Pushes are a hard, sustained pace and we typically go no more than 3 minutes. All outs generally last one minute or less and it’s an all out sprint — as fast as you can go. Telling myself that it’s just a push for the next three minutes like in OTF makes it easier for my mind to wrap itself around.
* Telling myself one more mile —> I can always manage one more mile… and usually this is just trickery to get my mind out of the hole it’s in because a lot can change in a mile. Usually I get one more mile in, and I feel completely different about the situation and know I can push for the next mile.
* Thinking about the break that awaits —> Knowing that I only have to go for XX minutes or XX miles and I’m done for the next 24 hours, or 48 hours, can push me to the end of a workout pretty quick. I love my rest days.
* Promising myself a treat —> It’s almost like negotiating with a toddler. I always make every promise in the world for what I’ll eat after I get done with the workout (and 78% of the time, I don’t even want it anyways). Some workouts (like last Thursday’s 11 miler) require something simple like ice cold water, but others might be more like a burger and fries.
* Changing the subject —> Moving your mind off the workout can remove the battle altogether. This is the hardest thing to do when you’re on a treadmill (and not staring at a TV), but it definitely works… for a minute or two.
* Focusing on what DOESN’T hurt —> Often times, our brain starts screaming at us because it’s uncomfortable and it hurts. When I ran Santa Rosa Marathon last year, I remember I spent the first chunk of the race telling myself I felt (and looked) awesome and I think it worked. Looking at the positive makes such a difference when you’re beating your mind.
* Remembering the why —> Thinking about how good that sub-3:30 marathon will feel when I cross the finish line and how awesome it will feel to know that I crushed a tough workout are often enough to inspire me to keep going.
And lastly, I have a very exciting giveaway from Brooks Running! They want to hook one of you up with a sports bra from their Moving Comfort line. Personally, I love the two that I talked about yesterday and am also a big fan of the Juno.
Good luck! 🙂
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