I keep updating my weekly workout post and it keeps getting really wordy. Well, wordier than usual. Instead, I’ve decided that means bonus posts this week for you 🙂
I’ve dubbed Tuesday’s as “Track Tuesday”. For the past 14 weeks, Hansons has me doing some sort of track workout. Since beginning this training plan, the nature of the workouts have evolved (starting with 5K pace for the first 10 weeks, changing to marathon pace minus 10 seconds/mile over the past four weeks), but the intention is still the same: to build speed, strength, and confidence. Each week, these workouts test me physically and mentally. Over the past 14 weeks, I’ve gone from being scared of these workouts to genuinely looking forward to them.
This past Tuesday, however, I was nervous for my workout. Partially due to the nature of the workout, but also because of the circumstances surrounding it. The pace/distance was appropriate, so it wasn’t that. It came after a string of “meh” runs: nothing was really wrong with my past few runs, I just wasn’t feeling great. I was missing the peppy feeling my legs had for the first 12 weeks of training and feared the cumulative fatigue had settled in for the long haul. To top things off, we had a faculty meeting after school which meant I had to start this workout about an hour later than usual.
The past 13 weeks of track workouts have led up to this one workout. This was the final long track workout in my training plan. After this week, the track workouts continue, but the distances begin to decrease. In week 2, Track Tuesday began with a bunch of 400s at 5K pace. In week 14, however, I was gearing up to conquer 2×3 mile repeats. Three miles at a good clip. Twice. It’s not at 5K pace -it’s marathon pace minus 10 seconds/mile – but you might as well tell me that I have to run back to back 5Ks on a Tuesday afternoon. I was intimidated. I know I ran my recent 10 miler faster than this, but that was a race.
Training runs are a different beast for me. Pushing myself in a race seems to come naturally, but during a training run it often seems impossible. Whenever I’m asked to do something that takes me out of my comfort zone, it scares me. A little fear in marathon training is healthy. It keeps your respect for the marathon distance in tact and your ego in check. That still didn’t console me.
I grabbed my usual afternoon Starbucks fix and headed to my preferred trail. I stopped doing these workouts on the track or treadmill when the pace goal changed to the MP -10 seconds/mile. It challenges me to get out on some mixed terrain, and these workouts end up being pretty long (13-14 miles with warm up, cool down, and recoveries). I have a hard time stomaching a track or treadmill for that distance.
I changed into my running clothes and sat in my car for a
eternity moment to talk myself into doing the workout. I wanted to go home and just lay on my couch. I wanted to make the dinner I’d planned for after the workout. I wanted so badly to just call it a day. My motivation was lacking, but I told myself: this was IT. The hardest track workout of the whole plan. After this, Track Tuesday will bring you challenges you’ve already faced. It might not get easier, but it will be familiar. My mantra on days like this – where I want to quit but can see the light at the end of the tunnel:
I just have to do this one thing. Just this one thing.
I repeat this to myself often – whenever I’m about to face any challenge in general, not just with running. I don’t know where it came from or when I started saying it, but I can clearly remember times where those words have helped me take the first step towards something challenging or scary. In high school, opening night of a show where I had a lead role and I was nervous – I just have to do this one thing. My first day of graduate school, when I showed up on Bloomsburg University’s campus after quitting my job and deciding to completely change careers to become a teacher – I just have to do this one thing. Showing up at races where I know I’m going to lay it all on the line – I just have to do this one thing.
So I laced up my sneakers, hit start on my Garmin and did “this one thing.” I began my warm-up, and began to feel relief. I knew by the feel of the first mile that it was going to be okay. I finished the three mile warm up, and hit the first round of intervals hard. The overall goal was to run each 3 mile interval in 20:30, or a 6:50 pace (marathon pace minus 10 seconds/mile).
- 3 Mile Interval #1 – 20:01 (6:40/mile); 1 mile walk/jog recovery – I walked a 400 and took in a GU, and jogged the remainder of the mile slowly before the second interval.
- 3 Mile Interval #2 – 20:10 (6:43/mile); 1 mile walk/jog recovery – same format: Ran the 3 at pace, followed by a recovery mile.
Finally, I could run it in and relax on my cooldown. The workout ended up being 14 total miles. I just did that one thing.
Have you ever had one of those questionable workouts where you know you can do it – you know the task ahead something you’re capable of – but you just don’t know if you have it in you that day? This was that workout, and when I hit the final mile of my last interval I knew I did it. That’s one of the best feelings. That’s where I get a true runner’s high. The last interval on the sketchy days when you know you nailed it. You know with utmost certainty that you really can do just one more thing. Not because I had a good run, because I tackled something scary in less than favorable conditions. It’s a confidence boost, and it makes you feel like you are capable of anything. Not just in regards to running. After a run like that, I feel like I can do absolutely anything.
So the next time you’re about to begin a workout that intimidates you, or you’re taking a step towards something in life that scares you, fast forward in your head to the end result. Remember that the things that scare you the most often will bring you the most joy and success…if you just do that one thing.
♥ ♥ ♥
What gets you out the door for a hard workout?