Monday, January 17, 2011

Mental toughness and the tempo run.

As you can see, I have decided to switch to my own domain.  I have been toying with the idea for a while.  The main reason is that a meet new people all of the time – we end up talking about healthy eating, exercise and of course triathlon.  I have some business cards that I pass out but I always have to write my blog url on the back – that is a pain.  So, here we are – the blog and the website have become one.  I really would appreciate comments on the format and style of the new site – it is a work in progress – but I am receptive.

Oh yeah, I know that this is a pain but please bookmark and follow this new site.  When I made the switch I had 147 followers – I hope to still see each of you around.



On the running front, well, I have been having a tough time.  On Thursday I achieved success with the planned run – 10 miles @ 6:50 pace.  That is my marathon pace (M pace).  On Friday I ran an easy 5 or so miles – I was shooting some video (see below).  Saturday would be the challenge – 15 miles @ 7:00 pace (M + 10).  I was excited and scared at the same time for this run.

I headed out to the trace – I walked to the trace, I was doing high lifts and pumping myself up.  I was not excited anymore.  It took me a minute before I clicked start on the virtual trainer.  Now, I know that the out on this trace is slightly up hill.  I was going to give myself a little break if I fell behind at the beginning knowing that I could make it up on the backside.

Failure started from the beginning.  I could not even get close to my projected run pace.  I always give myself a mile to settle into a run – if I give myself that mile out then I almost always sort out the paces and have success.  This was not happening today.  I gave myself about a quarter mile out and 86’d the run.  I was having trouble maintaining my easy pace much less anything close to M pace.  I told myself that I would take a rest day and have success the next day.  In fact, I took advice from Mike from 26.2 Is My Cool down:
You may be a little flat James, so take a day off man. Having followed your blog for about 2 years now, I know that isn't in your nature, but just think about it. It may do your legs good.
Mike runs some amazing distances and runs them fast.  Many times it is easier to see things from the outside.

So I took the day off.  The legs felt better on Sunday and the fear was mostly gone.  The excitement was back.  I started out and I WAS able to maintain the pace (M + 10).  My heart rate was staying in solid zone 3 – this is a zone that I can run for a very long time – not forever but A LONG TIME.  The run was clicking and confidence was building.  I hit my paces for the first few miles.  Once again, knowing that the trace has a slight incline I let the pace drift some – I knew I could make it up on the backside. 

The pace started to drift more and more.  After about 8 or 9  miles I was done with holding pace.  This was a mental decision.  I was not hurt, my heart rate was not red lining, everything was working.  It just got hard.  And I gave up.  I finished the 15 miles in 2 hours even -  a full 15 minutes off of my projected time.

I have run these hard tempos successfully.  However, they have only been in race situations.  Last year I ran a 25k and a 30k – they were successful.

I think I am still struggling with the poor performance from the First Light.  There were a number of factors that led to that disappointment (in my mind REASONS = EXCUSES).  I need to let this race go and move forward.  I am in the home stretch for Mardi Gras.  Running almost always comes down to mental toughness.  I need to get my mind wrapped around this race.

oh yeah, speaking of shooting video – I was messing around the other day -

Short version -


Running on the trace a lunch.


Here is the longer version -


Trace / Campus run.

6 comments:

Caratunk Girl said...

Hey James, followed you over here and putting this on my blog roll. Love the look of the new site, it is really nice!!

Now I forgot what I was going to say about the tempo thing...You know more than me on this stuff, heck, I would you if I was struggling...For me, I have really great tempo days and days that just suck. My best ones are always in races. I have times when I get into the HR zone I need to be in and stick there, and days that I struggle to keep it in control...I think volume and mental toughness all play into it, and sometimes rest is good.

Francine said...

I like the video. I love your creativity and how you are starting to apply it to so many different parts of your life.
Like the new site too!

Jennifer said...

Ha ha, watching you run all over the place, back and forth, especially on campus made me chuckle. Good job on the new domain, you are doing a great job with your training and as a trainer. Cheers good friend!

Kathleen said...

Great videos! Best of luck with your new site.

lindsay said...

I updated my google reader! New site looks spiffy. Do another trx workout--the videos are so impressive! :)

Matty O said...

I made a comment a few days back about turning a race into a training run. The reason I will never do it is because then it is that much easier to bail in the future.

As weird as it sounds I think you are the same mentally as me...

I guess the way I see it, you rewarded yourself for negative thoughts or a poor performance by backing off and finishing. I try to never reward negative thoughts during workouts. I try to reward good decisions and good thoughts and push even harder when I have the negative thoughts of wanting to quit or bail (unless I feel injury is possible).

Like I said... it's weird, but there is a reason I never back off.

Good luck fighting this one, I hope that you get it figured out.

Love the colors and layout of the new site. Easy reading.

Videos were pretty cool too! I want to video my form and see if there are areas to improve.