Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.
I had 16 miles @ marathon plus 30 seconds scheduled for Christmas Day. I had some worries about this run. It wasn’t anything in particular but just a lot of little things.
· 16 miles is a long way – I have not run that since Boston (April)
· While 7:30 pace is not difficult – it is for 16 miles
· It was 50 degrees outside (not a big deal)
· It was raining outside (not a big deal)
· It was cold and raining outside (VERY BIG DEAL)
· I had run 10 miles the day before at a very easy pace (not a big deal)
· It was Christmas Day (can be a big deal)
So I suited up with a long sleeved shirt, gloves, compression shorts (since it was wet), running shorts, a running hat, and sunglasses. I walked the 1/8th mile to the trace. I was high stepping and loosening up the legs. I decided to run towards campus for two miles (slight downhill) and then I would run to Epley Station and back. Running the slight downhill allows for me to get on pace easier.
I had a couple of gels stuffed up on my quads under the compression shorts. This has been working for me lately. But today, I had on a different kind of compression shorts. As soon as I started running the gels started to slip. These compression shorts were not compressing. This was 200 feet into 16 miles run.
Equipment failure - Strike 1.
Next, just walking and starting to run, I was hot. Not overheating hot but enough to know that I would be burning up at the end of the run. I took the gloves off and stuffed them into the waist band of the compression shorts.
Overdressed – Strike 2.
I only gave the run a quarter of a mile. I could not get on pace. I was running around 8 minute miles (for a quarter mile) but I was losing ground to the virtual nemesis. I know that running this route I can usually run 7:15ish at a conversational pace. My legs were tired. A much bigger factor is that my mind was also tired. Not to go into great detail, while Christmas used to be my favorite holiday – not so much anymore. The past few years I have scheduled large training sessions on Christmas Day to shut the mind down. It has been successful in the past. Not today.
Mental / emotional failure – Strike 3.
I walked home in the drizzling rain. I took a few minutes to regroup. I decided I could still go for a less demanding run. I changed the compression shorts. I ended the virtual nemesis 16 mile workout. I was going to go for a 4 mile run at any pace and see where I ended up. I secretly hoped that I would feel great at the 2 mile turnaround and continue the effort, maybe even push the pace! That is when the sky opened up. While not a thunder storm it was raining very hard. It was still cold. I watched the rain for a good five minutes. I put the bike on the trainer and changed clothes again – cycling shorts!
I have not been on the bike much since I have been concentrating on marathoning. I was not sure what was going to be possible on the bike. I wanted a solid effort but I did not need a failure. I programmed up a solid hour long (55 minute) workout with the working session being 3 x 10 minutes @ FTP (functional threshold power). I was using old numbers from the before the marathon training so I was not completely confident that I would be successful. It would be a challenge.
55 minutes later I was drenched in sweat. I was satisfied with a solid workout. My body and mind were quieted.
The next day, the weather conditions were the same; cold, drizzle and occasional rain. I still had the 16 miles on the schedule. I wore my tighter compression shorts and less clothing. My mind was into the run. I nailed it!
While the run was still challenging I had sorted out my failures from the day before. I had eliminated the strikes one by one and hit this session out of the park. I have had a lot failures in my training.
Failure is just another chance, an opportunity.