Cover your ears (or maybe its your eyes) Marathon Brian — but Training Week 11 was all about changing my perspective and, dare I say it, embracing walking!! Now, don’t let the steam blow out your ears….I’m not backsliding. I’m just trying a new strategy that I hope feeds my success. Here’s what I mean.
As my running pace improves, I’m going faster, and that’s awesome. But this means I come to points when my breathing is too heavy and I need a recovery moment. I keep trying to slow down, but it triggers walking. Ok, so what happens then? Well, when I had the mind-set that Walking was BAD — as soon as I walked my mind was flooded with disappointment in myself, with words of failure, with BAD feelings. All of this made it harder to start running again, which makes sense — It’s hard to propel yourself forward when you are weighed down with negative feelings. Those are heavy bags of sand tied to your ankles. So what to do?
Well, it’s Experiment Time again! Here’s the deal. Last Sunday I had 6.5 miles to run. A distance that feels very comfortable now. So, I decided to set myself up for success with my experiment. I set out to challenge myself with striving for the fastest pace I can reasonably do — you know a stretch pace, NOT a killer pace. There IS a big difference. But in doing this, I knew I might get out of breath. So I decided that if I needed to walk to catch my breath, that I would give myself permission to take 45 to 60 seconds to breath. As soon as I started walking, I would select a a tree, a mailbox, a bush that marked the point I would run again. This was my accommodation to myself.
So I head out, it was a gorgeous Sun-Day, ahhh, the promise of Spring and Summer in the air. My husband helped me set my Garmin watch to 1 mile laps. This was a really helpful change, because it allowed me to see my pace for every mile run, rather than a total average of the entire run, which is how my watch was set before. Being able to watch my pace for each mile individually was very motivating. I could monitor myself for how I was feeling mile by mile, and speed up or slow down accordingly. It also allowed me to challenge myself to exceed or meet my prior mile, so it became a contest of sorts. Me…against me. LOL.
A few miles in, I needed to breathe, so I walked. But just for 30 seconds, maybe 45. And then off I went, running again. Magic happened. When I started running, I felt light as a bird. I felt re-energized, just like I felt when I left my front door. Full of oxygen, and most importantly…….free of the sand bags of negativity tied around my ankles. The only thing on my feet were my running shoes and they felt like they had wings. So, why did this happen? Was 30-45 seconds of walking REALLY that re-invigorating? Mmmm, this isn’t scientific, but I’m guessing No. I mean, I needed the oxygen regulation that the 45 seconds of walking gave me, but the real improvement in this new walking strategy came from the avoidance of the negative thought flood. My mind was happy. And happy minds can run, hell, they can fly. So in 45 seconds of walking, I relieved myself from the self-punishment, and gave myself the gift of flight.
I think in total, I might have walked 6 times on that 6.5 mile run. At most, at MOST it was 6 mins of walking durin the 1 hour and 13 mins I was out there. When I compare that to when I was TRYING NOT to walk, I think I ended up walking 15-20 mins, and suffering through the rest of the run because of my negative thoughts.
Giving myself permission NOT TO BE PERFECT, is a gift that keeps on giving. I like being Imperfect. It feels Soooo much better. It leads to happiness.
Training Week 12, I am spending in bed. I have a terrible cold, and can barely breathe sitting down, so the run is going to have to wait. I’m missing a 10 mile run today, but I’m not going to sweat it. I will race to call Marathon Brian tomorrow, and seek his advice on how to re-arrange my training schedule as need be. But sometimes, the best way to prepare for a race, is not to run….and to rest.
Ciao for now………..Diane