Mental Training For Marathons

When we train for a marathon, we concentrate SO much on our bodies and the physical stuff: we log miles after mile of long runs, recovery runs, tempo runs, mile repeats ¬†– my favorite ūüėČ , hill repeats, etc. ¬†We take care of our body with epsom baths, foam rollers, recovery socks (love those things!) and red wine healthy recovery drinks. ¬†My guess would be that most 95% of the training that the average marathoner does focuses on this physical stuff.*

So what is the other part of marathon training then? ¬†The part that most of us only spend about 5% of our time on?** ¬†MENTAL training. ¬†Preparing the mind to run 26.2 miles. ¬†Why do we spend so little time on this? ¬†We should be spending FAR more time on mental training. ¬†And I DO have scientific support for the proposition that we should spend more time on mental training for a marathon: ¬†See marathons number: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7 and 9. ūüôā ¬†Sure, I could blame my crappy performances on things like rain, heat, leg cramps, wind (fucking Lansing) etc., but really, what those races ultimately boiled down to was inadequate mental preparation for the marathon.

What is mental training? ¬†Essentially wrapping your mind around being able to cover the distance in your goal time. ¬†Your physical body can be ready, but if your mind isn’t on board, it will F with you at mile 17 or 20 or 22 or wherever. ¬†And once that happens, if you don’t have your mental game together, you are done for. ¬†Really. ¬†I KNOW this. ¬†I BELIEVE this. ¬†I have had two good marathons, where my mental game was ON. ¬†Twin Cities 2010 (BQ! Sort of) and Twin Cities 2011 (BQ!). ¬†Both races were so much more than a physical victory for me – they were mental victories because I pushed through. ¬†My best mental victory though was recently, at Grandma’s half marathon, because I never gave up and pushed through from the start until the very end.

So how do we train ourselves mentally to be able to push through a marathon? ¬†There are so many different ways that I couldn’t possibly list them. ¬†I think each runner has to find what works for them. ¬†Some things that I’ve experimented with are

  • Visualization. ¬†Sounds dorky, but I did it prior to Twin Cities Marathon 2011 and it worked; I spent a lot of time during the training cycle really THINKING about what my race would look like and visualizing it and visualizing me pushing through the difficult parts)
  • Mantras. ¬†Again, sounds dorky, but it works. ¬†I have different mantras that I use for different races and different points in my life/training. ¬†The key is pick a short phrase that is meaningful to you and that you can repeat and call upon during the race when things get hard. ¬†My “go to” mantra for the past couple years has been “Make Today Count”. ¬†I even have it engraved on a dog tag type necklace that I wear in races. ¬†It helps me during the race when things get tough to actually touch my dog tag and repeat “Make Today Count”. ¬†Cheesy, but it really helps me push through.
  • Pushing through really kick-ass workouts. ¬†Instead of giving up during the tough intervals because it’s “only” a training workout – push through. ¬†It will not only make you physically strong, but you will be mentally stronger on race day, knowing that you survived some really tough workouts.
  • Having some great tune up races. ¬†If you have a good tune up race in the weeks/months before your goal race, it will likely give you the mental confidence to know that you can do the goal race in the time you desire.
  • Believe. ¬†Maybe the biggest thing, in my opinion, is just not letting yourself get sucked down with negative thoughts about your training or performance. ¬†BELIEVE that because you put in the hard work, you will achieve your goal. ¬†Believe in yourself.
I don’t know about you, but I plan on spending ALOT more time on mental training this time around.

*I completely pulled 95% out of the air; no scientific support for this number, just a guess. ¬†So don’t be using as a resource for this number.

**I also pulled this 5% number out of the air. ¬†100 – 95 = 5. ūüôā


Free Your Mind

Someone recommended that I watch The Matrix. ¬†My 12 year old son wanted to see it too (he’s played the video game), so we decided to watch it tonight. ¬†(Bad mom, I know, letting the 12 year old watch an R movie; but, as he said, “I’ve seen violence and swearing before mom.” ¬†Good point.) ¬†I pretty much fall asleep during EVERY movie that I attempt to watch at home. ¬†Maybe because I’m going, going, going all day, every day – so when I finally sit down and be still, the eyes get soooo heavy. ¬†Or maybe it’s the large glass of Pinot that I sip on during a movie that makes me so tired. ¬†Whatever.

So, I really wanted to like The Matrix. ¬†And stay awake for all of it. ¬†The good news: ¬†it’s on right now and I’m awake. ¬†The bad news: ¬†I’m just not into it and the only reason I’m still awake is that there was an AWESOME quote in it that totally relates to my running, so I decided to blog about the quote while (sort of) watching the rest of the movie. ¬†(And, for the record, my son is bored with it too and is playing on the other laptop as I type!).

So, without further ado, the awesome quote from The Matrix:

What are you waiting for? ¬†You’re faster than this. ¬†Don’t THINK you are, KNOW you are. ¬†Let it all go: ¬†fear, doubt, disbelief. ¬†Free your mind.

This TOTALLY sounds like words that Coach MB hammered into me all summer.  Words that are so true.  Words that made a huge difference for me in my last round of marathon training.  Words that made me finally, after 7 disappointing marathons, have one that I felt great about.  Words that got me a real BQ.

I really truly believe that the difference between a bad (or so-so) race and a good race is believing in yourself. ¬†Believing that you can do it. ¬†KNOWING that you can do it. ¬†I think most endurance atheletes (and most people in general, in whatever they do) have fear, doubt and disbelief inside of them. ¬†We wonder, “can we really run that fast, for that far?” ¬†We doubt our training and our ability to reach our goals. ¬†We don’t always believe we can accomplish our goals. ¬†It’s normal to have fear, doubt and disbelief. ¬†BUT, during training and DEFINITELY during race day, we DO need to free our mind and push the fear, doubt and disbelief aside. ¬†We need to trust, have confidence and KNOW that we can accomplish our goals. ¬†And then we will. ¬† I really do believe this.

This is a running blog, so I do try to (mostly) relate everything to running.  But I think this quote equally applies to life in general.  Life is scary.  Change in life is scary.  There is so much of which to be afraid, doubtful and disbelieving.  And for each and every thing in our life we have a choice to make.  Do you want to let fear, doubt and disbelief dicate the outcome, or do you want to take charge of your own destiny and shape your own outcome?  So what are you waiting for?  Let it all go: fear, doubt and disbelief.  Free your mind.  Shape your own destiny.

(And, for the record, I would have chosen the blue pill and gone back to sleep in my warm cozy bed.)


Today was interval workout. ¬†The training group is doing it tomorrow, but I’m going to DC, so I got it done bright and early today, by myself. ¬†Old school (for me) – around the neighborhood on the roads instead of on a track.

The workout was supposed to be 3 x (4 x400m).  With 1 minute rest between intervals, 2 minutes rest after 1st set and 3 minutes rest after 2nd set.  My time goals were supposed to be 1:45 for each interval set 1, 1:40 for each interval in set 2 and 1:35 for each interval in set 3.

I found it hard to pace myself today. ¬†1:45 felt awkward and too slow. ¬†By the end when I was trying to go 1:30ish (because I had done the others too fast, so I tried to do the last set faster), that felt too fast/hard. ¬†So most of my 12 intervals ended up around 1:35, give or take a couple seconds (range was 1:32 – 1:37). ¬†For the most part this pace, 1:35ish, felt good. ¬†Natural. ¬†Right. ¬†I could have done more 400’s at this pace.

Today’s workout surprised me. ¬†It surprised me that my intervals were so consistently at 1:35. ¬†It surprised me that I did better than I was “supposed” to. ¬†It surprised me how much I missed being with the training group during intervals.

But the biggest surprise of the day was hearing that someone else believes I can do this marathon thing at what I once would have thought was an impossible, crazy-fast pace for me. ¬†For the past couple of weeks I’ve been thinking, to myself, that I have faster paces in me ¬†– now – for this marathon. ¬†But I haven’t really let myself believe that I could really do it. ¬†When I hear someone else say that they believe I can do it, it gives me the courage to really believe in myself. ¬†Learning that someone else believes in me was the best thing about the day today!


20 Miles Done, Now Taper Time!

First, some shout outs:

Good luck to my running twin Kristy (at Run The Long Road) who is running the Lehigh Valley Marathon tomorrow.  Kristy is hoping to get a BQ tomorrow, which will be 3:45 for her.  She is SO trained for this, having run her last 22 miler 4 seconds BELOW her goal pace.  She will do it!  Go Kristy Go!

If you are looking for running tips, inspiration and wisdom, check out the new blog of Coach MB, the coach who has helped me get speed and, more importantly, a kick-ass mental game over the past couple of months. ¬†In addition to the in-person coaching that he provides to me and a group of others, he sends inspirational emails and texts. ¬†You’ve heard me write about the inspiration and motivation that he gives me. ¬†Well, I’ve been encouraging him to share his wisdom with others and start blogging about all things running (and more – he does triathlons). ¬†So, check out his blog when you have a minute!

And finally, I’d like to say What Up to my new BFF’s Adam and Tim. ¬†Remember them from my Running the Edge book review? ¬†Please note the comments to this post! ¬†What sweet BFF’s. ¬†I’m sure Adam and Kara will be inviting me over for dinner sometime soon. ¬†I’ll keep you all posted.


So, today was our last 20 miler before Twin Cities.  It was the Capitol Run, sponsored by Life Time Fitness.  There were about 400 people, running from the Capitol 10 miles out on the Twin Cities Marathon Course and then back.  So the last 10 miles of the run were miles 16 Р26 of the TCM race course, which is the hardest part of Twin Cities, with essentially the 3 mile hill from mile 20 Р23 (today miles 14 Р17).

It was, by far, my best feeling (and fastest) 20 miler ever. ¬†I finished it in 2:53:15 (8:39 pace), with probably a good 3 – 4 minutes of stops built in, so the actual running pace was faster. ¬†The stops were quick water stops, where I was able to pick the pace back up and still have a decent avg mile, but then not-so-quick stops at stoplights on Summit on the way back, where I wasn’t able to make up all the time that we stopped. ¬†Frustrating, because I wanted to have all my miles LOOK like a good pace, but when we have to stop for 20 – 60 seconds, it’s hard to tell what pace I was even really at.

Things that were good about the run:

  • It was the quickest training run that I’ve done and it didn’t feel like I was killing myself or going all out. ¬†Depending on what my goal ends up being (still up in the air; I need to decide this week so that I can mentally prepare), a good chunk of the miles were at or below MP.
  • I tackled the hills and did a decent job at them. ¬†Mentally and physically hung in there and didn’t give up. ¬†(Though when you look at my splits, it doesn’t reflect it because of stopping once for start of GI issues and on the other 2 miles for stop lights). ¬†I am SO glad we ran these hills on tired legs – this was definitely needed as a confidence boost before the marathon.
  • I was able to do this well without taper, in heat (it was 70+ and sunny for the second 1/2 of the run) and after a big quality week (with a 10k race on Monday, 10 miles at marathon pace on wednesday and 9 miles with intervals on Thursday).
  • I didn’t let the start of GI issues at mile 15 derail me. ¬†I stopped for 10 seconds to walk when I felt the sick-GI-distress urge coming on (it happened during the middle of the 1st mile of the 3 mile long hill). ¬†But there was no bathroom in site (and I knew there pretty much wouldn’t be), so I told myself to calm down, take it easy and not worry. ¬†I did back off the pace a tiny bit for the balance of the run, because of the GI issues too. ¬†For some reason they seem to happen when I’m really pushing myself.
  • I still had energy in me during the last mile and kicked it in.

So I should be really happy about this run, huh? ¬†And I am, for the reasons above, but I’m also a little disappointed in myself because I didn’t do what I (and the coach mostly) had set out to do. ¬†My plan was 8:20 – 8:25ish miles for first 3, then pick up the pace to around 8:10 – 8:12, then finish stronger. ¬†Fail on all accounts on this. ¬†I didn’t even try to do this. ¬†I was too scared of blowing up, of it feeling too hard, of injuring the hamstring again so close to race day, of not being able to do it, blah blah blah. ¬†So from the start I just switched into a mode/pace that felt good for me and that I knew I’d be able to do today. ¬†So, even though really there was SO MUCH positive out of this run, I’m disappointed in myself that I didn’t push it and didn’t even attempt to do what I was “supposed” to do.

21 days until Race Day! ¬†So I guess taper starts, at least in terms of cutting back the long runs. ¬†Still looks like the schedule calls for decent mileage and lots of quality this week. ¬†And I get to run in DC this week (Virginia actually) because I’m going for a 4 day training for being the local Toys For Tots coordinator. ¬†Who knew there was so much involved in that???

Victory at Victory 10k!

The Victory 10k was a complete VICTORY for me! ¬†A shiny new PR (by about 30 seconds). ¬†46:02 (though I disagree with their results!) 43/219 females (the fasties come out for this race!) ¬†More importantly, this was a race where I gave it everything I had, didn’t let negative thoughts creep in, and let positive thoughts propel me through the finish line. ¬†I loved it! ¬†Oh, and I even got a decent race photo out of it: ¬†Pictures on WK Photography site here. ¬†I’m picture number 39. ¬†The pale one in purple without any lipstick. ¬†But don’t I look determined? ¬†And fast in my lulu tank? ¬†ūüôā

My goal for the race was originally sub 46:00, since that is what I wanted earlier this summer at what ended up being a disaster 10k (physically and mentally).¬† But the day before the race, I was thinking about my fitness and decided to make my goal more ambitious, a sub 45:00. ¬†I felt like I was in shape for it and could do it. ¬† Even though I didn’t meet my A goal, according to my garmin I met my original goal (I crossed the line in 45:59; official results say 46:02, but I’ve heard alot of other runners bitching that the results are off; it wasn’t chip timed, it was the punchy thing and you give them your tag in the chute.). ¬†So since it’s only a few seconds, work with me and let’s just say I met my sub 46 goal!

What went right during the race?

  • In the first mile the pounding of all the footsteps started to grate on my nerves. ¬†Instead of letting it irritate me, I turned it around and thought “How cool that there are so many runners out here racing on Labor Day”. ¬†Mental victory!
  • I didn’t go out too fast. ¬†Controlled my pace from the start.
  • At about the 1/2 mile point when it was so crowded, I looked at garmin and realized I was getting too comfortable with the crowd and the pace (too slow for my goal) and so I sped up to my goal pace.
  • When my mile splits were off of the sub 45 pace (which I figured was 7:12, to account for course measuring a tiny bit long when I veer off for water, etc.), I didn’t freak out. ¬†I told myself I was still ok and to remain “slow” so that I don’t overdo it from the start and then end up worse off at the end. ¬†I figured I would throw the hammer down about mile 4 to make up the seconds that each of my miles was off. ¬†Mental victory!
  • At the 5k point I was at 22:35, which is the same as my 5k PR. ¬†So I thought to myself “Self, you are SO speedy, to have this be your split in a 10k, if you were just doing a 5k, you could have totally busted butt and gotten sub 22!” ¬†This motivated and encouraged me.
  • I used mantras to keep me going miles 4 – end. ¬†Since I just read Running The Edge and loved it, my mantra this time was “You are a distance maven. ¬†Running 10k is EASY compared to the marathon. ¬†You can do this.” ¬†Kept telling myself this. ¬†And it kept the negative thoughts that usually rear their head from creeping in. ¬†Mental victory!
  • When I couldn’t quite hammer it down in mile 4 and 5 like I had planned, I didn’t give up. ¬†I still thought that by some miracle I may find my legs and some energy and that sub 45 was still possible. ¬†I also told myself even if sub 45 wasn’t in the books, a PR for sure was. ¬†Mental victory!
  • The last mile was tough. ¬†I slowed down to 7:40 pace at about 5.5 miles. ¬†I told myself I would be pissed to see that much of a slow down in my splits and to kick it in so the splits didn’t look so horrible. ¬†And I did. ¬†Ended up with last mile being 7:27, which means I really must have kicked it in during that last 1/2 mile of mile 6 to get it there. ¬†Mental victory!
  • Last .2 (.26 actually) I was exhausted but told myself not to give up, to finish strong, to hang in there. ¬†6:55 pace. ¬†Woot! ¬†Mental victory!
  • My splits: ¬†7:17; 7:19; 7:29; 7:19; 7:19; 7:27; 1:48 (6:55 pace)

I am SO satisfied, motivated and encouraged by both my physical performance (Daniels says this translates to a 1:41:30ish HM and a 3:31:30ish marathon; Holy crap!) and my mental performance.  This whole new training thing with the coach and group has REALLY improved things for me!

In Search of That Mental Edge

Let’s just take a minute to recap my previous marathon experiences: ¬†I train my a$$ off – logging the miles and the quality of workouts that are necessary to BQ. ¬†Come race day, I feel like I am physically ready. ¬†With the exception of the first marathon (where I naturally had doubts about even covering the whole distance), I even feel like I am mentally ready. ¬†And then something happens during the race to derail me mentally, which eventually derails me physically. ¬†And I blow up. ¬†Bad. ¬†(In all my marathons, I’ve been aiming for 3:45 and I’ve ended up with 4:27, 4:17, 3:56, 3:59, 3:49, 4:08, 4:14).

I KNOW what I need in order to finish where I want to (which is now sub 3:40, thanks to the new Boston registration standards, so that I actually have a chance of toeing the line at Hopkinton and not just getting a BQ, which I technically already have for 2012 with my 3:49:41).

I need to find That Mental Edge.  You know what I mean: that mindset, that focus, that toughness, that willpower, that determination.

So where is it?  How come it is so elusive? How do I get it now?  And how can I make it stay with me for 26.2 miles on race day?

This whole training cycle, for me, has been about finding That Mental Edge. ¬†Things that I’ve done to find it:

  • Having a coach this time around has been immensely helpful in my mental game. ¬†Coach MB provides personal and written encouragement, tips, inspiration and feedback to me (and the whole group). ¬†He makes me feel like I AM a good runner and like I CAN accomplish whatever I want to. ¬† ¬†Having a real live person (as opposed to my virtual running buddies/blog followers) tell me that I am a kick-a$$ runner is starting to make me believe it.
  • Having a coach has¬†significantly improved my physical game, by pushing me beyond what I was doing on my own. ¬†By pushing me beyond my comfort zone. ¬†My making me work harder than I ever have at running. ¬†So how will this help me find That Mental Edge? ¬†Because I’m more confident in my self, physically, and there are literally certain workouts where I can (and have) called them up in my mind during other hard efforts or races and they have pushed me forward, when I normally would have quit. ¬†Two examples come to mind: ¬†One, a hilly tempo run about 3 weeks after I started the group. ¬†Coach was running with me and another girl, encouraging us to push up the hill and keep up with him. ¬†The other girl did it. ¬†I fell behind. ¬†I was disappointed, but whatever. ¬†Then a couple days later he sent a group email with something about gaining mental toughness by pushing through hard workouts. ¬†I immediately thought of the hilly tempo where I fell behind, mostly because I gave up because it seemed too hard. ¬†But, after reading that email, I KNEW that if I had forced myself to push it harder, I would have been able to keep up. ¬†So I vowed that in future workouts, I wouldn’t give up. ¬†I’d push myself just a tiny bit harder and finish them strong and knowing that I gave that workout all that I had at the time. ¬†So, the second example that I know I will draw on during the marathon happened a couple weeks later on a HOT long run day, where we did those crazy hill drills and then ran back to the club. ¬†I started running with Coach MB because I was asking him something – his pace was tiring for me in the heat and after the drills. ¬†Another guy from the group came up and ran with us. ¬†And I stayed with them, even though it hurt and I was tired. ¬†The other guy started to fade and dropped back, but I stayed with Coach and even did the last miles at sub marathon pace and was the first person from the group to finish. ¬†When I was done with the workout I felt really good about it, like I had given it all that I had that day and, most importantly, like I didn’t give in to the mental demons (it’s too hot; you are too tired; you just did hill drills; this is just a training run) that were telling me to quit.
  • Training with a group this time has helped. ¬†How? ¬†They are all so inspiring. ¬†They make me want to push myself harder so that I am inspiring too. ¬†Examples from this weekend: ¬†one gal shaved 6 minutes off her HM PR to finish in like 1:36; another gal shaved 10+ (!) minutes off her HM PR to finish in 1:51; another gal is training for her first marathon and ran a 1:44:59; a guy who hasn’t run a marathon since 1996 ran a 1:32 HM this weekend; one of the girls, who didn’t even own a bike until this spring, finished a half ironman this weekend. ¬†And it goes on and on. ¬†All of these people are tearing it up out there. ¬†And if they can do it, and I’m doing the same workouts and getting the same coaching as them, than so can I!
  • I’m also reading more and more about the mental aspect of racing. ¬†Like the Mark Allen “No More Holding Back” stuff I blogged about a few weeks ago. ¬†Reading stuff like that makes it all fall in place for me.
This time around I know That Mental Edge is gonna be with me for 26.2 miles.  I just know it!
Anyone else have tips/tricks/stories about how you keep it together mentally on race day?

Minneapolis 13.1 Race Report (a/k/a “Cindi needs to Chill The F Out”!)

Victory today at the Minneapolis 13.1!

No, I didn’t meet my 1:43:30 goal. ¬†But I am totally satisfied with my race, which I haven’t said about a race for a while.

The details:

  • 1:46:27 (8:08 pace)
  • Overall Place 281/1678
  • Gender place: 76/971
  • Division place (F 40-44): 6/108
So why am I happy with a time that was 3 minutes off my goal, and about a minute and a half over my PR?
  • I had no issues with my right hamstring. ¬†Details below, but I had a minor freak out Friday and yesterday about my leg, so to not have it act up, at all, was huge!
  • I kept it together mentally during the race. ¬†Those of you following my running know that I tend to fall apart in races when I fall off pace or am having an off day. ¬†When this happens I throw in the towel, have horrible splits and a bad attitude. ¬†Sometime during the 7th mile I knew it wasn’t going to be my day (to get the goal time I had in mind). ¬†I was being too cautious with the leg on the hills (up and down) and even though I wasn’t having issues with the leg, in my mind it wasn’t worth jammin on the pace and risking the hamstring seizing up or get hurt again (which it had started to do on Thursday at our track workout when I picked up the pace to a speedy pace). ¬†But I was ok with this and didn’t fall apart. ¬†Still maintained a pace that felt like a hard effort, but definitely not an all out race effort.
  • I feel good now. ¬†I took an ice bath when I got home and have the compression socks on (yes, I even wore the pink compression socks, with sandals, to the mall for back-to-school shopping; ¬†I’m cool, I know). ¬†¬†

  • I really do feel like if I had given it an all out effort (and not held back because of worry about the leg), I would have been able to get 1:43:30.
So what went wrong?  What can I learn from this half marathon?***
  • I freaked out about my leg the past two days. ¬†A super speedy, super tough runner who knew I was worrying about my leg messaged me late last night and said, “No more worry. ¬†A day of worry is more exhausting than a day of running.” ¬†So so true. ¬†By 7:00 last night I was exhausted from all the worrying I was doing about my leg! ¬†I think runners do need to be ultra aware of their bodies, be cautious, nip potential issues in the bud before they blossom into a full blown injury, etc. ¬†Runners do NOT need to do what I did the past two days, which is: ¬†imagine that soreness all over my right thigh means that I’m doomed and must have a horrible hamstring TEAR and that I should not only not run the half marathon, but that I should take the next 10 days completely off running and then reevaluate and potentially back out of the marathon. ¬†Seriously. ¬†That’s what I worked myself up to the past two days. ¬†I should have taken a deep breath, stepped back and looked at what was happening with my body. ¬†The all-over soreness that I was feeling in my right thigh? ¬†That wasn’t my hamstring tweak expanding up my whole leg and tearing my entire muscle and tendons, like I built it up to be. ¬†If I had slowed down and not freaked out immediately, I would have realized it was soreness in BOTH legs. ¬†And it started the day after I lifted weights on Thursday (after resuming them on Tuesday of this week, for the first time in 2 1/2 weeks). ¬†Duh. ¬†So of course I’m gonna be sore, but just normal sore. ¬†Not freak out injured sore. ¬†I think if I hadn’t freaked out about the leg for the past two days, I wouldn’t have been so cautious with it during the race today and I would have had a better race time. ¬† SO, moral of this story: ¬†I need to chill the F out! ¬† Be cautious and treat my body well, but don’t overreact and freak out!
  • During the race itself, I think I started too close to the 1:45 pace group. ¬†It wasn’t by design. ¬†It just happened. ¬†And I wasted some mental energy being irritated by them. ¬†There were just so many people in a big group around the pacer dude and it was irritating to be in with them instead of doing my own thing (even though my plan for the first 3 miles was to be a bit slower than their 8:01 pace). ¬†In future races I think I need to make sure I’m isolated from pace groups so I can do my own thing.
  • Drinking water. ¬†I usually carry my own water bottle. ¬†I’ve done it in every marathon and half marathon. ¬†I like carrying my own bottle because it allows me to drink when I want to, avoid the crowds at most of the water stops (except where I pause to grab a couple cups to refill my bottle) and not choke on the little cups. ¬†But I decided to NOT carry a handheld this time because I have wondered if it is slowing me down – in terms of running efficiency and technique and weight. ¬†I didn’t like not having it (but I still may not use it in the marathon, we’ll see; I may just need more practice). ¬†I don’t think I drank enough fluid. ¬†One time I choked and had a coughing fit from drinking out of the cup wrong. ¬†And I’m not sure that my running efficiency was that much better. ¬†Not sure what other options I really have – I don’t really like the fuel belt things. ¬†We’ll see.
So, I am happy with today’s effort. ¬†Especially because when you plug it into the Daniels tables, it would translate to a 3:41:46 marathon!
*** WTF?  Does anyone know why WordPress keeps altering my fonts and making things tiny, then super tiny, then normal again???

No More Holding Back

“Do I want to do well on my terms? ¬†Or do I want to do it on the terms of what the race is going to require?”

Love love love this quote. ¬†It’s from the “Training the Mind” chapter in The Lore of Running (by Tim Noakes). ¬†The quote is from¬†Mark Allen describing what he believes were the psychological reasons for his success (in winning the 1989 Hawaiian Ironman – when he had tried and lost six previous times).

If you have the book, read the two pages (page 523 Р524 of the Fourth Edition).  Too much for me to write here.  But essentially in the first six attempts, Allen had backed off, not given it his all, been afraid, and found one reason or another to pull back.  He was mentally sabotaging himself.  But the time he actually won, in 1989, he came from behind (14 minutes behind the leader going into the run) and finally told himself that he had to give it 100% (and he finally let himself give 100%).

Noakes writes, “What is particularly compelling about this story is that Allen is one of the most physically gifted athletes in any sport who trained as hard as was humanly possible. ¬†Yet, the ultimate success of his career rested on his insight that taught him the core question: ¬†Was he prepared to give whatever it took to win the Ironman or just what he was prepared to take? ¬†Only when he had answered that question could he make the physicial and psychological adaptions necessary for his success.”

Since I started this new round of marathon training, with this coach who is truly inspirational and motivating, I’ve felt different about myself and my running. ¬†I feel ready to stop sabotaging myself mentally, to stop pulling back when it gets hard in training and races. ¬†I truly do feel like I’m ready to give whatever it takes to get an ultra-speedy marathon time and not just give what I am prepared to take. ¬†No more holding back.

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