In most roles of my life, I've generally pushed myself harder than I have held myself back. I jump in head first when it come to relationships and making myself vulnerable to others. I almost worked too hard sometimes in college and when it came time to get my first job, I was over the top dedicated to making sure I stood out and got in where I wanted to be. I've always pushed myself hard and given so much of my self, heart, mind, and spirit to whatever I do. However, when I think of myself as an athlete, a runner, I most definitely would say that I've held myself back a little too much. I'm not sure what that comes down to but it has always been hard for me to push myself fully and just throw myself in without reservation. I usually set my goals lower than perhaps what my potential is and I've often felt a heart full of fear, nerves, and reservation when it comes to just laying it all out there and giving my all. Not sure why it has been so much harder to push myself as an athlete when it has come so naturally for me to push and challenge myself in all the other areas of my life.
Yesterday's workout called for 12 miles with the last 20 minutes moderate. Well, I broke the "rules" or plan a bit but gosh, it felt good! I got out of my "cage" (a.k.a treadmill) and my legs just felt so good. Once I got out there and realized that an 8 minute pace uphill felt easy and natural, I told myself to just run comfortably and enjoy the run. This ended up being faster than I had planned but also easier than I would have imagined. So, the plan was 12 miles with the last 20 moderate and what really happened was:
|Next time I'll run this course backwards. Yes, there is a nice downhill slope here but this is great training for Boston!|
- 12 hilly miles @ 7:36 pace with the last mile in 6:53.8 (this didn't feel too hard,surprisingly and yes I'm holding on to that 6:53 even though Garmin rounded it. ha! I just told myself to run strong, increase the cadence a bit and stay within the moderate/low hard zone).
- 1.45 miles (gradual uphill) easy on the way home . 8:19. I expected this to be way slower so I started a new Garmin time so I could keep the two separate but surprisingly, this last 1.45 miles felt easy and strong and was faster than I was planning on for the end of this run.
- Total was 13.46 in 1:40/7:40 pace.
- Every time I looked down and saw a 7:15ish pace and felt relatively easy, I thought my garmin must be OFF but it happened again and again and I eventually started believing and owning it!
- I feel great today! Not sore or torn down. This makes me feel great and like I didn't push myself too hard but just enough. Huge confidence boost.
I want to emphasize that I think it is important to play it smart to avoid injury and save ourselves for our peak races. But I also think that sometimes we hold ourselves back a bit too much and we never really know what we are capable of if we hold ourselves back a bit too much. This was a great opportunity for me to get a feel for where I'm at so I can reevaluate my goals for this training that is just starting. By pushing the envelope a bit now (safely), it has given me a boost in several ways. It comes down to trusting yourself, listening to your body and knowing when to push and when to "play it safe" Glad I went with what my body felt like doing yesterday.
I'm going to continue to do lots of:
- Base runs around 8:15/8:30 pace on the treadmill. Last time I think I ran my daily runs too fast.
- Increasing mileage (this has helped me so much!! Who knew?? Apparently everyone else except me. :) )
- Playing around with the inclines on my treadmill.
- Having really really easy days at least a couple runs a week. Not junk miles but therapy miles.
- Listening to my body and taking time off, pulling back and pushing the envelope when it seems wise.
- Being FLEXIBLE with my plan and adjusting it to MY NEEDS. Being my own coach and trusting that I know what is BEST for me. Afterall, nobody knows me better than me. Time to put some of my reflective skills to use with my running. I seem to make reflection work for me in every other area of my life...why not with running as my own coach?
So, here's a more specific training post for those that have been asking. And for those that haven't. Here's to some strong training in 2012! I'm excited to hear about how you are gently and safely pushing your running "envelope" as you continue to unfold with your training!
As with most things in life, what we give and how we conserve is such a balance. If we give too much, we can find ourselves depleted, injured, overworked, etc. But if we hold back too much then we can find ourselves never fully discovering what we are capable of.
1. Are there areas of your life where you hold yourself back a bit too much? Why do you think this is?
2. Or are you a person that pushes yourself too hard most times and then ends up with injury, overworked, or emotionally/physically drained?