This weekend, I got to spend some quality time with my favorite sports psychologist, Adrienne. Not only is Adrienne one of my very best friends, but she has a way of helping with my mental game without me even realizing it! It's odd that I've been a runner for 19 (!!!) years, yet I still learn new things about myself, and there's always ways to improve. Over the years, I've grown tremendously with my own mental struggles, but I still do a few mental issues that I'll take a few moments to discuss.
Since college, I've had a serious, serious issue with the track. Doing a track workout was this hideous, repulsive thing that I likely dreaded more than a bad dentist visit. It did something unexplainable to my head. It put me a very unhappy mental place. For the many years I was self-coached, I would procrastinate these workouts until the very last moment, and then I would have to bribe or bargain with myself once I was out there. It was utterly and completely miserable. I soon gave up on the track for um... a few YEARS. Yeah, like I didn't do a single workout on the track. When I moved, I learned that "the group" did occasional track workouts, and maybe, just maybe I should give it a try again. Well, it worked slightly. I went from HATING the track to just disliking it. I suppose misery loves company. It didn't hurt that TP (aka my boyfriend) loved running on the track. And being that I'm slower than him, I was able to watch his cute little butt for the majority of my workouts. Fast forward to recent days with Coach. Right out of the box, I was assigned some 400s. I *could* do these on the road, but really the rubber track is more accurate and easier to run on. The only problem is that now it's "too hot" for all my running friends to do track work. So, I've been getting out there once a week for a month now. And something strange has happened... I won't say I *like* it, because I surely don't, but I don't dread it. Why, you ask? For one, Coach gave me the very best piece of advice I could ever hear, and he likely doesn't even remember it. It's something that solidifies the exact reason I hired a coach. He said, "You just run; I'll worry about the paces." Meaning, if I fly through the workout, or bomb miserably, it will be HIS job to figure it out. Therefore, nearly all pressure is off me. I truly love that. I think it's paying off, too. I had one of the toughest short-interval workouts I've done since college, and I hit some times on the watch that nearly made my eyes bulge (sick fast for me).
Moving on to other matters- easy and long runs. Increasing mileage safely is something that takes years. I always get nervous when I read or hear about runners that go from say 40 mpw to 80 mpw in less than a year. Many people have asked me the "secret" to running high mileage while staying injury free. Some runners might say nutrition, and others might say ice baths, stretching, blah, blah, blah. While those things are important, I think the biggest lesson is how SLOW you go. First of all, my mileage increase was very, very slow. Each year maxing out at 10-15 miles than the year before. I also mean keeping the easy runs easy. Going out an hammering every run will get you on the injured list faster than anything. With that being said, I've struggled with this lately. I love my group runs. It seems lately that the pace has been too HARD, and I don't like that feeling. The angel side of my brain tells me that my legs are fatigued from the new stimulus of leg drills and hard workouts. My brain also tells me that I am running more miles than everyone else in the group. The devil side of my brain says, "You slowpoke! You will never run Sub 3 with this JOGGING!" Thank goodness for my Sam that will run as slow as I like and back off the pace when she knows I need it.
There isn't much other news, just training and coaching. We started Cross Country this week with my high schoolers, and I am completely in love with them. I should have time later this week to blog about this new adventure. It's definitely one worth writing about.
Run Happy, friends!