July 8, 2012

Trust in the Process

This is a saying you've probably heard many times. It's one that I promised to fully adopt when I hired a coach. Actually, I've used this saying in the past when dedicating to ANY new or different type of training. It means you have to believe in your training. This holds true if you are self-coached, have a hired coach, or use a cookie-cutter plan from a book or the Internet. You have to trust it and follow it through. I think this is a great time to talk about my current training and how I'm feeling about it.

My mileage is sitting pretty in the upper 70s. Granted this is a little less than I usually do in marathon training, but any skilled coach knows that don't tax both systems at once. Meaning, if you introduce new types of speed work, you should not max out on mileage. Same for mileage- if you are upping your mileage, you should take it easier on the speed end. It isn't until later in the training cycle when the speed AND distance ends come together for those final weeks of hard training prior to the taper.

The past few weeks, I've been doing two workouts a week, plus a long-ish run. One workout is a tempo, the other some sort of interval training. The thing that is working out well for me (or terrible for me, whichever way you look at it) is that since I gave the reins to someone else, there are no take-backs on the workouts. Meaning, when I coached myself, it was very easy to discount a workout to make it easier, either by pace or length. Nope. Not now. Wide open. When I first looked at my training plan on TP, I was a little scared. Holy CRAP, these are some FAST paces! Honestly, I had a great deal of anxiety about meeting them, almost to the point of dreading the workout. After a few weeks, though, I began feeling more comfortable with these new workouts. Um, the workouts didn't/don't FEEL comfortable by any means, but mentally, I feel better. Part of that comes from the fact that I am mostly successful in the workouts. Of course, there are days when I don't hit the paces and some days when I blow them away. It comes with the territory. It also helps that my coach really reinforces that a workout is just that- ONE WORKOUT. It does not make or break you as a runner, nor is a crystal ball of your goal marathon's success.

A few other tidbits- I think I've gained more knee lift. Yep, I'm SLOWLY going from running with straight-stick legs to a slightly bent knee. It's a slow process, but I'm doing DAILY drills to correct this. Also, I'm getting abs, people! I mean, real muscles under there. Of course, I have my School-Teacher-Summer-Blubber, but that will quickly diminish within a week or two of starving to death in Room 325.

I am having a tempo problem. It's kind of embarrassing that I'm a 20 year runner, a 27 time marathon finisher, yet I continue to race my tempo workouts. Let's talk about what/why I'm doing this. It goes something like this-
1. Coach gives me a range for the tempo. Being that it's summer on the Gulf Coast and that I am fairly early in the training cycle, I should be at the slower end of this range.
2. He gave me a few guidelines as to how a proper tempo should feel on the effort scale. Yes, I am educated runner. I know these things.
3. I go hit the road and blaze out like a bat out of hell. Why? Who knows. Mile 1 pops up and my stupid, idiotic ego won't let me slow down, even though I know good and well I past my element. Um, am I doing these tempos with others? Trying to prove something? No, I'm alone. In the dark, no one but me and the Garmin.
4. Repeat every single week. I deserve to run with a dunce cap.

So, last week I ran so hard that I nearly puked and passed out at the end of my tempo. True story. Last week's tempo was FASTER than the pace I ran a 5K on Saturday. Why? Because I'm racing my tempo workouts. Document this- I am the dumbest smart girl you will ever meet. So, Coach grounded me from my Garmin. Oof. Surely this would cure my tempo stupidity. Well, it didn't.

Saturday morning, I headed out for 3 x 2 mile tempos. I felt fairly good, despite it being blazing hot. I chose a route where I ran the same two miles 3 times, one where I didn't know where the mile markers were- just the start and finish for the 2 miles. I wore a classic stopwatch and hit the first 2 miles in 12:18. Yeah, do the math on that friends. STILL RACING WORKOUTS! Grrr. Thanks to the blazing out of the first rep, I had to fight like heck not to crash and burn. By the time I finished that workout, I had that "effort headache" and I think I saw stars. The average of that tempo was also faster than last Saturday's 5K. It was even faster than my 10K PR. I'm awesome like that.

Aside from the tempo situation and completely sucking at two recent 5Ks, things are going pretty awesome. I'm feeling decent on the long runs, not too slow given the temps and humidity down here. I'm not feeling any niggles, and weight wise, I am just slightly over my goal weight. Which like I said earlier, once I get back my regular school routine, the weight will fall right off. (That's the way it usually works.)

I'd really love to hear from you guys, especially if you have any ideas for blog posts. :)

Run Happy, friends!


  1. You are doing awesome! I had to laugh when you wrote about racing your tempo workouts... I am the exact same way. I go out fast, and then don't let myself slow up. Sheesh! You are faster than me though. Sorry about the 5k's. With the awesome training you are doing and your great coach, I have no doubt you are going to see huge results soon. Hugs!

  2. I can take care of that dunce cap, you know! ;)

    I loved this honest and analytical post! The moment you hit just the right gear in your tempo runs you will become a new woman. Ok that's a little strong, but definitely a new runner-which is scary because you're already AMAZING!!

  3. Upper 70s. I stop running when it gets hotter than that ... ;)

    Keep up the great work in everything that you do!

  4. There is something kind of addicting about racing in training. I haven't had much problem with it lately though ...haha.
    Man it must be nice to not have any niggles. At least I have 45 degree mornings :)

    It sounds like having a coach is the best thing ever for you. Not that you don't know what to do- just that now you have someone else holding you accountable.

    Blog post ideas...are you running out of them? I liked this one!

  5. Glad to hear that coaching is going so well, but geez lady...those are some serious tempo workouts. Relax!

    Actually, I don't have good advice (other than losing the Garmin) to stop racing your workouts. When I get anxious about hitting paces, I tend to try to overachieve - run even faster, so the paces aren't as scary.

    Can you write a post about running in the heat and humidity? Because it is kicking my butt!

  6. Lots of great stuff going on here. I LOVE the "trust the process" saying because it's so totally true. It's good to see you pushing yourself in new ways and trying new things. As for the tempo workouts, not quite sure what to say there. Maybe just remind yourself that not all challenges are physical. A good tempo can be a mental challenge by forcing yourself to stay within your range. Or even at the lower end of it!

  7. I just found your blog from a comment you left on See Mom Run Far. I've loved catching up on your last few posts and will be back to read even more! I'm hoping some of your speed will rub off on me! :)

  8. Haha, this is cute. Can't help but do the same thing sometimes! I tried to kill workouts for 10 years, I am learning but its hard to change.
    I enjoyed reading this!

  9. OK what did you write on "See Mom Run Far" because I'm also here because of what you said!!!

    Sometimes I start to write a comment and then think, no this isn't my place to say all of that, so what I will say is: it's great to see you have a coach, and I really hope he starts to understand you, so he can develope you program around the person that you are. So give him time and you will see as the week unfold things will come right.

    Next thing, matbe you need to look at running as per heart rate for your tempo session and not worry if you are fast or slow, ask you coach if this might help. I know all about it; I would go out for a easy run and then as the miles tick away I start thinking, if I up the pace a bit I can dip under 90min for the 23.1mile training run...

  10. Anonymous7/10/2012

    What a great post! Love all the detail and honesty about your adjustments to the training and the tempo work. I have the opposite problem, I can't make tempo pace, but I can race faster in an actual race. Could your coach or someone run your tempos with you to keep you in check? For other posts, I would love to hear about your nutrition for training/racing. So glad things are going well! Keep it up!! :)