Thursday, April 23, 2009

It’s all about the things you hate.

For many people this post will be a "Duh" moment. But for me this change has been the one thing that has had a huge impact on my training and the way I perform. What is this "thing"? Doing the things you hate the most, consistently in your training. Pretty simple idea Right? I think We all have heard this and deep down we know it is true. I have always heard this since running in middle school, but it wasn't until I truly was honest with myself and committed to doing these things, that I saw massive improvements in my fitness.

Personally in my own training one huge example of this is the Long Run. I have always HATED longs runs, they take forever, you chug along at a slow pace, and lets just face it no one likes to run long. In high school I remember my coaches sending me out on long runs, and usually one other teammate and myself would instead run for about 30 min then go play with some random object we found in the woods that day. At this point in my life I was not that hot on the whole running thing, and could care less on how I performed.

As I got older and out of high school I suddenly had this desire to push myself , and see what kind of fitness I could achieve. I started to train very hard, but I still was not honest with myself. I still avoided the long run! Excuses like, it does not fit into my schedule this week, I am feeling tired or sick, or purposefully procrastinating so I would not have time to complete a run of longer distance, were all things I was guilty of. At this time I was running well, but was still far from the goals I had set for myself. Finally I made a promise with myself. I wrote out my training schedule at the beginning of every week, and decided that every Wednesday over the winter was going to be a long day, NO MATTER WHAT. From that point on I have run long almost every Wednesday over the last 5 months. That first 15 miles I can honestly say, WERE HELL! But every Wednesday after that got a little easier each time.

From that point on a strange thing has happened, I now LOVE my long runs on Wednesdays. I find myself sitting in class anxious to leave so I can get home and run long. The feeling of tackling something I avoided, hated, and was honestly a little afraid of also made me realize I could take on other mountains that stood in the way of my goals.

Another thing I always feared was the water.Even as a little kid I never completed swimming lessons because I was afraid of swimming laps. When I first started swimming again, I was about as bad as they come. Again it came to a point where I had to be honest with myself. I knew swimming with others would make me better. Sometimes you don't want people to see you being horrible at a certain sport, and I got caught up in my pride. It was the day I gave in and swam with other people that I truly started to see improvement! We build up thoughts in our head that people will laugh at us when we are bad at something, so we train alone in secret, thinking eventually we will get good enough to train with others. It was all in my head. All my fellow Tri-fusion teammates were all very sportive, and pushed me to be better at swimming. I have seen huge improvements in my swimming and I owe it all to the people I swim with week in and week out. I am in no means a fast swimmer, and still have lots of room for improvement. But the fact that I went after something I feared and conquered it, was probably one of the best feelings I have ever felt.

Why did I post this long boring Blog? These were two examples of things I avoided in my training, but once I made a commitment to get better at them, I saw huge improvements. For some people they hate hills, others just hate one sport of triathlon in particular. It does not matter what you hate or are afraid of, what matters is that you are honest with yourself in these areas and make a firm commitment to improve on them. Everyone has aspects of training that they HATE. But I promise if you commit to getting better at these, you will become a better athlete. So I challenge you today to be honest with yourself, and commit to tackling those things you hate in your training. I promise it will pay off in the larger picture of you as an athlete!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Training on Through

I have this very bad habit of tapering for every little race that comes my way. It does not matter if it is the smallest most insignificant race in the world, I have this bad habit of taking the two days before the race easy. This causes my solid training to be interrupted by small insignificant races. This year I set a goal to train through races that are not A races. Even if this means doing speed or hill repeats the day before a race so be it. Solid training is more important than setting a PR at some random 5k.

With the Spokane river run coming up I Really wanted to beat my time from last year, This is one of my favorite races because it is right by my house on the trails that I run every day. I finally got some injuries off my back, and was training solid again. Against my strong desire to do a very mini taper for this race, I trained hard the week leading up to it.

The day before the race I decided to not give myself any form of a taper. Saturdays are a brick day for me, so as planned it was time for a Brick. My Saturday brick consisted of 60 miles at 21mph, followed by a 10 mile tempo run at 6:12 pace. Felling good i pushed hard on the run knowing I was racing in the morning. The plan was to fry my legs, Then come race time mentally work on toughing out a race. You can physically be the toughest person in the world, but if you have no mental toughness, your strength will not carry you far. I did not care what place I was in the race, as long as mentally I gave my best.

Race morning went pretty normal, hung out with some fellow Tri-Fusionites, and then warmed up for 30 min. Warming up my legs felt heavy and I knew it would be a long 10k. The Race unfolded with positive splits. I started fast then gradually slowed down. The one thing that had me nervous the whole race was weather to run through the giant puddle at the end or around it? I had been contemplating this all night. But when i arrived at the puddle I ran straight through it, splashing the race photographer. After the puddle it was a short run to the finish. My final time was 32:38(10k). I was actually quite pleased with this, because it is a new 10k Pr for me.

All I can say is that the Spokane River run is a great race. If you have not competed in it, you are missing out. It was so cool to see so many people I knew out there race morning, racing the trails. Untill the next race(which will probably be my next post) happy training :)