Tuesday, August 7, 2012

I've Found the Secret

"To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift."
-Steve Prefontaine

Ok, well here's the secret to running a great race-- there is no secret. It's just lots of really hard work. I had a great race yesterday. My best ever. I thought I'd blog about how it came about, so I can remember for the next one.

Speed work. Every good training plan has this. Every article on running faster recommends this. So, in five years of running, why have I never been dedicated to faithfully doing it? Because it's easier to just plod along and check off the miles. In the month between my last 5k (25:11) and this 5k (24:16) I did one speed session a week: 8 x 400s, 4- 1 mile repeats, 6 mile tempo run, and 8 miles with 2- 3 milers at just under a 5k pace.

Suffering. At some point before the race, you have to commit to embracing the pain. It was literally only the day before the race that it finally clicked in me. If I want to run under 8 minute miles, I'm going to have to push through pain. The whole 5k. Again, this may seem like an obvious one. And I've known this concept, but I've never really known this concept. It's so much easier to pretend I'm running my fastest; it's not painful. You have to be willing to hear your brain yelling at you to slow down or you're going to die (my brain gets a little dramatic and makes some pretty big overstatements), and ignore it. Then not only ignore it, but prove it wrong by running faster.

Mantra. I have several phrases I pull out in desperate times to help me ignore the discomfort. For this particular 5k I used "Run Strong." I usually have this inner dialogue that goes something like this, "You've trained hard. You've lifted heavy. You're legs are strong." This time the pep talk was abbreviated to two words.

No medal, but I earned a free week of CrossFit.

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