Thursday, May 24, 2012

Bunker Bombing Mental Barriers

Yesterday I did a track workout, which included 4 x 1 mile repeats. I HATE doing mile repeats. I think they are the worst form of torture. I was to aim for a 6:15 - 6:30 pace for each. My coach sent me the workout @ 5AM, so I didn't even see it until 6:30 right before I was heading out the door for my run. I had planned to do 45 mins of easy easy running, since the night before I held 2 x 20 mins @ 260 watts. My legs were already pretty beat up!

So as I was doing my 15 min warmup, I thought of EVERY single way I could sandbag this run and come up with a validating excuse for why "my poor wittle legs were tiiiiired this morning. BOO HOO. WAAAAHHHH."

The excuses ranged from:

  • "I held 2 x 20 mins @ 260 watts last night. My legs are tired."
  • "I wasn't mentally prepared for this run."
  • "It is really soupy out, I always run poorly in fumidity."
  • "My stomach is upset. I might shit my pants." (There is a porto potty @ the track)
  • "I don't want to aggravate another blister. They show up when I run this fast."
  • "I haven't ran this fast in a long time. I don't want to injure myself."
  • "Maybe I run the first two well, then sandbag the 3rd and 4th."
  • "I am not sure I will have enough time to stretch, foam roll, eat, and get ready for work."
  • "I don't want to tire myself too much for this weekend."
  • "Running fast hurts."
  • "I would rather be a gigantic pussy."
It was ALL mental. Sure, my legs were a little cranky to begin with, but tell me about ONE run that you have done 12 weeks out from your Ironman that your legs were NOT cranky at the start of a run, especially when you just woke up less than 30 mins before?

So I finish my warmup, and hit the gas. First mile: 6:39. WOAH! Where did that just come from?!?! Maybe physically I CAN do this!

Then I remembered a story my coach told us on our group brick run last Saturday:

"Back in the 90's, there was this Connecticut tri series where you built up points. It was really great! Well, I was young and there were these 4 older veterans who ALWAYS took places one through four. They would always smoke me, and I became used to it. This group included a former college runner who would run a sub 30 min 10K. Fast guys!

Well at this one race, I came out of the water with them and took the lead on the bike and held it. Coming into the run I thought I had enough of a lead to hold them off. Well sure enough with about two miles left, this super fast runner was gaining on me. So I figured, well, this is when he will win as usual, but maybe I can take second place.

But wait a minute! Why does he HAVE to win? Why can't I? I have been busting my ass and leading this race the entire time. Why should HE have to win? FUCK THIS!!!

So when the fast runner caught up to me I immediately caught onto his shoulder and held. But coming into the final stretch, I knew he was gonna outkick me again and take the win. But again, FUCK THIS!!! Right before the finish, I kicked it fast and crossed the line in front of him. My first overall win!

And then do you know what happened? Those four fast guys NEVER beat me in another race ever again. I had mentally given into them so many times that I figured I could NEVER beat them. This one race broke down that mental barrier."
So after remembering that story and instead of taking that first mile as a fluke and giving up right there and sandbagging the rest of the mile repeats, I did my best to hold steady. I was in for a surprise!

2nd Mile: 6:27
3rd Mile: 6:24
4th Mile: 6:37

Again, it was ALL mental. Yes, my 4th mile was slower, but it was still faster than my first! I think I was starting to physically break down on that mile (my HR was the highest of all 4!)

So battered and broken I did a 12 min cooldown back home and felt totally guilt free about NOT sandbagging a key workout.

Tonight? 10 x (2.5 mins @ 300 watts, 2.5 mins easy) as part of a 90 min ride. *GULP!!!* This will be ANOTHER tough one where already the lame excuses have to started to flood: "But I don't have the gearing to hold 300 watts for 2.5 mins."

It's complete bullshit, and I know it, and the world already knows it:

Thanks for the motivation, my enabler. I will send you the power file to show you I DID IT!


  1. haha, YOU'RE WELCOME!! But I guess this means that I can't slack when I do my intervals tonight...

  2. Nice run! I caved on my run yesterday.

  3. I liked yesterday's post better. Bike numbers are a foreign language to me. But nice job on the mile repeats - those times I can understand!

  4. wway to get it done

    I laughed hard at this one for some reason
    "running fast hurts"
    thats a great one I might have to put it in play sometime

  5. "My stomach is upset. I might shit my pants" -- Haha! I've cycled through that as an excuse also!

    Way to get it done!

  6. Nice work! Mile repeats are indeed awful, they were one of my most despised workouts in high school track, lol. Hence why I haven't done them ever again since =)

  7. That is why it is better to not have a coach :)

    Way to get it done!

  8. Nice work, but isnt it too early to have those thoughts at the beginning of the build phase, by now, I figure you would be going stir crazy with all the base work and ready for some speed

  9. Way to go on not using any of those excuses and just getting out there and kicking some booty! Nice work! By the way, I agree with all those excuses, and I might use them on some of my runs! :)


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