Last Sunday I ran a 5k that was spawned from wanting to support a friend that was doing her first.
The weather was great, my friend finished proudly, and overall it was a really good time.
Here’s the thing though. I obviously had not “trained” specifically for the race, but it felt so.damn.hard.
It felt hard, just like the Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill 5k did.
During both 5ks my lungs burned, and my legs were screaming the entire time. I struggled during both races to hit the pace I did (39:36 for Runner’s World, 38:08 for last week).
I am faster than this. I know that. My 5k PR is 33:01 from *cough* four years ago.
Since doing the Goofy Challenge in January 2013 I have blamed my lack of speed on training for long distances. I have done a bunch of half marathons since then and am now training for my 2nd full marathon.
However, after I got home Sunday, I got really sad. Don’t get me wrong, I am THRILLED for my friends that ran, thrilled to share the experience, thrilled the weather was wonderful, etc, etc. But, I got sad because I know I can do much better, and I know it is my own fault these shorter races feel so difficult.
But here’s what it comes down to.
I am scared.
I am scared to go fast.
Why? I’m not totally sure. Fear of bonking, fear of being uncomfortable or in pain, fear of the unknown. These things all play into it. It’s not physical limitations, it’s mental, that I am sure.
When I was talking to my husband about this on Sunday he said something that really resonated with me:
“You have these walls up that affect your performance. You’re never going to overcome them if you don’t smash through them”
So true. so undeniably true.
So, because I am who I am, I took to the internet to do some research and found some really great articles with a few things that sounded like me.
The first point in this article is me in a nutshell.
THE OBSTACLE: Working out hurts!
GET OVER IT: …“As you get more experienced and your body adapts to training, you can tune in more to what your body is experiencing.” And remember, it’s unpleasant for everyone in the beginning. “Every step you take hurts at first,” says coach Jeff Gaudette, founder of RunnersConnect, an online training service. “But you’ve just got to trust that you will feel better.”
Push On: Mental toughness is built by doing something that is hard over and over again, especially when you don’t feel like doing it. Our society has conditioned us to believe that there should be no discomfort, to stop when we are uncomfortable. But the discomfort we feel when we’re doing a challenging workout is an important part of the strengthening process.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a little bit you know that I like plans. I set goals and make plans to achieve them, that’s just how I roll.
So, on Monday I went to the track and did 1600 meter repeats. Holy shit was it painful and uncomfortable. but I plan to go back next Monday. and hopefully continue throughout marathon training.
The only way to get past these walls is to smash through them.