I think I've convinced myself into believing that HARD is a bad word. That if something is hard, then it is bad. I shouldn't have to feel uncomfortable. I shouldn't have to feel like something is overly challenging. If the going gets tough, take a walk break seems to be my new-found mantra! But today I reminded myself that "hard" is NOT a bad word!!
I could feel uncomfortable and it was okay.
I could want to quit and keep going.
I could think it's too much, but push through instead.
I had to remind myself that my body is capable, it's just my mind that keeps trying to tell me that I'm not. Following my January half-marathon I ended up having some foot soreness so I dialed back a little bit on my workouts to allow some healing time and like I usually do, a little bit became a lot bit and before I knew it I was basically turning every single workout into a nice easy mode/pace...well, when the workouts actually happened, I should add! Because my February calendar has more red x's than blue check-marks for the most part.
But even when I've gotten the workout in, I totally and completely admit that it was pretty mellow. Looking at my Garmin data for the past month my average paces are in the 15 minute mile for the most part. There were a couple that I must have really moved it on because they were in 13 and 14 minute mile pacing. But you get the idea...I was becoming pretty complacent with an easier pace - which is OKAY, if I wasn't trying to meet some goals of getting faster. If I actually want to PR at the 5k and 10k distances in 2014 then I actually kind of need to...well, get used to running faster for those distances! Right? And that was the plan that I set for myself at the beginning of this year. And I've allowed myself to somewhat lose track of that goal.
I've mentioned before that I'm using a Garmin training plan for 5k (starting at the midway point since I'm not a beginner and because of 10k timing) and it is a wonderful plan for me. Lots of variety and not too aggressive. Four runs a week: one recovery, two speed sessions and a long run. Perfect plan! Here's a look at what one of the workouts looks like:
You see where it says "No Target" up there? Well, that's because it is up to me to plug in my threshold pace so that the watch alerts me if I am either too fast or too slow during each portion of the run. So that's actually today's workout and my threshold pace is at about 11:25, and my easy pace should be 12:23-13:01. But I haven't plugged in the numbers because I don't want that accountability if I'm being honest with myself. I could come up with lots of reasonable excuses like "I haven't had time" or "I forgot" or I could even really lie to myself and have an excuse like "I want to be able to run faster if I feel like it without it beeping at me". Really??? None of those are true. The truth is that I didn't want the accountability of my Garmin "yelling" at me if I was going too slow.
So today when I headed out with my mom & sister I knew what I had on the plan and I knew my threshold pace was around 11:30 and I knew that I wanted to try to keep it at that pace if possible. But I also knew in the back of my head that if I slacked, nobody else would care and the Garmin wouldn't yell at me. So I am cruising along and keeping an eye on my watch, seeing that I'm keeping fairly close to my threshold pace, but about halfway through it starts to get hard. I want to stop and walk for a few, I want to slow down, I want to take it easier for a bit but instead I didn't. I did walk very briefly two times and each time during that brief 5-second window I had a fierce internal debate raging! "You can take a short walk break, bring your heart rate back down, chat with mom & sister for a few, yada, yada, yada." But I pushed through and got going again...and you know what? It wasn't that bad! I didn't die. I didn't puke. I didn't fall over. I didn't hurt myself. None of those things happened and I reminded myself in the process that I can do hard things! It can be difficult and challenging, but I can push through.
I was anxious to get back and check the stats to see how I did and I'm not too disappointed with it actually!
Only 4 seconds off of my recommended threshold pace!!!
Turns out that "hard" is not a bad word, if you don't let it be anyways! In my case, hard was a good reminder that I have the ability to convince my mind that it can push.