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Running around in circles...

Sunday, April 03, 2011

So, my Bloomsday buddy might not be joining me this year. I'm actually quite bummed about this--we always end up having a good time and we've been able to help encourage each other through the last two Bloomsdays. For those of you who don't know, Bloomsday is a 12K race held in Spokane in early May.

Now, I've been doing some training, specifically one of the couch to 5K training programs offered through SparkPeople. There is quite a bit of difference between the length of a 5K and a 12K. Like, say, 7K? Which translates into (roughly) an additional 4.5 extra miles. So, I'm hoping to move on to a 10K program once I finish my 5K one (at the end of next week, actually!).

The thing is, while I do fairly well at coaching myself through my 5K training sessions (I have yet to actually approach 5K, though...yesterday was the closest at 2.8 miles), I don't know that I have the mental strength to coach myself through that extra 7K. I'm doubting myself right now, even though I know I shouldn't be.

Yesterday, I got together with my Bloomsday buddy (Dena) and her friend Rochelle (who might be joining us, should Dena get to go). We went to one of the local tracks and we did our training session. Mine went for 10 minutes longer than theirs, because we're on two different training schedules. The thing is, I had such a hard time coaching myself through the workout. Part of it was just because I was winded--it was windy and every time I came around a certain bend in the track, the wind would gust up and I'd be swalling mouthfuls of wind rather than mouthfuls of air. Part of it was because my muscles were grumping at me (my hip and my shins were complaining about being moved in ways they haven't been asked to move in weeks). But I came to realize another part of it--I just prefer running on a path through a park.

There are a few different reasons why I prefer running on a path through a park. Part of it is the comraderie--you get to see different people who are also trying to get fit. Part of it is the people-watching--People get up to all kinds of things at the park. And then you have the scenery that changes rather than the same view over and over again. There isn't a whole lot of variety when running on a track.

But I think a large part of why it was hard to coach myself through the run was because I was constantly coming back to my starting point. Every lap I took, I came back to the starting point. And it was so tempting to just give up and walk--to walk away from the running that I had come there to do. And yes, it was encouraging to have other people there with me (although we were keeping three separate paces). But, I still wanted to stop and go back to the car. It was too tantalizingly close.

The thing with running at a park or along a path (even through the neighborhood) is that you go so far out, you know you're going to have to figure out a way to get back. So I figured out that part of what drives me in pushing myself when running (especially the last half of my workout) is knowing that somehow I have to get back to my car in order to get home. There is no way around it--I have to do that much. So I can coach myself and say "Just a little bit further--you're almost to the car". But the thing with the track is, every time I go around the track, I realize that the car is so stinking close.

I'm thinking that if I were to continue running along the track, I'm going to have to change my approach. Instead of thinking about how I'm going to have to get back to my car somehow, I need to focus instead on how many laps I have completed and seeing if I could add an extra one in somehow. Or, see if I can complete a lap in a shorter time frame.

Any other tips for "mental coaching" from people who prefer to run on tracks? Or even treadmills?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I always start on the one lap and see how far I can get. That way I see how many laps I can get in. I think the highest I was able to get yesterday was 8 laps..and that was including the extra lap we took waiting for you to finish :) Plus since I am running for 4 minutes now I try to see if I can make it around the track once. I try to push myself to the spot where I started from before the voice tells me to walk. But then again, I always seem to end up on the track on the windy days and it slows me down :/

    3252 days ago
  • no profile photo CD1315172
    Are you in Spokane?

    I am trying to do the virtual 10K walking. I don't do well on hills and can't run. I know what you mean trying to motivate yourself especially in the wind.
    3252 days ago
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