"It is the overall approach that makes 99.9% of the difference."
~ Coach Lowell Ladd
It's 6:45 am. The house is quiet. I've had a much needed cup of coffee and I'm lacing up to hit the road before it gets too hot or my kids need me for something. My workout is a hard one: 2 X 2.5 miles at a 6:25-6:35 pace with a quarter mile recovery in between. As I often am before these tough sessions, I'm both fired up and a little nervous. I set out for my warm up, trying hard to wake up my legs and get in the zone. I hear two voices in my head....one that says I don't know if I can do this and another that says You've got this. I can't drown them out, but I try not to focus on either of them. After two miles I stop and re-set my watch. Here we go. I switch gears and attempt to settle into my goal pace. It feels hard. Too hard. It's a pace I'm familiar with, that I fall into often, but I'm struggling. The doubt seeps in. I stop after one mile. I rarely do this - stop mid-workout - because it never ends well. I consider scrapping the workout and trying again the next day. I pace back and forth, frustrated, hands on hips, head down. WTF?? I decide to go at it again. So, I'm off and while it still hurts I manage to hold on and finish close to goal pace for my first set. Too slow. But close. I walk a quarter mile. The second set looms but there is not turning back at this point. I've lost a lot of my confidence and most of my fire. Time for a pep talk. Come on, Rebecca. Buck up. It's 2.5 miles. Sixteen and half minutes. Five or six songs, tops. Let's go. And I set off again. At first it feels good, or, at least, better. I'm a little faster than goal pace for a minute or so. I check my watch. I'm slipping. But, it's okay. I'm still in the range, just a little slower. I check again. Shit. I have no wiggle room now. I check again. That's it. I've lost it. I stop checking and try to just put the effort in, whatever I can muster up at the moment. Like the last set, it hurts. But, it hurts more; phsyically, sure, but mostly mentally. I eek out the second set at a 6:42 average. Not terrible, but not great. I stop, catch my breath, reset my watch. It's over. Finally. I cool down slowly. Annoyed, angry, sad, relieved - all of the above. Silver lining....at least I got it done. Later in the day, I reach out to my coach. I give him the play by play of my workout. Then I list out my thoughts as to why it might have gone down the way it did.
1. I'm not sleeping well bc I'm in a different bed. (can't change that)
2. I need to be drinking more water. (can change that)
3. Not used to the heat. (have to deal with that)
4. Need to get out of my head on these hard days and set myself up for success. (working on that)
This was his response:
This was not a terrible workout. You had an off day, and you hit all the potential factors that could have contributed - probably some or all of them. The most important one on the list is #4. You have to relax a bit and just put in the effort. If the effort is always there, the times will happen in the long haul. Up and down days are part of the sport, but consistent training and effort with a good attitude lead to long term success. Training for a marathon is...a marathon, so one or two steps along the way won't make or break it. It is the overall approach that makes 99.9% of the difference.
In marathon training, as in life itself, I tend to analyze everything down to the nth degree. I drive myself nuts. What if I'd done it this way? Why didn't I try that? How could I have done it differently? And so on. And yet, in my 41 years in I've also learned (and often forget) how important it is to look at the big picture and not to get hung up on all the little things. Sometimes we need a reminder. Sometimes we need an attitude adjustment. Sometimes we just need a good kick in the pants. Turns out, I needed all three.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 29
It's 6:45 am. The house is quiet. I've had a much needed cup of coffee and I'm lacing up to hit the road before it gets too hot or my kids need me for something. My workout is a hard one: 4 X 400 @ 88, 1 X Mile @ 6:00, 4 X 400 @ 86 (w/ 400 recovery in between everything). As I often am before these tough sessions, I'm both fired up and a little nervous. I set out for my warm up, trying hard to wake up my legs and get in the zone. Today, I only hear one voice. You've got this. You've got this. You've got this.
Listen to this:
Gold - GGOOLLDD