Friday, April 13, 2012


It was bound to happen sooner or later, right? 

Well now it's here, and I'm trying to deal with it as best as I can.

I'm in a rut. 

Cheesy stock photo of a smouldering fire. Sort of where I'm at mentally/physcially right now.

It's been rough bouncing back from spring break. It got me out of my routine. I'm sure you've been there. Add two sick kids to the mix and voila. I'm actually sitting here with my youngest two while one is Lego-ing it up (stayed home from school with a fever) and the other is watching Dora--hacking and coughing like he has TB.  I have a headache, need to eat, and need to figure out when I will be able to fit in 11 miles today. I knew I should have done it yesterday, but I wanted a break.

Pasadena is 5 weeks from Sunday. I can do it, I can do it, I can do it. Trying to hold on to my A goal, which is to go under 3:35 so I can register in the 3rd wave for Boston 2013. My coach-twice-has mentioned the possibility of me going under 3:30 with the numbers I've been posting on my runs. While it thrills me, I have to admit... The mental part of the equation isn't quite there yet. Mentally, my mind is programmed right now to see 8:00-8:10 on my Garmin during the marathon. That's what I've been thinking about as the days tick by. Not to mention my thoughts on how it's a late May marathon in inland CA (WARM) and it's once again, like Carlsbad, a bit of a hilly course. So yeah... All things in due time, and I think that a sub-3:30 marathon falls into that category.  

Speaking of the mental hurdles that accompany faster race paces, I read an interesting article earlier this week. It discussed the mental barriers that we often impose on ourselves when we succumb to the intimidation factor of picking up the paces in our race.

My favorite part of the article was strategy #2 on the last page.

2. Take it step-by-step.

Runners who have an ambitious goal (qualifying for Boston is the most common), but aren’t anywhere near their qualifying time, need to break down their overall progression and perception of their paces into smaller chunks. If you’re a 3:45 marathoner and need to run 3:20 to qualify for Boston, you can’t expect your mind to be comfortable with going from 8:35 pace to 7:38 pace in one giant swoop.
This is a strategy that I have apparently been using all along. Baby steps for me. I ran an 8:21P marathon in January, and I'm comfortable with switching gears to 8:10P for Pasadena. Only an 11 second difference. What's 11 seconds, right?

How do you tackle mental hurdles when you want to get faster?


  1. That's a great way to bring down your time. Keep at it. And if your coach and your numbers say 3:30, then you can do it! Focus on that to pull you out of the rut.

  2. I think the other thing to think about is what your body is feeling. 11 seconds isn't huge, but cumulatively, your body might scream, "Noooo!". So I agree w/ the step-by-step for both mind and body. From what you write, I would guess you're really close :) Good luck!

  3. That's such a good point- so much of running is the mental game and what we think is attainable. How awesome that he sees the potential for sub 3:30 in you! Like you, my mind would do something similar... going down 11 seconds seems much more doable. You'll get there!!

  4. I haven't figured out the mental side, but when you do, I NEED to know! Trying to get about 10 sec/mile faster too!

  5. I agree. Im more caught up in what I know I can do rather than pushing it to see what I really can do. I succomb to my own limitations. I know (thanks in part to your support) that I need to push past it. But you, you seem like you get it. That incrementally you can take down the mental wall. Which to me makes the most sense. So much of running to your potential is treading that line between your all and too much. You seem like you have the formula. Your are rocking this training cycle and I see you in Boston 2013. No doubt. Your body is there and so is your mindset. Thank you for suporting me btw, for your encouragement and advice. It means more than I can express.

  6. Rut-eh! I now nothing about that. Never been there....ha! I also have a TB child here. A TB child with a gag reflex that keeps ralphing everytime he coughs....

    Mental mental mental...a work in progress for me. My husband tells me I'm terrible in allowing for increases in fitness mentally when it comes to running...Working on this. I see you knocked out that 11 on your sidebar and it was a nice one!!! 5 weeks. YES, you can do it, you can do it, you can do it!!!!! Best of luck to you!

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  8. Baby steps. It works. I love talking pace strategy so sorry if I go off here... :-) Based on your training times, it sounds like a sub 3:30 is VERY realistic for you. So, shoot for 8 minutes miles. Don't give yourself the option out. If your other race times put you at a 3:30 or faster marathon on the McMillan calculator you should be able to handle it. Up until this year, my fastest marathon was a 3:35. (8:15 avg.) I told myself that I could do a sub 3:20 in January (based on other race times on McMillan) so I set an aggressive pace goal for 7:36. That's a 40 second difference. Then between January and March I set my goal 8 seconds faster to get the 3:15.

    SO much of a marathon is mental. Keep putting in the training and keep putting in positive thoughts. You can do it!