Friday, April 11, 2008

Friday 9 miles.

I met up with Lis, David and Kerrie this morning, we did sort of a group run. Lis ran her MAF test in a 20 mph, sub-freezing wind and improved from her last test by 9" per mile!! I sent Kerrie home thinking testing in those conditions was counter productive and I huddled behind the goal post trying to stay warm. I also shot video of Lis and David running and we tried to analyze their run form. David looks great with improved economy from a more relaxed upper body and increased cadence. Lis always looks mechanically sound but the video showed that she carried her arms a little too low. I wrote about the mechanics of arm swing a while ago and the benefits of holding your hands up near your chest. It is more efficient when we're running anything slower than a sprint. Our power should come from the hips and the counter balance should come from the shoulders, not arm swing.

Above is a picture of me getting out kicked recently (I'm the one with hair)...
I'm racing on Sunday- the Horsetooth 1/2 marathon and am wanting to run well, so I rested again and jogged 4 miles with Kerrie then another 5 this evening (average HR 117). My goal on Sunday will be to run hard and push myself in the early miles and then try to hang on as long as possible. I believe that in order to run your best you need to take a risk in the beginning miles (this applies more for shorter races) . Beth had it at the Carlsbad 5000 last weekend. Her first mile was perfect (whether she knows it or not ;)) for a PR.. and she DID in fact PR! I've run in the low 14's for 5k several times in the last 10 years and each time I went through my first mile in the 4:30-4:40 range and then suffered huge to just finish. I'm not so sure I have the suffer threshold anymore.. it seems like I have a "survival" governor that won't allow me to go beyond a certain point. We all have something called golgi tendons that prevent us from lifting too much weight and hurting our muscles.. but power lifters and body builders have figured out that you can trick them in to ignoring the threat of injury. I think we have a similar mechanism in our bodies that sense when we are running too hard and it forces our brains to hold our body back. It's survival. The best runners in the world probably have the ability to go beyond the survival instinct and I think this is something we mere mortals can all work on. Not only by practicing suffering but also finding the motivation to want to suffer. If someone had told Beth that they would pay her a gazillion dollars to run under 18:00.. I'll bet she would have. How do we non-professionals race with the motivation to push our limits? On Sunday WHY should I want to hurt myself? I don't know the answer to these questions and I think we all have different reasons. I do know that I lack mental toughness and need to figure out how to push myself and exploit my fitness more effectively and on Sunday I will try to examine my thoughts when the going gets tough.. hopefully I can catch a glimpse of the either the mechanism for quitting or the mechanism of succeeding.


kerrie said...

first of all, you need to stop saying/writing "i lack mental toughness" because eventually you'll really start to believe it.

also, it is far too easy of an excuse to have in the back of your mind for when the going gets tough, and you're called on to push it a little more - are you going to 'suck it up' and put it out there, like you've been practicing in training or are you going to whimper to yourself that you really can't push any harder cause you 'lack mental toughness'??
(if you do, you're a p*ssy)

when you get to those moments in a race and you know you are backing down when you really need to dig, ask yourself why? i always tell myself that those 30 min. of physical pain are far less painful than the disapointment after the race, of knowing that i could have pushed harder.

BRFOOT said...

A couple of weeks ago when this came up. Fear of success or failure. I thought about it quite a bit trying to put my finger on my issue. I think it boils down to risk vs reward. Does the risk of winning or losing outweigh the reward for winning or losing. For me, I seem to respond best if the reward is succeeding where I'm not supposed to. When I have been doubted by others or told I can't do something. The fear of not living up to someone elses or even my own expectations is outweighed by my desire to prove the doubters wrong. Don't get me wrong I hate letting my supporters down and feel dissappointed in myself if I do. But that does not light the fire in my belly, quite like proving somebody wrong. I know I probably need some therapy. But I guess the point of this ramble. What lights the fire in your belly. What are you trying to prove or disprove?

We all have limitations and have to operate within them.

GZ said...

Tim - are you familiar with and if you are, what is your take on Noakes' central governor model?


Lucho said...

Kerrie- I believe you're right.. I may use that as an excuse now-a-days.

and brfoot- I think I lean more towards what you're saying in regards to motivation. It's easier to hurt with an emotion like anger rather than love. I think it was Lance Armstrong that said something to the effect that he wanted to win the tour not for the 90% that believed in him but for the 10% that didn't.

GZ- Noakes... THAT was the name I was looking for!I read an article on that and I mistakenly thought it was by Karp... searched a while for that. The central governor is exactly what I was referring to. Thanks. I'll try to add some more thoughts on that in my post after the race.

GZ said...

TL ... I have Noakes book out from the Lafayette library so the topic is fresh in my mind. I have it for an other two weeks if you want to borrow it to reference his concepts on the central gov.


Matt said...

I agree with Kerrie. Suffer!

I’m relatively new at the endurance game. But I’ve competed all my life in many sports and excelled in college soccer. I know how to compete.

I’ve never quite understood the “I prefer training to competing” disclaimer. Perhaps because on the elite level there’s so much science and application that goes into training, the experience – day-in-and-day-out – is more rewarding than a one-day event. But I have my doubts.

Are we in the sport to get and stay in shape or compete? Many of us are inspired by certain athletes, most of whom are the toughest, most prepared, etc. Their winning inspires us. Much has been written about the training, from Michael Jordan’s practices to Lance’s training schedule (and science). Their winning is legendary. They would cut your heart-out to win. Off the field they might be more benign. The Grip was legendary for his ability to reel you in. Macca’s competitiveness is becoming legendary.

For those who want to compete and win, who want to wage war on the field, training is a means to an end. Sure the training becomes a kind of end in and of itself (perfecting the science, advancing the discourse), but people who win find whatever motivation they need in order to win. That's the main goal. Anyone can train, but can you train to win?

As the Master’s golf tourney is under way, many wonder how Tiger Woods stays so motivated. He recently said that winning the grand slam is within reach. He said so publicly. That’s not talking smack (he’s one of the most liked guys on tour); that’s how he’s motivating himself to win despite his undisputed dominance. MJ somehow found the same kind of motivation, which like Lance probably stemmed from one fundamental event (getting cut from his high school team and overcoming cancer, respectfully).

Find motivation. If you’ve never experienced tragedy or real loss, read the news. Something’s gotta piss you off. Suffer for “the cause.” Invent the dissension. In the end, regardless of results, you’ll be very pleased with the effort. And you might win!

Lucho said...

Very nice Matt!! Excellent post!

beth said...

thanks, lucho- you are right on.
what that first mile DID tell me is that i can in fact run faster (its not the speed/top end issue), i just need to work on aerobically hanging on and fillng in the space below that top end. and it wouldn't even take a gazillion dollars for me to run sub 18. maybe just a TT bike and some frozen yogurt :)

the mental game of this whole thing is definitely no joke..

as always, thanks for lookin' out!