mind games

OK, I know there are lots who say that Runner’s World is not a magazine for “serious runners”, that it just caters to the “casual jogger” set.  Say what you will, but I thought this article about Kara Goucher in the March 2010 issue was great.  Whoda thunk that one of the best in the world has the same insecurities about running/racing and fights the same mental demons that I do when it comes to this sport.  And I guess it once again touches upon the importance of having good coaching…good for the mind as well as the race times, I guess.  As I mentioned once before-I think lacking coaching in the last 2 months of my MCM training did play a part in things going down at the end.  Back in September, I felt insecure, doubted my training, and didn’t have anybody to tell me not to worry, or that my training was indeed on track.  Maybe if I had that help with the mental game back then, things may have turned out differently on October 25th.  But what’s done is done, all I can do is look forward to Chicago and just do my research in terms of coaching/coached workouts for now, so when June 7 comes around, I’ll be ready to rock and have a solid “team” behind me…

And with regards to that running thing, thankfully Mother Nature cut us a break the last coupla days.  so much, in fact, that I was actually a little overdressed for Monday’s downtown run.  Yeah, decided to join the group-cuz thankfully JG said he would do 4 miles at an easy pace which was exactly what I needed.  And a certain birthday girl joined along too! 🙂  So while most of the group did what seemed like a 6-mile tempo run, a nice group of us banged out an easy, chill 4 miles…and hey, that means we got to the post-run beer quicker too! 🙂  Post-run festivities were fun, especially learning someone’s aversion to Facebook…long story, guess you had to be there 😛

In other news, it has come to my attention that the content on my blog-specifically, the non-running content, has left something to be desired.  I don’t know what to say about that except I’m sorry!!  I wish I had more running stuff to talk about, but injury recovery doesn’t exactly make for fun and interesting posts, and stories about 3 or 4 mile runs are not that impressive.  Yeah, there’s Chicago training to talk about, but that’s not until June…meaning I’d need “filler” topics for 3 months!  And yes, I know this originally started off as a running blog, but somehow personal stuff got added to the mix when I just felt like writing my thoughts…what exactly is the etiquette of mixing non-running stuff with running stuff on a “running blog”?  Anyways, just doing the best I can…all I can do, I guess.

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16 thoughts on “mind games

  1. After running a Masters Invitational at last years USATF National C’ships I also realized how elite athletes prepare just like the rest of us for an event,other than being way faster than us and being able to train full time unlike those of us who have to balance work,training and god forbid a social life they go through the same rituals,thoughts doubts etc.
    Good top see you out there training this week,little acorns,big trees.
    As for your “coaching”situation,having had a coach from 06-09 there are benefits but having been self coached since my return from injury in late July I feel I’ve done ok by myself,some may beg to differ we’ll see what happens at the end of the month at Indoor Nationals.
    It sounds like like have several team mates who race the same events,lean on them for advice/support and I’m sure you know other runners who also race your events,ask them how they cope w/ the day to issues,just remember”running is not one size fits all”what works for one runner may not work for another,ask several runners and pick through the advice you get and apply it to your needs………….phew the doctor is out of here…LOL!!!

    • I guess I just feel that after the way things went down last year, I really can’t/shouldn’t be doing this on my own. And oh yeah I know what works for one doesn’t work for others 🙂 …sometimes it seems my approach to training/racing (e.g., running slower in training runs, not over-racing, taking time to recover after long races) kinda makes me the oddball on my team. Who knows. I know there is no one perfect solution. But I could always use advice/encouragement from someone more edumacated than myself 🙂

      • I would be honoured to offer my advice to you if you ever need it and while not the most”rah rah rah go team”guy on the planet I’m seldom shy about lending my vocal support to team mates and friends,for instance I saw a preview for the movie “Brooklyn’s Finest”and thought “eye eye a documentry about you as you prep for Chicago”!!!!
        If I’ve learnt anything in 34 years of running it’s that if you und and you’re bound to meet a runner who’s been where you are now,I’m courting advice on how best to run Saturday’s 3,000m at The Armory,chances are years from now,I’ll be offer the same advice to someone asking me the same question.

        • so true. i remember during a couple of the long training runs that i was led last year during marathon time, i was being asked for my advice about marathon strategy…granted, i do still consider myself inexperienced when it comes to distance running, but i guess somehow I did look like I knew what I was doing? (I do take some pride in that both marathons that I finished, I ran pretty even splits and didn’t hit the wall in the last 10k…) good luck on Saturday. hope another freak snowstorm does not hit! 🙂

  2. Hey Kara is from Queens, my neck of the words…just sayin’
    And your blog is DA BOMB…double just sayin’

    I think you’ve got fine people around you who could give you advice and help you with your training. I disagree with you oddball comment. I think your approach to training is similar to many others. Heck, I’d think I do the same thing…running slower in training runs – check, not over-racing (since I still haven’t done a single race this year yet – check, taking time to recover after long races – depends on your definition of recovering – check…see, not that different although our paces might not be the same. it’s all a matter of perception, i think.

    See, You’re no oddball, or maybe I’m just in the same boat? Haha!

    • I’m originally from Queenz too, remember…not too far from your stomping grounds! 😉 Maybe we both are in the same boat. I guess I just feel like I’m the oddball since I’m usually one of the back stragglers at group runs, I’m not into multiple marathoning, and even where I see others doing double-digit runs/races 1 week or 2 after a marathon, I can’t even think about doing that, I need my recovery time. And I think to myself “what’s wrong with me that I can’t do that? that I can’t do a double digit-run or run a half-marathon right after a marathon?”

      • A few of my thoughts–
        1. Whether you’re a back straggler or front blazer has more to do with speed than about training philosophy right? I think we can both run slower but you’ll still be where you are on a training run and I’ll still be where I am, so it doesn’t really matter.
        2. Multiple marathoning – I think the problem lies in you perceiving that there’s something wrong with you, when there’s no such thing. There’s a difference between can and want. I probably CAN run a marathon tomorrow, but I wouldn’t WANT to. You can do a double digit run after a marathon/half if you had to…but you probably don’t want to…which is your choice. Others do want to and so they do. There’s nothing wrong with either approach.

        3. As your marathon experience increases, your need for recovery time correspondingly decreases. But again, how long a break you take is mostly often driven by personal desire and risk assessment then a physical limitation. Lots of people only do one marathon a year too. They are just not as vocal or they have less events to be vocal about so you don’t hear from them. It’s an inherent bias. Single marathoners don’t get half the audience as multiple marathoners. So it depends on who you talk to.

        • 1. true, but it’s still tougher for me…i mean where you are, if you “train slower” you will still have a lot of company, whereas if I do I struggle to keep up with a group.

          2/3. am I gonna have to write another post about how much shorter distances are under-respected? 😉

  3. I too found the article about Kara Goucher fascinating. Fascinating that she was that honest and a fascinating subject, training the mind that is. When I finally managed to get my BQ I am convinced that a large part of my success was related to my coach who helped me tremendously with the mental portion of running marathon. It was not so much the toughie feely you can do it stuff although there was some of that. More important, at least for me, where workouts that boosted my confidence and convinced me, pre-race, that I could do it.

    There were several of those kind of workouts, but one I loved was a night at the track. We were doing intervals, ¼ miles, ½ miles all at 6:30 to 6:45 pace. After an ungodly number he said to the group, now run a mile at MGP. It felt like we were walking, you could not help but think, “I can run forever at this pace.”

    I trained for years by myself, but now I swear by my coach and his program for both my fitness and my mind.

    (btw, I did not know that reading Runner’s World was only for the meek, I seem to find something interesting every month).

    • hehe…I just see on running forums and whatever else Runner’s World being called “Joggers World” or other comments like that. My thoughts are that sometimes quite a few of their articles are targeted towards beginners/general fitness runners, or repeating the same stuff over and over again, but it does have it’s share of great articles too, like this one about Kara. (I actually really like reading their elite runner interviews on the website!)

      I too have gone it solo, and gone it “coached” too (I use quotes since it wasn’t a personal running coach, but one for the team, or one who coaches group workouts) What I have felt I needed most was honest feedback. Sometimes “good job, good job” is not what you want to hear when you feel it’s just a blanket statement and you’re not having a good day 🙂 But there is a way to focus on the positive, but still give constructive criticism…only way you are gonna get better, methinks.

  4. That line should read if you ask around you’re bound to meet a runner….

  5. I have debated the whole coach thing too. But my problem is a bit more fundamental: consistency. The world’s greatest coach can’t help me if I don’t run and follow the program.

    • I think any of my long-time readers can vouch for the fact that once I get into a “program” of sorts, I can’t help but be consistent 🙂 It’s just now this off-season/building up thats tough…maybe once this winter ever ends things will be better…

  6. it’s your blog–write about what you want and don’t let others sway you. i’ve been a faithful reader for years so i obviously like your material..running or not 😉

    thx for running w/ me on 3/1! that was a great night!!

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