Each week that my long run mileage is high I have ‘long run anxiety’, but I don’t have speedwork anxiety. Why?
I trick my mind.
I know that at some point during the week I will need/want to do speedwork, but I don’t decide until the last minute what that day will be. I know what days it won’t be. Friday, Saturday and Sundays are out. Friday I am typically either resting or doing an easy run before my long run. Sunday I am typically resting from my long run or doing an easy recovery run. Saturday is long run day – end of story. So this leaves – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. The flexibility eases my mind.
This week I picked Tuesday and by picking Tuesday I mean that I did not decide it would be a tempo run until I was already on the treadmill and was feeling good.
If the mind doesn’t know what’s coming, it can not fear it.
I attempted my first ever 5 miles at tempo pace – 7:03. I did not have in my head that I was going to run this far. I told myself make it to 3. I purposely did not look at the time on the clock or switch to see how far I had run on the treadmill clock till I thought I was past the 3 mile mark. When I looked I was over 3. Already part way into the 4th mile, why would I quit? I again purposely didn’t look at the treadmill till I thought I was into the 5th mile. Part way into the 5th mile why would I quit? 5 miles at a 7:03 pace. I gained more than just fitness on this run, I gained confidence.
It occurred to me in the last mile of my 5 mile tempo that I thought I was running faster than my 8K pr. No? I thought. Is that possible? I was fit at the time. I age placed and unknowingly set a course record for my age group.[I did not find this out till next year when the winner broke it]. Could I really be running this fast only 3 months after my 3 baby?
Guess I’m fitter than I think because I definitely set an 8K pr on a treadmill during a tempo run. Now I just need to run an 8K so I can get the 1st of what I hope will be many PR’s this year!
Words of Wisdom: Make sure that you are running whatever the tempo pace you want, prior to the start of the 1st tempo mile. Why is this important? Because your first mile will not be the pace you want it to be unless you already start out at that pace. Don’t believe me? Use a watch and time yourself on a treadmill mile. When you start, start your watch. It takes time for the treadmill to hit the speed you want, so your mile will likely be slower than whatever you had set it for.