I realize that the title of this post may have many of you tilting your head to the side saying “huh?”. I bet you look like this:
Let me explain. Last night I set out on an easy little jog around my new neighborhood. During the three miles at 9ish minute pace I started thinking about the sprint triathlon I have coming up in three weeks and I began to get scared. Really scared.
You see, for the past year I have focused on long distance endurance events where I never worried about speed or finishing time. I rarely ever pushed the pace. During ironman training when my effort got too hard or my heart rate got too high I simply backed off. But with a sprint, you bring the intensity the whole time. Balls to the walls.
The only experience where I really pushed hard was the Broad Street 10 miler where I both peed my pants and threw up at the finish line from running the last mile so hard. To be fair, my sisters engagement party was the night before and I may have had a little too much to drink. And I didn’t have a chance to use the bathroom before the race. But point is that I’m not used to being uncomfortable while racing or training. I need to become comfortable with feeling uncomfortable if I want to increase speed and become a better athlete. This ain’t Ironman training no more.
So last night once I spent 3 miles scaring myself about a sprint tri, I used my 4th mile to test my ability to be uncomfortable. My run already felt strained as my legs were sore from the many hill repeats we did at the spinning certification class in Sunday. I reset my Garmin to 0, and promised myself I would run as hard as I could until I heard the 1 mile alarm go off.
I started to run fast and immediately felt like I was going to die (exageration for drama but I did feel pretty bad). I felt like I couldnt hold the pace anymore and looked down at my watch which said .17 of a mile. Then I had this train of thought… “This is stupid. I cant do this. Im going to slow down. NO. Keep running hard. Oh my god this hurts. Thats a cute dog. Im hungry. Deep breaths. This is what the sprint is going to feel like. Pretend you are winning. Pretty flowers. Im hungry.” And then I heard the 1 mile alarm go off.
That is a 5 second PR for the fastest mile of my life. It hurt physically but was a huge win mentally. I can push my speed to the point of uncomfortable and as long as I stay mentally strong I won’t slow down. This being uncomfortable thing is new for me and Im not sure I like it but I know it will make me a stronger athlete.
How do you guys stay in the zone when you are pushing hard to the point of being uncomfortable? Does “Call Me Maybe” help? Because it totally helped me. Don’t judge.