Tempo Mental Strength

I wasn’t sure if I’d do speed work Tuesday or Wednesday this week. I did my long run with marathon pace work on Friday, so Tuesday should have been plenty of time to recover. I wanted to check it off my list for the week, so I went ahead and did a tempo run yesterday.

It was hard. Like really F-ing hard. I thought I might do 6 miles for the effort part of the run, but would be satisfied with 5.

My goal was to stay around 6:40-6:45. Since I hung right around 7:00 for my long run with Marathon Pace work last week, I thought this was a realistic, yet challenging goal.

I did a faster than normal warm up because I was itching to get it going and was working with limited time.  I got to mile 2 and tried to wrap my head around the entirety of the run and holding onto the pace I was running for so long.

Mile 1– 6:44

Mile 2– 6:37

Mile 3– 6:50

Mile 4- 6:40

Mile 5- 6:45

Let me break it down for you. Of course mile one was fine. It’s when you try to settle in to what you think you can handle for the run. Biggest mistake you can make is going out too fast. I was a little nervous this was too fast when the 6:44 popped up. Maybe I should have been more conservative with 6:50.

So naturally I sped up. No, bad move at mile 2!

Reality check at mile 3, I was majorly struggling and considering calling it a day and doing a re-do workout on Thursday this week. Those quick three wouldn’t tire me enough that I couldn’t go for it again. I pushed through that mile to get a solid 5K in at least. Then the mile rolled over and I kept pushing. I worked REALLY hard for those last two miles. Of course I thought of just getting to four, but when I hit 3.5 knew I could hold on until mile 4 and just do ONE MORE mile. Because after all, you can do anything for a mile- am I right?! I’m not usually one to even consider cutting a workout short, but this day I was battling hard.

Lot’s of grunting, ugly faces, but best of all determination in that last mile. I was verbally talking to myself out loud somewhere between 65th & 75th on the monon. “JUST GO”

I made a decision. I knew this workout would be tough from start to finish. My legs did not feel fresh. I did plyometric lunges and some other basic strength stuff I had been slacking on on Sunday and naturally my legs fret tired from that. And whether I like to think it or not, they might have still been a little tired from the marathon pace work on Friday’s long run.

I’m not saying you should do a workout on overtired legs. I’m a big believer and hanging it up and doing the workout when your body is ready for the workout if you need to, BUT my body could in fact handle this workout yesterday- I just had to have my head in the game. And I chose to do that. I think on fresh legs and on the right day this workout wouldn’t have been such a beast. But if we only did workouts on days like that, we wouldn’t be preparing ourselves for mile 22 of the marathon or mile 10 of the half (or whatever you are training for).

I know what I am physically capable of right now. Sometimes the bigger question is what are you mentally capable of. Don’t be afraid to work hard. 

Work Works.

Family post tempo recovery run later in the afternoon yesterday:

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Comments

  1. Dan

    Sounds like what you described – mentally challenging – but you were capable of it clearly. Way to get it done – and done well. As you know, this will come in handy down the road – physically and especially mentally. Awesome!

  2. Tyra

    I think tempos are the hardest runs when you’re tired (well I usually think they’re hard anyway) – if I’m expecting it to hurt I definitely start out too fast to ‘get it over with’. Unfortunately I don’t think my mental toughness is as good as yours though! 😉

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