Dealing with doubts

I’m suddenly feeling insecure about my ability to reach my racing goal in four weeks (1:21 in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon). Normally I’m pretty confident with my training and the effort I’ve put in, but I’ve had a few set-backs which have made me start to doubt myself.

The first was a required change of “tempo” pace from what was prescribed by my coach. My tempo pace turned out to be my flat out 5 km racing pace, so once the runs got longer than that distance it was not a pretty sight. We ended up revising my tempo pace to something more manageable, but they still feel tough – I guess they’re supposed to.

The second confidence buster was a completely failed attempt at a quality long run the other week. I was supposed to run a portion of my long run at my revised tempo pace and then move onto race pace. Then I was supposed to go “hard”. I made it two-thirds of the way through the tempo before bonking and calling it quits. I barely made it home and just managed to limp into a Starbucks at the bottom of my street where the barista took one look at me and immediately said “Water?” I could have kissed him. Refueled with ice water I was able to drag myself the final two blocks home.

Thank-you Starbucks!

Thank-you Starbucks!

Because of that fiasco, I decided I needed to run a race to see where I really was fitness-wise. I found a local 10K for the next weekend and registered. The race felt good. I ran almost solo the whole way and finished in 37:29 – a time I was very happy with given the effort I felt I’d put in. Then, after noticing a discrepancy between the 10 km distance and what my GPS watch said I’d run, and after speaking with some other top finishers, it was generally agreed upon that the course was about 400 m short. Ack! One time in my life I’ve run a 400 m in about 65 seconds, but I think it’s safe to assume I should add a little more than that to my 10 km time. Suddenly my “time” was a confidence buster.

10K Results
Place – 1 Top Fin
Name – Seanna Robinson
Gender – F
Bib No – 12
Chip Time – 37:29.6
Gun Time – 37:29.6
Actual 10K time – sub-39???

Then, in my last two workouts I made slight modifications at the end because I was physically incapable of keeping up the pace. I turned longer intervals into a few shorter ones at the same pace in order to continue putting one foot in front of the other. Good enough? I doubt it.

Finally, I’ve been advised by my coach that my mileage is too low. Granted, I haven’t been focusing on overall weekly mileage as I’ve been trying (and failing) to hit my times. I wonder if I can count running 800 m to my kids’ school three days a week (average number of days I’m late) dragging along a bike on training wheels as extra mileage? Probably not.

Now for the good news: I still have four weeks to pull it all together. Time to pull up the bootstraps and get down to business. No more wimping out part-way through workouts, no more excuses, and no more making up my own workouts on the fly. This is why I have a coach! Time to trust her, put my head down and get ‘er done. I will not modify my goal or listen to my self-doubts. Time to see what I can do!