Yay warmer temps! Don’t get too comfy with them, but enjoy them while they’re here. Ahh the love/hate relationship with March.
I recently read or saw something with Ryan Hall coaching his wife, 2:20 Marathoner Sara Hall, from the bike. One of the things he said as he was riding beside her and she was straining through a race pace interval was “Make it feel easy!” I love this. He didn’t say “make it easier”, he said “make it feel easy.” This is so fascinating to me. He was telling her to be in control of her internal settings. I love the idea that without external circumstances changing, we can control something internal that will make our tasks feel easier.
I tried this in my tempo the other weekend. Often in the last third I start to strain and reach and tighten up in order to maintain my paces. This time I didn’t look at my watch but just said to myself “just run tempo effort”. Tempo can mean many things to different people, but to me I’ve always thought of tempo as being “comfortably hard”. Tempo is not racing. Tempo is not straining. So I just thought “cruise at tempo” and I relaxed and then found that I had maintained my paces regardless.
So is “making it feel easy” mental or physical? Both, I guess. A mental state relaxes your physical state and the whole thing flows better. A tough command to follow on demand in the middle of doing something hard though. I know it will take practice, but it’s a mantra I’m going to try to work on.
I think it applies to other areas of life as well. There are so many external factors in life that we just can’t change. But if you were tasked with “making something feel easy, without actually making it easier”, could you? I think you could. You’d have to practice shifting things around to see what worked. You would change your mental dialogue. You might stop straining and reaching and just relax into the effort of whatever you’re doing. You would stop fighting the pace or the barriers or the inconveniences or the other people, but without compromising your results. You would settle in and keep going as fast or as hard you could, but you would find a way to make it feel easier. I think some people might call that doing it with grace. Or getting out of your own way. There are a lot of fights in this world that are worthwhile, but fighting yourself is not one of them. So while you’re out there kicking ass and doing something hard, it’s worth remembering to try to make it feel easier. That will be your superpower.
Onto workouts for this week: (some ppl are doing Achilles 5K ot 10K this weekend and some next weekend – I have moved mine to next weekend – at least one benefit of virtual races!)
- 2 x 1200 w 2 min rest (5K pace), 3 min rec, 2 x 800 w 1:30 rec (slightly faster) 4 min rec, 4 x 400 w 1 min rec (slightly faster again – so leave room!)
- If fartlek style: 2 x 5 min Hard w 2 min Easy, 3 min easy, 2 x 3 min Hard w 1:30 Easy, 4 min easy, 4 x 1:30 Hard, 1 min Easy
- Taper wrkt if doing Achilles this weekend! 1200, 3 min easy, 800, 4 min easy, 2 x 400 w 1 min, strides