Well, here we are in lock-down mode again. Remember, this is a mental game and luckily as endurance athletes we are well equipped to handle it. I loved Alex Hutchinson’s article about how living through this pandemic is like running a marathon with an ever shifting finish line. Basically, humans (and most other animals), are very good at pacing ourselves to a fairly exact degree when we know where the finish line is. However, if the finish line moves, we risk mentally and physically falling apart.
One of my favourite running sayings of all times, because it rings true in so many settings, is this: RUN THE MILE YOU’RE IN. This is the key to “success” in this race. Don’t anticipate or dream about the finish line. Just focus on right now – and you will be able to keep doing it.
I say we’re well equipped to handle this because I know we’ve all experienced a scenario like this one: when I run tempos once a week, they are by time, not distance, and they are quite intense for me. I can’t see my finish line. In order to know where I am, I have to look at my watch. More than once I have looked at my watch, seen too great a time left for my perceived level of effort, and it was like someone just threw me a 25lb weight to carry. 8 minutes! I can’t possibly go on. And my body just stops. So now I don’t look. I asked the crew I run with and they all have the same strategy. No one can bear knowing where or when the “finish line” is. Instead, we all just focus on the current minute. Is this ok right now? Yes. Then I can keep going. Last weekend I was working stride for stride with a teammate and I finally looked in the last 2 minutes of our 28 minutes of work. I noticed she had not glanced at her wrist at all. I nearly said “2 minutes – let’s go!” in encouragement but thought better of it. Later we chatted about this and she said “thank god you didn’t say that. It would have crushed me”. She was literally going second to second.
So what does this mean for us in this lockdown? Don’t look down. Don’t look at your watch. It will end. Sometime. Play whatever mental game you need to in order to continue putting one foot in front of the other and we will get there. But knowing when that is might feel like that 25lb weight, so just keep running the mile you’re in.
On that note, this week I believe many of us have hills on tap. I think that tends to be fine for numbers – there are two locations and a wide variety of times that people go. Going forward, we will really have to keep the numbers at each location to 10 or under, so if you see more than that on the spreadsheet please start a new time/location.
- Hills! Pottery or Glen Manor
- Fartlek – How about 4 x (3-2-1) minutes Hard w 1:30 easy, 3 min easy bw sets
- Tempo: 30 min straight-up (ooh, you’ll have to work on the mental piece here! Start off a bit slower than usual)
See ya soon!