On the evening of my mopey Monday birthday, mrp and I had an interesting discussion. We were talking about my last race and he told me he had no doubt I could have run much better. He asked me what kind of warm up I did. I told him about 2.5 miles with 3 200ish meter strides.
"Hmmm," he said. "I don't think 3 strides was enough." "How fast did you run them?" he asked.
I admitted I didn't push them very fast. I ran them along a city block where the Kenyans were also warming up and I kind of felt like a tool so I just sort of picked up the pace for a length of the block and jogged back 3 times.
"Ok. And how did you feel during the second mile?"
He is on to something, I thought. "My second mile sucked. I ran a 6:40 split and my legs were heavy," I responded.
"You needed to warm your legs up to race temperature. It's especially important for short races and when the weather is cold. Every time I ever did a crappy warm up my second mile sucked and I had problems with lactic building up throughout the race. Your lack of proper warm-up is why your second mile was so slow and why your legs felt heavy," he explained.
"Well, what should I have done?"
"What's worked for me is to do 2 miles slow and then do a mile of ladders building to race pace. I always notice that in a good warm up my legs feel awful. I think it's because my body is trying to shift into race gear. You want that to happen in the warm up. It's critical to warm up those legs and get them into that lower powerful gear especially for short fast races. I think there's your 40 seconds right there."
Ok. Wow, I thought. "So if I just warm up better, then I'll run closer to my potential?"
He thought about it. "Actually, I think more than anything what holds you back is that you don't have a champion's mentality. When someone passes you, you just roll over and take it. You spend all this time blogging about running and obsessing about it, but when it comes time to race your running and thinking so much."
"So I think to much? Is that it?"
"Well, yeah. The really good runners I know just have this attitude of Get It Done. When they have a hard workout they aren't thinking about how the workout will make them feel they just get out there and Get It Done. You aren't a Get It Done kind of person. You're not that way with work, with household chores, and definitely not with running. To you, it's about feeling good, not Get It Done."
I thought about it for a minute. I flashed to my blog. I flashed to all those times I obsessed about a workout before the workout. I flashed to those last few meter races with other runners that I just gave up on because I had a time that made me happy. "You're so right," I said.
And then I wondered if I could ever learn to be a Get It Done kind of person.
Yesterday, was a beautiful warm and sunny May day. I took peanut over to the in-laws. They watched him while I set out on the rolling country roads for a tempo workout. My half marathon is in a week and a half. It has a hilly 5 mile section smack in the middle of it. Yesterday was a perfect opportunity to run 5 hilly miles on dog-tired legs. I did a 2 mile warm-up and then ran 2 miles at tempo effort on the very hilly course: 7:09, 7:04. Not bad. I jogged for 90 seconds and then started the next set of 2 miles. I was flying over those hills this time. My first mile was 6:46 and I finished up a huge hill and then second mile was the hardest mile of the whole workout. The hills by the end were real meanies. I rolled in with a 6:52. I thought that maybe 4 was good enough for today. I was super happy with how I ran considering my legs were already heavy when I started the workout. I was also worried about ruining my good workout with another mile. What if I was way slow now? Why not go out while the getting's good? But then it came to me. Get It Done.
So I jogged for 90 seconds and hit the course for one more mile. I was really flying. I'd come over a small uphill and see a bigger one up ahead. Doubts would knock on the door and I swept them out with a Get It Done. My leg were heavy. The hills were relentless, but I came through with a 6:43 fifth mile.
I woke up this morning to dishes that have been piling up for a few days now. Something was stinky in there. Even before peanut went down for his first nap, the dishwasher is loaded and the stink is gone.