How fast are you?
My amazing coach Denise Goode (The Sustainable Athlete) loves to
torture test me periodically throughout my marathon training with time trial runs. She uses my time trials to adjust pacing for training.
These running time trials remind me of when I used to compete as a rower. When I was a rower we would have to complete the dreaded “Erg Test”–2000 meters of sheer
hell joy during our training so that our coach could see how fast we could be on the water in the boat. Our erg time was also used to help our coach to decide if we would be “seat racing” against another teammate for a seat in the boat for the next race. Everyone on the team used to dread these “tests” and for me even though I knew I was strong it was always a total mind game once the test got started. It is hard to push your body to its maximum effort because your brain tells you repeatedly to slow down or to stop as your respiratory rate and heart rate increase and your pain sensors tell you it hurts. When I was a rower I always did well on these tests but I don’t think I ever achieved my best. I always let my mind take over and was not able to push through the physical challenge.
Now when my coach tells me it is time trial day I have brief moments of fear knowing that the time trial even though it is only 8 minutes will be some of the hardest running that I do because it is so intense. I have been working very hard to push through this challenge and as I have gotten older it has become easier or I feel that I have become more competent. Perhaps its the fact that running hard for 8 minutes seems like a small task after having pushed myself through 26.2 grueling miles and countless miles of training. I have learned to push my body harder than I thought I ever could. Through the years as I have become a runner I have worked hard on training myself mentally. Every run is a chance to challenge your focus and to learn how to teach your mind to work through things that are difficult.
So yesterday, I laced up my running shoes, I warmed up and I set my watch for 8 minutes. Then I ran. I let everything go and I pushed my body, breathing fast and rhythmic. My feet hit the ground in long strides. I pushed my self to the point if slight nausea and almost delirium.
1 X 8 minute–1.19 Miles, pace: 6:43 min/mile
It was hard. But I feel proud. I have been working hard and it shows. Boston Marathon here I come!