You've probably heard a few of these before:
1. Your only limit is yourself
2. You limit yourself when you speak negatively about yourself, your body, and what you are capable of.
3. It's all in your head
4. Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right
5. Fear is what truly limits us
6. Your brain is a powerful tool and can make or break your training and race
7. Your state of mind can make or break a workout
8. How you think about yourself determines your success
9. Limits exist because you create them for yourself
10. You're scared it will hurt and you will fail
Is there any truth here? Absolutley. When you think about it, your mind is one of the most important parts of your body, especially when it comes to bettering yourself with regards to running. Why is it so important? Your mind makes the decision to get up instead of sleeping in. Your mind decides how hard you're going to push. Your mind decides if you're going to give up midway through the workout (or even try to begin with), and your mind decides if you're going to go that extra mile. Basically, without your mind, your quads and calves are useless.
Your brain controls your muscles and it becomes more efficient with repetition. So, the more you do something, the better you become. So, harness this power. Do drills, speed up the last part of your run, etc. Basically your brain can help you build strong neuromuscular connections that will start to become automatic when you run. Remember there's a flip side to this as well. If you teach your brain that "easy" is the pace your body should go, you'll have a hard time pushing on race day.
Your brain can also tell the difference between pain and discomfort. It can also help you recover from a bad run and celebrate the success of a race done well. It can also help you learn from your mistakes and adapt to new training routines and regimens. It can help you figure out how to go about changing your training plan if needed. Your brain is your most important tool, and if used wisely, it can make your performance.
The way you talk to yourself as a runner is very important. If you tell yourself you can't do it, you're the slowest in the group, you'll never make it, you can't handle the pace, etc - guess what? You won't be able to do it, you'll continue to be the slowest in the group, you won't make it, and the pace will be too fast. Remember that the next time you start to doubt what you can do.
So as you prepare for your summer and fall races, how will you utilize your mind? Will you harness the power of the brain for your benefit, or will you let it get the best of you?
Remember, you create and set your limits and whether you think you can or you think you can't - you're right.
See you Tuesday!
A note before we start: As you ponder what races to run this summer, don't forget to sign up for the Bentley Fund 5k hosted by Jordan Valley Community Health Center. This will be our next team race and will be a great chance to nail a 5k PR on a certified course. Use code BENTLEY417 for a discount for online registration, or give your forms (with payment) to Joy and she will turn them in to the race director. This is a wonderful cause as well, and it's a good chance to have some competition as the race has a large turnout.
If you want a training plan, please let us know soon. We are 11 weeks out from race day and we'd love to see you PR! Some of you have set some awesome 5k goals and here's a great chance to reach them.
Moving on. We've heard the words full, marathon, and 26.2 floating around a lot lately. So, we know many of you are contemplating one in the near future (by near future we mean in the next year or so). So, we wanted to take a moment to explore what it really means to train for 26.2. If you've ever run the full marathon distance, you can attest that the training and race itself take a lot of work, both physically and mentally. Not to mention an incredible amount of focus toward your end goal.
The first thing to do is to examine your motive. Is 26.2 a bucket list item? Something you simply want to complete? Are you trying to qualify for Boston? Do you have a specific goal time? Are you running for a charity? Think about why you want to complete/compete in this distance. What is driving you to make this decision? Whatever your reason may be, keep it in the back of your mind as you begin your training. This will be a good motivator for you when times get tough.
So how do you choose a good first marathon? Think about your preference. Do you like smaller races, or do you like the feel of the big crowds? Do you like scenic routes or something with a more urban feel? Take these things into consideration when you choose your race. Would it make you feel more comfortable to race close to home? Or maybe you want to use the race as a vacation getaway. Whatever you choose, get signed up and focus yourself so you can meet your goal!
Remember that marathon training takes time. Not just time as far as a long training plan (training plans tend to range from 12-25 weeks), but time each day. There's nothing wrong with this, but you need to be aware it isn't a simple task. Most runners will complete long runs of at least 20-22 miles prior to race day. When you think about it, that's a decent chunk of your Saturday. Plus, when you're done you might want to eat all the food. I mean all of it. That being said, beware of weight gain. You need to learn to fuel your body correctly.
It's smart to know your limits as well. If you tend to get hurt training for 10ks or half marathons, you may want to reconsider 26.2 or at least try to determine what it is that's causing you to get hurt so you can make adequate changes. It's also smart to start early. You want to ensure you're prepared, right? Make sure you have a plan that can adequately build you up to where you need to be and peak you out on race day.
If you haven't raced much, it would be helpful to start small and get some races under your belt. 5ks, 10ks, half marathons. This will help you learn what it's like to race and be in a race environment.
So what are the key components to training? First - base mileage. Build your base mileage before you truly start your training plan. This will help keep injuries at bay. It will also allow you to complete the workouts and feel mentally good about it. Second - the long run. On average, you'll be doing a long run weekly so your body can build up to longer distances. Long runs can go up to about 22 miles. Third - speed work. You'll want to start doing tempos as well as intervals to increase your cardio capacity and help build speed (especially if you're seeking a goal time). Even if you're only looking to complete the race, speed work still matters as helps your body become stronger both physically and mentally. Finally, rest and recovery. You need to make sure to give your body a chance to rest and recover to prevent burnout and injury. Also remember not to increase you mileage by more than 10% per week.
As you go through the training process, you want to make sure you are keeping your body hydrated and fueled properly. If you don't, your training will suffer and that's not something you want to happen. When training suffers, burnout occurs and injuries pop up. This isn't something you'll want to deal with when you have a goal race around the corner. Make sure you're taking in enough calories (and good calories, not junk food) to fuel your body for the long runs and hard workouts. Make sure you're hydrating all day as well.
Another tip is to make sure you have good shoes. Truthfully, you should have more than one pair of good shoes. You'll be logging a lot of miles. So make sure your shoes are properly fitted and comfortable. Along with this, make sure the gear you're running in is comfortable and fits well. Chafing sucks, and no one wants to deal with it. Good socks are also key. If you don't have a running watch (or a running watch you're happy with), it's time to invest in one. Whether it's a basic stopwatch, fancy Garmin, or something in between, make sure it can do what you need and that you like it.
So what can you expect your weekly training to look like? With a half, your weekly mileage would likely run somewhere between 25-35 (maybe more for some people). With a full, you're looking at 50+ mile weeks to get all of the mileage in. With the half, your long runs will be around 12-14 miles. With a full, you'll be running up to 20-22 with many runs of 12-18 in there along the way. Your speed work will probably also look a little different. Your tempo runs will be longer for sure! Basically, you're looking at a large time commitment. If you're going to do it, be ready to commit and go all in.
Many people don't need to fuel for a half, especially if you're running around 90 minutes (a 1:30 half). But, for a full this may be a different story. If you plan to drink or fuel along the way, you'll need to make sure you're trying out products during your training runs to see what works best for you. Does GU bother your stomach? Try something else. There are a lot of products on the market if this is the route you want to take. Oh, if you plan to use these items and have been training with them - don't forget them on race day.
What if you get injured along the way? Well, know you're not alone. Marathon training is no easy task, and your mileage is obviously going to increase. So, if you do get hurt, evaluate the injury. Are you just sore from training more? If so, this really isn't something to be super concerned about. Hop in an ice bath, do some stretching/yoga and take an extra rest day if needed. But chances are you just need to keep pushing that lactic acid out of your body, so lace up those shoes and head out even if it's just for a short easy run.
But, if you're looking at something more serious - shooting pain, persistant pain - more than just soreness you need to be cautious. What is hurting? Have you changed your routine recently? New shoes? Did you up your mileage too quickly? Did you wear shoes the day before that could effect how you're feeling today? Perhaps you ran on new terrain? Did you try a new crosstraining activity? You need to figure out what is going on so you can take care of your body. If you continue to run with an injury, not only will it take longer to heal, other injuries may pop up due to your gait/stride being off. For example, if your right foot hurts, you may develop an injury in your left knee. If your hips are tight and painful, you could develop knots in your calves and hamstrings. If you have an upper body injury that causes you to tense up, your lower body may become sore as well.
If you have to take time off, remember to build back up slowly and don't just jump into your training. It's okay if you have to deviate from your schedule a bit - no one follows a schedule perfectly (if you have questions about altering your schedule, just ask us). While you're off, take care to eat well, stretch, and take care of your body. If you're able to cross train (swimming, biking, yoga, rowing machine) do it. This will help keep your mind and body in training mode while allowing you to rehab your injury. Just know that you must get healthy if you want to be able to nail your race on race day. So, there's no shame in taking time off to allow your body to recover. Don't push yourself to the point where you don't even have a chance to race because you wouldn't let your body rest and get better.
Marathon training is a mental sport as well. It's a tough task physically, but when you look at the toll it takes on your "free time" it can sometimes see overwhelming and frustrating. When this happens, think back and remember why you are doing this. Remember that if you want to do well, you have to put in the work. Running/life balance can be hard when you're training for 26.2 but take a moment to focus and figure out how to make it work for you.
So, to wrap it up in a nutshell, make sure you have a solid training program and truly know why you want to run this distance. Make sure you have adequate time to dedicate to your training, and really focus on it. Make sure you have the proper shoes and gear and make sure you fuel and hydrate your body properly. Take care of yourself and you'll be ready to cross that line at your goal race.
Marathon training can be daunting, so it helps to find a training buddy. Maybe your buddy has the same goal as you. That's perfect. Even if they don't, simply meeting up to run can be helpful. It never hurts to have a strong support system as you embark on your marathon journey. Just remember to thank them when you cross the finish line. Your spouse and family likely gave up a lot of time to help you out as you trained for your big race, so give them a big sweaty 26.2 hug when you're done and then schedule yourself a massage :)
Happy Running! We will see you Tuesday for a mile time trial followed by some repeats to work on foot speed and turnover.
This has been a month full of races! We had The Big Party Half, GoGirl, Rock the Parkway, Run For Clean Water, MercyMe, Frisco, and Illinois. Way to go to all of our runners. You raced hard this month, and there were a lot of PRs as well as lessons learned.
Now, let's get into the topic for the week. Why is everyone getting faster than me? Why is everyone nailing PRs except me? Why is everyone looking stronger than me? What am I doing wrong? I'm working hard every single time we meet! I'm really working hard on Tuesday morning and I'd like to know what I can do to reach my goals.
It takes more than Tuesday.
It takes more than a 45 minute killer workout one day per week. It's more than Tuesday.
What does it take? It takes dedication to your goal. What does this mean? It means running on rainy days. It means eating well. It means doing the workout even when you don't want to. It means showing up mentally and physically to every run and every workout even when you don't want to. Dedication equals work. But, it also equals success in the long run. We have a feeling that success is what you're after.
Now, not every day of every week of the year must be dedicated to training. Training goes in cycles, and you need a break. We don't expect to see you at every workout year round because we know you aren't in full on training mode all the time. Just because we meet doesn't mean you have to be there. Everyone has different training schedules. Your body needs a break - no one trains hard year round. It's okay to take a few weeks off between race cycles (but you already know that). Sleep in. Take it easy. Everyone is on a different racing schedule, so we will be here, but we know we won't see each of you every week.
But, when you're really trying to get faster and reach a PR, it will take more than Tuesday.
It takes more than Tuesday. It takes mental toughness and a lot of thought. It takes pushing through the last rep, or going the extra mile when you want to give up. It takes you telling yourself that you are good enough.
You have to be smart about it as well. Let's say your goal is to drop time in the 5k. What should you be doing? Should you be doing one workout per week and jogging slow runs the rest of the time? No. Should you be doing one speed workout and focusing the rest of your energy in the gym on weights and not running but another mile here or there? No. Of course not.
If you want to run 26.2, should your workouts consist of a few 5 mile runs here and there and lots of time in the yoga studio? Probably not (although we do recommend you throw the yoga in with your training). If you want to nail 26.2, it's going to take a heck of a lot of work, and you need to do it right if you want to be successful. Recognize and respect the distance you want to race, and focus your goals.
Moral of the story - be smart and strategic about how you reach your goals.
But what if you don't want to race? What if you just like to run? That's fine too. But face it - you wouldn't show up on Tuesday if you didn't want to get better in some way. Here's a little hint though - sometimes racing gives you a good reason to put in the work on those days when it's tough to get out the door. But, if you don't want to race, don't let others pressure you into it. Run for you.
So here's the thing. If you want to get faster, nail PRs, move up into a different group on workout day, or just feel more fit in general, it's going to take more than Tuesday.
It's easy to say you train hard. Anyone can say that. But, will your results show it? If you want to be successful, you have to put in the work when no one is watching. You have to speed up your every day runs. Start dropping the pace on your long runs. Get out there and aim to kill the last mile of your run. When you start incorporating these strategies on more days than Tuesday, you'll start to see the changes you desire. Keep up the good work - we are so proud to have you on the team.
See you Tuesday.
Who Picks the Topics?
Each week, we notice different things. We try to incorporate the questions we are receiving or the training issues we are noticing into our post(s) for the week. If there is something you'd like us to cover, let us know!