Back when I was facing down my first running-type goals I would dread and fear the forthcoming of a new mileage goal, but then I'd face it down and not die (most of the time) and then be, like, HEY I *CAN* DO THIS oh.
Then next time I'd go out to run that same mileage, it wouldn't hurt nearly as bad or be all that scary and that was some kind of triumph.
When I'd go to add another uncharted mile on to my routine, it'd be scary again - but less so - because I'd added an uncharted mile before so, hey, I can live through it again. And I would! Live through it, that is.
I mean, I'd know it was going to hurt and I'd know that it wasn't going to be super fun, but I'd also know that once I'd done it, it'd be that much easier the next time so just stop being such a whiny bitch and get out there and run your whateverth mile for the first time GEEZ.
It was a strong epiphany, this one, because it kind of gave me the mindset I needed to face down my inner You Can't Do That and actually accomplish some stuff like my first race, 10K and first half marathon.
This epiphany has served me pretty well since then, to the point where I've run a few more halfs (halves? I don't know. This naming convention is flawed anyway.) and a bunch more shorter distance races - all without dying or making a complete public shame of myself. Yay.
So, with that out there, you can probably see why I went back to this training strategy for 2010, even though my goals have changed. Specifically, I've gone from distance goals (train up to a half marathon) to time goals (train down to a sub-60 10K). And, with that out there, you can probably see why this old epiphany, while fine for distance, is shit for time.
And that's fine - all training strategies, especially those as Supah Technical as mine, aren't going to work for all circumstances. Which, in retrospect, seems, like, totally obvious. Sadly, my pea brain didn't put two and two together on this one until I'd miserably failed a few test 10Ks.
Because, Hi, Idiot (me), just because you've trained up to 9 miles that doesn't mean you're going to run 6.2 miles any faster than you used to. No magical speed comes from your legs being trained to run 3 more miles than the race distance. Sure, it'll seem easier, because you get to stop after an hour or so, but that's not the point. You want to be done BEFORE an hour or so, so, you probably should train to be fast rather than far.
Yeah, this didn't occur to me in full color until after test 10K #2 (remember: miserable failure) when I was reading Half Fast and he made a similarly Oh, I guess I should have known comment about, "if you want to run fast you have to train to run fast."
I guess I'm not the only one that maybe relies on things like Magic and The Power of Subconscious Wishing to make physical feats a reality and that makes me feel better. Still a bit dumb, but better all the same.
Well, welcome to present day where I've been trying like hell to work my way down to a sub-60 10K and after a few weekends of pointlessly torturing myself with old methods I realized that, with a few small alterations, I can stop failing miserably by handily applying that old distance-related epiphany to my new unaccomplished thing.
Specifically, the Can I Run Fast Enough for a Sub-60 10K PR thing.
The key alteration being - run faster.
The specific alteration being me figuring out what my minimum pace should be to finish 6.2 miles in under 60 minutes (9:40), setting my Virtual Partner (Whore) to that pace and then running like hell to stay ahead of her (I've decided that she's a she, otherwise I'd feel weird calling her, Whore, which is her name) for 6.2 miles.
Of course, I had the first shit test 10K without a set pace (fail) and then the second shit test 10K with the wrong pace (I can't do math, we know this) so I came in .03 miles short when the bell tolled 60 minutes, but then I went back to the drawing board (online pace calculator thank you Cool Running) and ratcheted back Virtual Whore's pace to 9:39 and vowed to stay ahead of her no matter what.
Also, I was working hard on my interval runs, so that's helped. There's been, quite literally, zero magic involved with this time improvement, which is a disappointment and I'm thinking this magic wand I bought is a bunch of hookum, but I'll keep tapping people on the head with it regardless.
TEE DAH! Nothing. *sigh*
With my pace set at 9:39, I went out two Saturdays ago and set my first unofficial sub-60 10K time (58:45) and then, after two solid interval runs (one was 23:01 - nice), I went out last Saturday and beat that 3rd test 10K time with a 57:47 test 10K AND shamed Virtual Whore into a corner.
Average pace: 9:19. SUCK IT, WHORE.
Anyhow, what I'm trying to say, in as many disjointed words and rambling theoretical stories as possible, is that this past weekend I ran my second consecutive sub-60 Test 10K and it was actually faster than my first successful sub-60 Test 10K at 57:47 so now I'm thinking I might have a chance at an official time.
And - WOW - Yes, you're right - people with incredible mental math skills - that is a 9:19 minute/mile pace.
Now I've got one more Test 10K to nail down below 60 minutes before the Moment of Truth, aka the Mermaid Run, so let's hope I can focus more on the new shiny altered version of my epiphany than on the siren song of all my neighbors' cute porches with their big porch swings with comfy cushions swinging lazily next to little tables set with lemonade and sugar cookies and napping puppies with angel wings and shirtless waiters holding trays of G&Ts...oh sorry, my imagination sort of wanders when I'm in the throes of a lung-sucking sub-60 run.
And for the record, I DUSTED my old interval time of 23:01 (so old I set it just last week) and actually came in in the 22s for the first time ever this morning . Yes, I was wearing The Top. No, I did not hit the puke threshold.