Monday, October 8, 2012

Stand Up Straight!

Wrote this post for ICEdot Athletes - "Your Mother Told You To Stand Up Straight"

I wrote my first post for ICEdot about Deep Training and how you should be “mindful” in your daily workouts.   Last Wednesday during my long run I was tired.  It was a 2 hour run and the longest of my half IM training.  I wasn’t looking forward to it and procrastinated for a couple hours before driving to the Longleaf Trace.

I got to the Trace a little after 9:00 am (see how late a start I got?).   Started my run and then realized at about .66 of a mile (funny how about can be so exact!) that I forgot my gel. I ran .02 more having a conversation with myself about  not going back to get it but then decided that the smart thing was to turn around.

Like I said above, the run was a planned 2:00 or somewhere around 13 miles depending on my pace.  I use the :30-:45 seconds per mile slower than race pace plan for my long runs.  I’d “love” to average 8:30′s in Austin – that would be the “Great” pace.  More likely I will end up averaging more like 9:00 minute miles – that being the “Good” pace.   So if I could run this 2:00 run holding around 9:00 to 9:15 per mile I would be happy.

Did some quick math and figured that now I needed to go out 55:00 before I turned back.  I’d run about 11-12 minutes already and just rounded it down to 10:00.   Always err on running more, right?  :)   It worked out well because there is a nice “rest stop” on the trace at Epley Station just about 4 miles from where I started with an ice cold water fountain!  Then two more out and two more back to the cold water and then back to my car.  This is a photo of the Longleaf Trace here in Hattiesburg, MS.  It’s a little over 40 miles long of blacktop.  There are a few places where you have to watch because cars can cross over it but they are well marked and have stop signs.  It is a Rails To Trails Project and by far one of the best things about living in this city.

So the title of this post is “Your Mother Told You To Stand Up Straight” – what does this have to do with this narrative about my run?   Well when I was about 8 miles into the run I noticed that I was slightly slouching.  Shoulders a little rounded forward you know the typical posture you see in long distance events from the mid to back of the pack runners.   I think it’s like you've succomed to the realization that you’re tired and just going to “get through” the run.   And I decided to change it.

Remember the Dave Scott – Mark Allen Showdown in Kona back in 1989?  These guys were charging the marathon!  Shoulders back, heads up, driving their arms, slight forward lean!  None of that marathon shuffle that I was exhibiting last Wednesday.   Keeping this picture in my mind I decided to FIX it.  And not only did it improve my form and pace but it improved my mental attitude.  I went from a “okay let’s get through this long run” to some good mental race simulation.   I went from running right at a 9:00 mile to turning out an 8:51 with no real increase in energy expenditure.  And then at the end just to see what it would feel like picked up the pace for mile 12 and ran an 8:38!

Now… the trick will be to keep all these good mental thoughts going on race day when you’re starting to feel like dirt at about mile 5 on the run!  A friend of mine is going to watching the race – I think I’ll ask them to shout out some cues when I go by on the 3 lap half marathon.  I was thinking “Watch your Shoulders” and “Watch your Stride” might be motivating!

I ended up running 13.43 miles for my 2 hours.  8:57 pace.  Right on target.  Hang in there knees... just three more weeks!