My running buddy Darren and I after our hill repeats
I managed to complete a full week of training last week which I was pretty chuffed about considering this nasty spider bite which now thankfully is on the mend. I still can’t climb as the harness sits right on it but we getting there.
This week my coach wanted us to be mindful whilst running aka focus on the job at hand one step at a time. He asked us to focus on our big toe and what it was doing etc and shut out all other thoughts.
Well on Saturday Darren and I headed to Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve to tackle some hill repeats on the steep side of the famous red Sunbird route. Instead of using the “big toe” mantra which Fred had suggested I used the “baby steps” mantra. On the very many runs and races where Fred has been sweeping me or hauling my ass back to the group, he taught me to take small conservative steps to keep the heartrate low and not die. So I focused on taking “baby steps” up each climb. We did four of them and each one felt different to the other in terms of difficulty. By number four however, the mantra went out the window and the swear words started, extensively.
The infamous Red Route at Klipriviersberg
So some observations from this weeks activities. Firstly, and most importantly, running and most sports are more mental than physical. Yes you need some natural talent (I wish) but your brain is what you need to train the most. When you are in the gym and you have to do 20 kettle bell swings by the 18th rep you taking strain but when you do the next set of 30 you sail past 20 and start taking strain on the 28th one. Its all in the head. I always try fool my brain and tell it you doing 30 and surprise it by stopping at 20 but no such luck! LOL. It amazes me how mentally strong you need to be to train well, it is half the challenge. Reading up on the subject, there is lots of research into this. It appears we need to try fool our brains and actually train our mind as well as our bodies.
The common trends in the articles I have read are positivity, visualisation, being in the moment and remembering what you have done and where you have come from. Whilst I am an extremely positive person I find it quite hard to be positive about my running. I have a very positive attitude on the trails and I am always smiling but deep down I am always conscious of the fact that I am so slow and feel like I am not getting anywhere. This manifests hugely when I am climbing a huge hill and dying. So definitely a focus area for me on the trails. I need to use my positive attitude to my advantage and drown out the negative thoughts.
I struggle with visualisation and I think this comes from the lack of confidence in myself. I really need to start believing that I am going to cross that finish line in December. My support crew have been so amazing and I almost feel they want it more than I do at this stage because I just can’t see it. I think I need to put a photo of the UTCT finish line on my wall so I can see it every day, perhaps that will help with making me believe I can do it.
The easiest part for me is remembering where I have come from and that is perhaps my saving grace. This keeps me going and no matter how badly I eat (yes I love food way too much) I know that I will never go back to where I was. I so enjoy making these big audacious goals, even though I am slower than a snail in custard, just to challenge myself more and more and give my previous life the finger.
So this weekend its onto the hills again at Klipriviersberg and why? Because #WeLoveThisShit