Speed Work, Self Confidence, and 18 Miles

With the Run Less, Run Faster plan that I have been doing (Now on week 5! Look at me go!), each workout has a purpose. Because there are only three runs per week, there is a goal pace for each run and a certain type of workout each day. Tuesdays, for example, are a speed workout with intervals. The workouts have progressed each week, so while I started out alternating running 1 minute fast with a 3 minute recovery interval, then progressed to quarter-mile repeats, I’m now up to today’s workout of 6 half-mile repeats with 90 seconds of recovery. The pace for these intervals is supposed to be 8:06 min/mile based on the calculator I used for my goal marathon time of 4:10.

Each week, I find myself dreading Tuesday’s workout and feeling anxious about it. Will I be able to do it? Will I feel exhausted? Will my heart explode? What if I can’t hit the pace I’m supposed to? I work myself up into a frenzy over this (yes, working myself up into a frenzy is a near daily occurrence in my life). I’ve mentioned before on the blog how I have the seemingly rare (read: insane) issue of getting really worked up over my training and then usually not caring about my race results at all. It’s totally backwards. I get so focused on hitting the correct pace during training. If I saw an 8:07 pace on my watch for an interval instead of the assigned 8:06, I would regard it as a huge failure and honestly be devastated. Yes, I realize this is stupid.tumblr_nesswsw3up1ql5yr7o1_500-10

I find that as a result of being so nervous about hitting my paces, I always run my intervals too fast. Always. My pace for the intervals on Tuesdays is almost always more like 7:45-7:50. I haven’t missed a single one yet. That’s not good for my training and it makes my intervals feel harder than they need to, psyching me out even more! So what is my problem? Why, knowing that I always succeed in my speed workouts (at least, so far) do I still panic before each run?

I have been thinking about it a lot, and I think it is a self-confidence issue (duh) pertaining to the fact that I wasn’t a particularly athletic kid. I rode horses competitively but never had to push myself in a physical way to get faster or stronger – it was more a mental thing. I just don’t believe that I have the ability to run that fast. I’m disappointed in myself because I want to be more confident and I am trying to build myself up in this area. You’d think that weeks of solid workouts would make me feel better, but so far, not so much.

Interestingly, I don’t really have this problem with my Thursday workouts. Thursdays are tempo runs, and my tempo pace is 9:05-9:20 per mile. I always run more like 8:50, but even that is a pace I am mentally more comfortable with, because I have run a half marathon at a much faster pace than that, albeit a year ago. There was a time when that pace would have scared the crap out of me, but it doesn’t anymore. So, that gives me hope – maybe one day 8:06 won’t seem scary either!

Mercifully, the long runs have been fine. The paces are easy  for me (although still with a purpose) and I haven’t found myself stressing about them at all. This weekend, Amanda, Chuck and I ran 18 miles with the Governor’s Cup half marathon in the middle. I actually found myself looking forward to the run and not worried about it for once! And I was right not to be worried. We had a great time! We ran 2.5 miles (uphill, sadly) to the race start, ran the very hilly race, enjoyed ourselves, and ran back to our cars. We never worried about pace and just ran how we felt, walked at the water stops, took stretch breaks as needed, and enjoyed the beautiful weather. We ended up finishing in 2:08 and our pace for the entire run was 9:50, well within my goal long run pace range! I even got to meet a reader, which is always a nice surprise. Sorry about my excessive sweatiness/exhaustion!


Follow me on instagram at @thetrexrunner for this photo and more gems, such as when I ate tacos for breakfast. Not breakfast tacos, taco tacos.

I’m getting excited about how my training has been going. 18 miles is the farthest I have run (besides the marathon, of course) since my back surgery and it felt easy. I’ve decided to run the full marathon in Rehoboth Beach on December 6th because I feel strong and capable and want to run with my friends! Also, BREAKING NEWS FOR TULSA PEOPLE: I am coming back for Route 66 this year! It was a last minute decision and I have no idea what race I will end up running, but I WILL be there, so holla at me!

LEAVE A COMMENT: Does speed work intimidate you? Do you have a hard time running the proper pace? What are you training for right now?

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