I’ve always liked repetition. I like it in most aspects of my life. When I first hear a new song that I like, I listen to it over and over. Way past the point that most people can’t stand it anymore. In fact, up until last year, I’d been listening to the same running mix on my ipod for 3 years. 3 years of the same 50 songs. It never bothered me, it was comforting. I like to run the same routes and only occasionally will venture off to find new ones. There’s something comforting knowing exactly where you are on a run that makes it seem easier. I liked working as a teller in the bank. I liked the routine of balancing out my drawer at the end of the day.
And since I started running again after surgery, I’ve had the same mantra. Why are they important anyway? Runner’s World says this:
“To achieve your running goals, powerful legs and big lungs aren’t enough—you also need a strong head. Doubts and distractions can derail your attempts, but a well-chosen mantra can keep you calm and on target. “Repeating choice words whenever you need to focus helps direct your mind away from negative thoughts and toward a positive experience,” says Walker.”
So most tough runs, and even some not-so-tough runs, I repeat to myself: “This is what it takes.” I’m not sure where it came from or why I latched onto it but it’s helped me through some miserable hot humid runs in the summer. It got me through hill repeats and speed work. And now it’s getting me through the freezing snowy runs of winter. I said I wanted to run under 3:10 in Boston and if that happens it will be because of all the miles put in over the last year. All the times I wanted to quit but remembered why I was out there and what I was working toward.
It’s a mantra I also use when I’m not running. When I want to run or feel like I should get a run in but know I need rest: this is what it takes. The other day I knew my body was telling me it needed a rest day. I put in 45 miles in the previous 5 days and both feet were feeling pretty sore. I knew I should take a rest day but my schedule said 7 easy miles. Luckily, a night of poor sleep and the weather intervened making the decision I knew I needed to make a little easier. I like running in the snow but figured since I was already feeling off, I didn’t need to risk slipping and breaking something else. This is what it takes. Pushing yourself when it would be easier to stop and letting your body rest when your mind is telling you to go out and train.
I’m now in week 2 of 16 training for Boston. Last week was a 50 mile week and I feel pretty good. Most of the miles were easy, but as we move further into the training, the workouts will get longer and tougher. My mantra will get more and more use as the weeks go on.
Yesterday I met up with Coach Dino for a 9 mile trail run in the snow. It was cold. And I’m a terrible trail runner. I’ve stayed off them since surgery because I was worried about rolling my ankle again on the uneven surface. It was a tough run even though it was slow. But the soft surface felt good after all the pavement running I’ve been doing. Today the kids are home from school so I’m heading to the treadmill. The workout:
15-20 min warm up
1×10 min @ Steady State 6:55-7:15
2 min easy jog
1×10 min @ Staeady State 6:55-7:15
2 min easy
1×10 min @ Tempo 6:40‘s
2 min easy
1×10 min @ Tempo 6:40‘s
It’s a long workout, but isn’t too scary. The long tempo runs are much scarier to me. I guess that’s my weakness and I should probably do more of them. But I’m in much better shape at the beginning of this training cycle than the last one, so I’m feeling pretty positive that as long as I can stay healthy I’ll see some good results in April.
Stay warm, it’s cold out there!