Isn’t Saturday wonderful? All week I look forward to being able to do my “long” Saturday run. I am slowly starting to increase my usual 8/9 mile long run starting next week. That makes me happy too!
A part of me will alway favor marathon training. It is what I have always done, so when I made the transition and commitment to get faster I knew I had to change my mindset towards training.
As a distance runner we often get caught up in the miles. I know I was. When I made the decision to take 12 weeks off of marathon and train to get faster, it seemed easy at first. However, as I started the the training I was quickly awakened to the fact that this was a whole new ball game.
Here are a few things I have had to do to transition to a 10k training focus:
It’s Not About The Miles
I wrote earlier this week about my inner demons that always want to push the mileage. When I first started this plan I noticed how much my mileage would be cut back compared to what I did during marathon training. There is a really good reason for that.
You are running hard a lot more. As you increase your pace and incorporate speed workouts, tempo workouts and hill workouts at least 3 times per week you are subjecting your body to a lot. Your easy days are used simply to keep your legs moving and recover from the workout the day before.
You begin to learn quickly that workout days are the most important. If you have to cut an easy run short to enable yourself to have a good workout – you will. The easy days don’t make you faster, the workouts do. It took me about 2 weeks at first, but as I progressed into the training I let go of the mileage decrease and turned my focus to having quality workouts.
Eating for Performance
I am currently reading Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald. I am loving the book and am learning so much. The main focus of his book is to eat based on performance. As runners, we should never been dieting or eating for weight loss. I know I’ve tried it’s awful and it kills your performance.
Depending on what you are training for, you have to eat a little different. However, the main concept is that you eat for performance NOT for weight loss. I have refocused my eating to make sure I am eating the things that will fuel my body to perform at it’s best. If I have a workout the next day I eat differently than a slow easy day.
Eating for performance is different for every individual. It takes a lot of experimentation to figure out exactly what works for you, but it makes all the difference in your training.
Even though this should be continued during marathon training, turning my focus to a 10k plan has really helped me focus on this. I simply cannot perform at the level I need to during speed workouts if I am not eating the right things.
I know this may sound odd, but 10k training is an entirely different ball game. Marathons hurt but when you are speed training it is a different type of pain. I actually ran my first 10k race last year and to me running full out almost for 6.2 miles is almost harder than a marathon. Again though, it’s just what i’m used to.
The transition from getting to just head out the door and run “x” miles to going out and doing a workout was a bit of a mental challenge. Marathon training taught me a lot about mental strength, but training for speed takes a different type of mental strength. Good thing i’m always up for a challenge!
It is no secret that I’ve had issues comparing myself to others in the past, especially my husband. Right now he is also speed training. He has cut his mileage back but his cut back means running 80-90 miles per week versus 100-120. For years I wanted to get to that level.
At the beginning of speed training it frustrated me that he was still running that many miles per week and my mileage was drastically cut. He ran more Monday-Thursday than I did in the entire week. As I got into training and began to realize just how taxing some of the workouts can be I made the commitment to quit comparing what I was doing to him.
We are at two entirely different levels, and I will never succeed in my goals if I keep holding on to that. I let it go and ever since then I have become even more focused on myself and my training. No matter who you compare yourself to, stop.
Don’t Dread the Workouts
I used to dread my workouts. I knew how much effort they would take and I don’t know if it was because I doubted I could do it or what but I kept waking up on those mornings dreading it.
Once I got to the track and starting going, I felt great! I loved challenging and pushing myself at something different. I kept my dreams in the front of my mind and by the end of it I kept getting more and more inspired.
I still have a ways to go, but I have learned to stop dreading the workouts. Look forward to them! I focus on the fact that they will get me to where I need to be.
Michael wrote an interesting post last week where in one section he discussed that 5k training scared him and he wasn’t sure where he should start. As distance runners, speed training and shorter distances do often scare us. It’s a different way of thinking and it’s often hard for us to really wrap our mind around.
After these 12 weeks are over, I know I will be stronger (and hopefully faster) than when I started. As I begin my marathon training after that I know that so many of the things I have learned through this transition will lead me to an even stronger marathon training season!
Have you ever cut back your mileage and focused on speed?
What weekend workouts do you have planned? I’ve got a 9 mile run planned for today and a hill workout tomorrow.
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