So my 4ish mile runs have been landing on mornings (instead of after work) several times now and I always kind of dread them because I feel really sluggish and my time is always slower. Well I actually woke up like 5 minutes before my 6am alarm went off, so perhaps I was already psyching myself up for a better run.
I started trotting away and I immediately noticed two things: a. why aren't my legs working right and b. I dressed waaaaay too warm for what I thought to be a cold morning. But I didn't let these things get me down. I pulled up my pant legs and focused on trying to get my pace/footfalls right. I was totally clopping like a horse out there!
Sure enough, I started hitting my stride, but approaching the two mile mark I started getting tired per usual. But just yesterday I read someone's something-or-other on Facebook talking about Jillian from Biggest Loser and the concept of Mind over Matter. So I started telling myself: hey now, this is ALWAYS the part of the run that sucks...body will wake up in just a few minutes, so right now brain has to take over. And I went faster.
I started setting little goals for myself like "get to those trees way down there in 30 seconds." Now because I'm technically unsure of how far away the trees are, I have no idea whether 30 seconds would be a fast pace or not, BUT simply the act of "setting a goal" makes one run faster! So I kept doing this throughout my entire run...five minutes on this next leg, 30 seconds to the next block, get to Point B before time hits 40:00. It worked like a charm. Additionally, when I'd feel tired, I'd just tell my body to go harder, no ifs/ands/buts about it.
Nearing the end of my route, I was *hoping for something like 9:45 minute miles, MAAAYBE 9:30. What did I do? Not only did I run 4.78 miles (when I thought I'd barely get to the 4.2 mile mark), but I did it averaging 9:10 minute freaking miles!!!!! 9:10?!?!? What the?!?!
So there you have it! I think I seriously gained a TON setting the small goals (sort of like doing intervals/speed work, but *tricking your body into thinking they're just fun quick little games). Although I think my speedwork 2 mile runs are meshing really well with my hour+ runs as well.
Maybe it's all coming together? Maybe I just had a really good running day? Maybe I ate the perfect combo of food the night before (uhh pizza/wings/238021408234 tortilla chips???)...I don't know, but I like it. And it gives me fuel to keep getting better. I'll be prepared for the off days like any other runner has to be. But hopefully this physical AND mental training is really paying off!
OH!!! And I totally forgot to mention it Day Of, but my SIX MONTH RUNNING ANNIVERSARY was on Tuesday!!! Six months and look how far I've come...I mean WHY would I ever consider doing a half marathon?!?!? And here I actually am! Spooky!!!