Embrace the Pain

My legs are tired.  In the last 9 days, I only had one day that I didn’t ride, run or walk. Darn! Should have done something on the 14th besides yoga and I’d be in the midst of a sweet streak! In the past three days, I ran a solid 10 mi. tempo run (in the heat) on Sat, ran a hard 12 mi. on the mountain trails on Sunday (and rolled the ankle again) and biked 24 miles (plus change) yesterday.  I figured when I woke up that it was a great day to run hard on tired legs in the heat.

I’ve been repeating something to myself – a phrase — “embrace the pain!”   It’s what I said to some friends on a trail run a couple weeks ago when they commented that the two guy pals of ours running past were “so lucky” to be that fast.   I pointed out that the two guys they were referring to put in some serious mileage, hard training and tend to “embrace the pain” instead of shrink from it and that it wasn’t luck at all that made them so fast — just hard work and a strong mind.   I’m applying the same principle to myself in my own workouts.  I can’t just sit back and live in comfort land and expect to really do well at any of my races if I haven’t been willing to face the pain in my workouts leading up to them.  Now, I’m not talking about ignoring a serious injury.  The ankle problem I’m having seems minor and when I’m running I don’t even notice it, it’s not causing me to limp or anything like that.  What I’m talking about is when you’re on a run and let’s say it’s hot and you feel worn out and find your gears shifting into “easier” mode.  That type of thinking is fine if it’s a recovery run — but you have no business taking it easy on a speed workout or a long run.  You have to learn to control your mind – don’t let it control you.

My friend, Emily and I were talking last night about how ultra runners must learn to have confidence in their abilities and no matter how much they hurt or how tired they become, they must harness that “I can do it” mindset to finish any distance.  It has much less to do with the training in the legs than it does with the training of the mind.  Many a DNF at an ultra event was already determined at the starting line when a person allowed doubt to come along for the ride.  Don’t allow it a seat in your head! It has no business there! When the going gets tough (which it will – on any hard workout, any really long, hot run, any challenging race – whatever) – stay strong, stay determined and never forget to keep moving forward no matter what!  You can do it!

Ok, so today’s goal for me was to run about an 8:30 average pace in the heat on tired legs around my neighborhood loop. Temperature is 77 degrees and unclouded sunshine. It’s HOT. I ran around lunchtime.

2.33 miles. 8:28 pace (YES!), 19:44 total time. Average Heart Rate: 177.


Mile 1: 8:59

Mile 2: 8:08

Last .33 – 7:52 pace

YES! 🙂 I think the legs have earned a rest day tomorrow.

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