Monday, November 19, 2012

Running Mental Scale

On a few of my long runs, I've been thinking about my running limiters. When I first started running, it would clearly flip between cardio and leg strength as I built up my mileage. Somewhere during the course of training for two half Ironmans, my limiter clearly became leg strength since all the swimming, biking, and running I was doing built my cardio to the point that my legs always limited me. During all this training I also came to realize mental toughness is just as much of a limiter as cardio and leg strength. Lately my mental running state has been at an all time high and thinking about how all over the place it's been, I decided to create a running mental scale. I can usually tell where my mental state is at based on how often I look at my watch and what I think when I see how long I've been running.

State 0. This is the run funk state that keeps you from even getting out the door. Not a good place to be at all.

1. This the the worst state that involves actual running where you look at your watch within two minutes of starting and already start negotiating with yourself on how short you can cut the run and still get some exercise.

2. Slightly better than state 1, but you know it's going to take some effort not to quit early. In this state, I usually figure out how long I'm going to run, figure out about how many songs that is on my iPod and start counting down how many more songs I have to go.

3. Feeling good about running. Glancing at the watch every 10-15 minutes thinking about how much longer you will be running.

4. Feeling really good about running. You don't look at the watch until well into the run but still have the end in site.

5. The ultimate running state. You don't look at your watch for at least an hour into your run and when you do, you think "how long do I get to run before I have to be somewhere". It's a great feeling.


Last weekend I joined Patrick for part of his 12 hour run. Patrick ended up running 46 miles and his friend Cheri did 50 miles! I knew I couldn't run for twelve hours so I slept in and showed up about 9:30 and joined them. I felt great and immediately settled in to run state 5. My cardio was perfect as well. We did two mile loops in the woods and stopped by our cars for water and fuel every loop. We didn't stop long because it was chilly in the wind. After about three hours of running my left hamstring was getting tight and very tender to the touch so I knew my day wasn't going to last as long as I wanted. I ended up running 18 miles (my longest run by three miles) in four hours. It's too bad because I had all day open and wanted to keep going.

What are your limiters? Do you have a mental running scale?

Random pics from this weekend.

You can't tell the depth from the picture above but when I stopped to take this picture, the far hillside seemed to shrink as I stared at it, Matrix like. It was a really weird depth perception moment that I'm guessing my eyes/brain were reconciling as I was looking at it.
Looking back at the trail you can see in the previous pic.

Random pic.

If I don't post again before Thanksgiving, have a great one! It's my favorite holiday.