Believing you can run fast.

The first step to running fast, is knowing that you can do it.

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I had a really weird workout today. One where my body wanted to run faster but my brain was saying, “Dude, that’s too fast. You can’t do that!” If I want to get faster, I have to convince my brain that I can run fast. I don’t know why my mind tries so hard to convince my body that I can’t do it. Knowing and believing are subtly different word choices that I used in the title and in the opening of this post.  For me, these words spark on the difference between what you see is possible and what you believe you can achieve.  Several sports psychology studies with children (Duda et al, 2011) and with elite soccer players (VanYperen & Duda, 2007) highlight that what you believe is associated with success in sport is linked to both motivation and performance in sport. Convincing yourself that you have the skills to succeed is an interesting mental challenge. One that keeps sports interesting for me.

I think my challenge today stems from the fact that I’m just not practiced at running faster. Today, I opted to listen to my body and just relax and run.  But the pacing was hard and not at all even because of my mental battle. From now on, I’m going to start believing that I can run fast … unless I can convince myself that I should go faster.  Shoot. I’m not sure how my silly head will deal with that. Either way, it will be an interesting challenge.



3 x 30 second sprints = bacon

In breaking news, a recent study has concluded that 3 x 30 second sprints daily can justify bacon for breakfast. Check out this feature on BBC news and the scientist’s press release.  The BBC article also highlights how being a triathlete can make your body look >20 years younger.  Seriously.  It’s time to start sprinting.

… a study published in The Physician and Sports Medicine suggests that older athletes on intense training programmes are capable of achieving remarkable levels of fitness. MRI scans have shown that a 70-year-old triathlete can have as much muscle mass as a 40-year-old.

From: BBC News – Can an intense workout help you live longer?


Historic Half in Fort Langley

Today’s race was good. I went into the day feeling a bit conservative thinking that I would aim for 5min/km and a 1:45 finish. However, about 5km into the race, I realized that I was feeling good and I might as well just run. Starting out conservative is a nice way to race because for the whole second half I was passing people and feeling strong. I finished at just under 1:39.  It’s quite a hilly route which makes it tough … but I felt good.  Last year, I raced well and ran my half marathon PB on this route of 1:37:54.  I think I probably could have beat that time today if I went into the race with a different mindset. That said, it was a good day and I had fun racing.

In other news, on March 1st, I start training with a new coach.  Her name is Stephanie. Her favorite meal is dinner.  I’m quite excited to get started with my new training program.

My Ideal IronMan Race Day

I wrote this “Ideal Race Scenario” in preparation for my race in Penticton on August 26th, 2012.  Reading it over, six months later, I can see that what I wrote and visualized before race day serves as an excellent race report of what actually happened.  There were a few things different on the day but nothing really that different.  Where I veered off a bit from the plan was during the run.  The run never really felt good and I made a few mistakes with my nutrition**. Preparation, visualizing this plan, and enjoying the day, created a 1hr 4 min personal best finish time for me.  I also see potential for improving on this great day which is one of the reasons why I’ve signed up for doing the Challenge Race in 2013. 

I sleep well the night before because I know there’s nothing left to do but enjoy the day I’m ready for. I eat oatmeal with blueberries and honey, yum!

I get to transition early, stay away from stressed people, walk through transition routes, find a clean bathroom with no lineups, eat a gel to top me up, and then get into my wetsuit.  I am relaxed and excited and have a smile on my face. I stand at the swim start with calm friends, I know that nervous means I’m ready. I’m wearing my tinted goggles.

I swim and use the crazy start to make me go fast, I stay out of trouble but on toes.  I give myself 2-3 buoys, reevaluate, if I need to I find clear water mid way out. “Go for it, settle in, be smart!” I am long and fast, I exit the water.

I put on my bike helmet and shoes and get the heck out of town. I take in the atmosphere of the fans and the ride route I know well and I ride.  I am prepared to pass people, I don’t back off and I don’t draft. I use the excitement when I need it, I’m aiming for zone 3, 175-180 watts which is my go forever fast pace. I have four words on the handlebars of my bike to remind me of my plan, they are “Strong, Controlled, Focus, Smart.” Down to Oosoyos, my riding is contained and strong and I execute my nutrition plan. Before Richter, I drop all but one bottle and refill at the aid station at the top. I am resourceful, making adjustments to my plan and I keep going. In my special needs bag, I have Salt pills, CO2 and a spare tube. I plan on not picking it up but it’s there just in case. I drink 2×500 liquid per hour, one water, one perform. I eat 1 gel every 45 min. I take 1 salt every hour or two, as needed. I am smart and adjust as needed. I monitor my emotional responses. If I feel different, I pay attention to my nutrition. If I feel bad, it’s a sign my nutrition is going wrong. If this happens, I try something different and let 20 min go by. Breathe. I ride steady up Richter. I’m aggressive but safe on the descent staying as aerodynamic as possible. For the rollers, I get gear changes done ahead of time and I have tension on the pedals all the way through the rollers. I am strong and controlled.  I’m not aggressive but I’m also not soft pedaling. Into Cawson, I maintain my mental focus, technique, and recall my good training rides. On the out and back, I keep my focus. I ride strong controlled and do another nutrition assessment. As I approach Yellow Lake, I shift my focus to effort not speed. I use a steady energy (taking the energy from the crowd and put in the tank for the run). Riding back into town, I focus on technique. When I’m back in town, I focus on run and get ready.

I am so thankful to get off the bike. I give myself a wee bathroom break. I put on socks and shoes, and run. Now this what I’m, looking forward to. After the bike falls away, I’m free to run. I do 1 km then check in giving myself a bit of a run to let my legs get under me. I am really looking forward to this run. The key is to check my pace. I run 1km-2km and then dial the pace. For the first 5km, I aim for 5:15 pace.  Then, I start the run aiming for 5 min/km. I think of shady trails at UBC and my many great training runs. At the turnaround, I feel awesome. At the special needs, I grab my full bottle of perform**. I eat 1 gel + Perform / hour.  If not, I slow down to get my nutrition in. I will also have salt pills at ready (Be smart, if its not working, try something different). On the way back, the hill is hard but I’m running well.  I run back home, I see my friends and cheer for them on the way home.  Pace trumps finish time. I don’t think of finish time until cherry lane. At cherry lane use the finish line to pull in. I finish strong. I do the best time I can.

 ** I forgot to fill my water bottles before I put them in my special needs bag. Whoops.

This race (and my next big race) is a celebration of all the fun times that I’ve had training for the event over the past year.

Big Peachy Week

Wow, was I ever exhausted after my “Big Peachy Week”.  I was glad to be scheduled for a couple of easy days of training.  I needed them.  Fortunately, my work week was pretty flexible with me attending a conference downtown.  I think I may have scared some of the conference attendees with my lunch eating abilities.  This past week was my biggest week of training so far in the build up to IronMan and it was great. My uncle says that I’m twice as fit as the last time I did IronMan.  My response was, “then I should be able to go twice as fast!”  Now that would be something.

So the Peach was a no wetsuit swim.  24oC water.  This was the first time I’ve raced in a no wetsuit triathlon.  My swim time wasn’t a time I was particularly happy with… but at least I can blame it on the wetsuit (or lack of).  [It can’t have been the 3.8km swim on Friday or the 2.1km swim race on Saturday or all the rest of the week].  PS.  I did the IMC swim course on Friday in 1:10 (with no drafting).  I was happy with that.

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