I did have a plan to solve the issue I am about to explain. That plan has been pushed back and maybe canceled due to injury which you can read about in the post under this one.
Runner’s have breakthroughs. Many professional runners are training at roughly the same level. Doing variations of the same work outs, training at altitude, different weight training, 2 tempo runs week or 3 ect. Some have a boost from genetics or from a more active childhood. They’re all in amazing shape. They’re at a level where running 10 seconds faster in a 5km would mean a world record… 10 seconds. That’s the difference for them between being remembered forever or being another good runner.
When it comes to race day we sometimes see one runner break off from the pack never to return. At the Boston Marathon this year there were worlds best times ran, almost a world record. Ryan Hall, America’s best marathoner, had a breakthrough and posted a personal best. Then again so did most of the other top runners. After the race Hall said he tends to breakthrough on a day when every else does too.
It’s that moment of breaking a mental block. Seeing your splits and taking them in with a relaxed confidence or excitement instead of a restrictive tight fear that you’ve gone out too hard. Chances are you’ve been ABLE to do this for a long time, today is just the day it’s happening.
I’ve been explaining this to my friends and some seem bit surprised. Some maybe don’t get why I’m disappointed running a 35:40 10km, some maybe don’t get when if I’m ABLE to run faster why I don’t or can’t. That really isn’t something I can explain fully, I can’t tell you the reason but I can tell you the feeling and maybe we can decipher this together.
The training I do both in milage and the times I post for my interval splits are roughly that of someone who is able to run 0:30 – 1 min faster than I currently do in my 5km. I can do the workouts without stressing or puking or running myself totally ragged. I usually for a 3-4 mile warm up and cool down. So the issues isn’t my body. The block is in my mind.
Put quite simply I am not running as hard as I can when I race. My training is strengthening my body but it’s not translating onto the road when I take off from the start line. In my past two races I have gotten to the last 1-2km and my legs aren’t burning. I’m going hard, but I haven’t put enough out earlier in the race and once the end comes along I find it difficult to switch gears. It doesn’t feel like I’m racing really, like I’m just having a very strong solid run.
When I was in high school I remember running races and 1/3 to 1/2 through I would be convinced I couldn’t finish. I would finish and usually do quite well but it took a lot of mental toughness.
Part of my problem is that I am running small races and that means I am running alone. In my past three races I have placed. Two of those I ran and won with a 3-5 minute lead, winning a 5km race with a 5 minute lead is kind of silly. I feel that if I had someone running with or a head of me for the whole race that I would be able to post a better time or at least feel like I left it all out on the course.
I feel like I need to run some shorter races get back into middle distance for a bit. 800m or 1500 or 1 mile. Something where I can go out HARD and just grind out the last lap or two on sheer guts. That seems like the best way to prove to myself and my legs that when I’m heading into the second half of a 10km race that I do have gears left, that I haven’t even started to hit tired.
Once I’m recovered, we’ll see.