Trust, the Process

My parents will vouch for me, since I was little, I’ve always hated running out.

m&m'sAs a kid, I strictly rationed Halloween candy to myself, so I could make it last until the following Halloween. I could make a small bag of m & m’s last a month. And I was often teased about the pride I felt for my stashes of whatever, while everyone else, especially my younger brother, had enthusiastically consumed their shares. My pride was often misunderstood as gloating for others’ loss, but it was never about anyone else’s shares. It was always about conserving mine.

These are the realizations that pop into my head on a long run.

This morning,  a 1 hour 40 minute run was in my training plan; the first hour in HR zone 2, the last 40 min in zone 3. This was different from the usually prescribed zone 2, negative split long run. Not drastically different, but enough that I got to learn about myself (again).

Starting out, I gave myself the first 15 minutes to work up to zone 2. And then I was on a decline, so I enjoyed a few more minutes in high zone 1 before reluctantly venturing in low zone 2. It wasn’t the effort that felt daunting, it was the pace. As I continued along in the low 2s, my pace started dropping to a pace I was afraid I couldn’t sustain for the full workout. After a little mental wrestling, I decided I trusted my coach. She wasn’t going to just put a workout on the plan that I couldn’t do. Pace didn’t matter, just time and effort. So, I’d carry. And trust.

My stomach flipped a little each time I looked at my watch and saw the pace. And then I’d think,”trust.” This happened every few minutes of the run; like Groundhog Day. And it got me thinking about what I was so afraid of: bonking. I’d never bonked before. But of course not, I conserve and save my energy, just in case. I’d hate to run out. And as I repeated my new mantra, “trust”, I had a premonition of how useful it might be to have this trust in my coach, especially if I was heading out of my conservation comfort zone.

Of course, kicking things up to zone 3 for the last 40 min only heightened my fear of running out. But I did trust my coach. And I imagined that she saw that I was capable of more than I was afraid I wasn’t capable of. (I also imagined that she had no idea that this was going to be such a mental challenge for me and that it wasn’t actually a big deal to her at all) In any case, I kicked it up to zone 3. OK, just barely…maybe 3.1, but technically in zone 3.

So, my results: 1. I didn’t run out of anything or bonk; 2. My pace was faster than I would have let myself run; 3. After the run, I spent several minutes worrying this was too fast for a long run and something bad was going to happen; 4. I returned to the mental state of trusting my coach; and 5. I feel certain that this trust will be useful and will require a lot of practice.

3 thoughts on “Trust, the Process

  1. Okay, so this just IS not right: “I could make a small bag of m & m’s last a month.”

    I suspect that my CXing would benefit from the “don’t keep anti-bonk energy in reserve” approach. I too have a “keep some reserve in the bank ethos,” and that’s great for longer endurance events (Leadville, I’m talking about you). For 40-45 minutes where the worst case scenario is less than a mile walk to the car offset by the chance to get it right the next weekend, I need to at least try putting more early power to the pedals.

Leave a Reply to Alex Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.