Attitude Adjustment and Breakthrough Week

I received this quote/reading in my inbox recently, and it struck a chord with me from a training perspective.

Limited expectations yield only limited results.
– Susan Laurson Willig

Our thoughts determine our actions, and when our thoughts are negative, our successes are few. What we hold in our mind is certain to be reflected in the day’s activities. And we are capable of fueling our thoughts positively, if we choose to. Positive self-assessment and uplifting pep talks can become habitual if our desire to live up to our potential is great enough. The expectations we privately harbor, be they small or far-reaching, will set the pace for the progress we make today, and every day.

We can greet a challenge with eager anticipation when we’ve grown accustomed to believing in our capability for success.”

[Reading from: The Promise of a New Day by Karen Casey and Martha Vanceburg]

I’ve struggled a lot this year with accepting where I am currently with my running. The last time I focused solely on running (2011), I was setting PRs all over the place, achieving new milestones and feeling pretty chuffed – but I was also starting to feel burnt out. I needed the mental and physical break and I had fun dabbling in triathlon for a couple of years and letting running take a back seat. Ultimately I discovered that running is what I love the most and I was really missing the focus and drive (and along with that, results) that I once had. I don’t regret it one bit, but I found myself at the bottom of a long, steep climb back to some semblance of my former fitness. I still have a long way to go, but I am making strides week after week.

That being said, I have really struggled with being slower than I feel like I “should” be. I knew it would be a long road, but I was frequently feeling down on myself, comparing previous paces and times and harbouring a generally negative attitude. Fortunately, I was able to catch myself and realized how ridiculous I was being. I should be enjoying and celebrating every run! I am doing what I love and now I get to enjoy the journey of reaching milestones all over again. I started reminding myself to remain positive, take credit for every little victory and believe in myself. The attitude adjustment helped a lot, as has all of the support from hubs and my awesome running friends (real life and virtual).

I was also fortunate to receive some excellent inspiration from Kenny, via his post and the wrist band he sent me. My road back to Boston will be long and tough, but it will be worth it and I am going to make the most of every step. It feels so good to be training toward this [long term] goal again.

Miles is inspired too!

On another positive note, I have finally gotten my act together in the diet department after being too lenient for too long. The expanding waist-line and feeling of sluggishness that resulted was not doing anything good for my running or my morale. I’ve been on the right track for several weeks now (not perfect, but healthy and moderate) and the results are evident. I feel so much better. Why is it so easy to forget how important it is to eat right?!

I’m in week 10 (of 23) of my “stepping stone” training schedule for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in October (which was my first race ever, my first marathon and also my fastest marathon). This race is going to be far from a PR, which is why I’m referring to it as a stepping stone race toward bigger goals next year. Going from casually running 4 or 5 days per week to 6, hitting 50+ weekly miles and incorporating quality work again has been an adjustment, but over the past couple of weeks I finally feel like I am hitting a “sweet spot” in my training. I have a good routine, I’m seeing pace improvements, getting the miles in and feeling stronger all the time.

This week, despite being perhaps the hottest and most humid week I have experienced in my running career, ended up being the best running week I have had in as long as I can remember. I hit the pavement by 5:00AM four days in a row, and thankfully I had a friend or more to run with 3 out of 4 days. With the humidity making it feel like well over 30C/86F already at that time Tuesday to Friday, each run brought new meaning to the term “sweat fest.” But somehow, I ended up having really solid runs and truly surprised myself.

Tuesday – Killed my 4×2000 tempo run on Tuesday, hitting paces a solid 10-15 seconds per kilometre faster than I have been seeing this session. Seriously wondered if it was a fluke.
Wednesday – Solo medium-long 15K run, which also went really well. Hmmm, maybe not a fluke.
Thursday – Met Kelly to tackle workout #2, with adjustments due to the temps, and it went so much better than I anticipated. I managed 2×2000 tempo pretty close to my paces from Tuesday. Not a fluke; I think this might be a breakthrough week!
Friday – Joined Kelly again for the first half of her long run, running a strong pace for a decent distance.
Saturday – Consciously took it as easy as possible on a short run to save myself for the long run.
Sunday – Longest run since October (30K/18.6mi) – felt strong start to finish even on a super hilly route. Thank goodness the heat finally broke!

Total mileage: 85K/52.8mi feeling victorious!

Don’t get me wrong – I know that a few good runs don’t automatically translate to nailing the remainder of my training, or that it’s going to be a piece of cake from here on out. Far from it! But I’m really pumped about a KILLER training week and proud of how far I’ve come. So, the next time I have a really tough run or fail miserably at a workout, I’m going to remember that I am as good as my best runs and I am more than capable of success. Bring. It. On.

28 thoughts on “Attitude Adjustment and Breakthrough Week

  1. Great post Marlene!
    I fav quote for myself is ” you have to remember how far you come not as far you have to go”.

  2. Way to go Marlene! That’s awesome…and wow it was hot. I managed to get out for a few runs but they felt very sloggy…(though one of them was an ok pace) and I felt like i was on the edge of bonking the entire time I was running.

  3. YES!! Attagirl :-) I am awed by your drive to get back on top of your little world and I am not a single moment doubting that you’re going to keep going after each goal with all your heart (and legs). Oh and every time I see a photo of you, you look slimmer. Way to stick a fork on the food monster!!

  4. 2013 is a similar year for me, I felt burn out last fall and decided to run for fun this year. With a lot going on in my personal life running was no priority and now I pay the price and see slow times. The comeback is difficult but I believe our mind needs the break and our body will remember (sooner or later) and we will be back sooner than we think. Love your positive attitude!!

  5. Marlene, you looked strong at the 14 km mark (more or less) and lead a group of runners today. It felt good seeing you running really strong.
    Today’s route definitively was great. Congratulations for the change you described. You are strong. All the best and big hug

    Ueli
    =======

  6. Love it and love that you were able to find this. Keep up the focused, hard work and never forget why you do it: because you love it! <3

    • Thanks for reading, Sue. I really appreciate it! I severely lack blogging mojo these days, but I’ll try! I do log all of my workouts on Dailymile – are you on there??

  7. I think that believing in yourself is the single most important characteristic you can have. I think that being positive and knowing you can do somthing can often translate into your performance! Although you may think you are not fast or as fast as you want or could be, your results are still inspiring and indicative of your true potential. I’m glad you’ve had a breakthrough and can see what probably most of us already knew….I also would never rule out a PR this early in the game…just sayin’….

    • Heh, that’s true I guess… it seems impossible, but you just never know I guess. Thanks so much for the comment/support!

      Keep kicking butt – you are killing it this year!

  8. Consistency is key! Keep it up girl! I know you are super speedy and if you just keep working at it I bet you will be faster in no time!

  9. I will definitely be interested to see how you feel having gone from hitting your stride so to speak then to the tri and now back. I have a feeling you’ll probably end up even stronger! My training is still not what I imagined as i miss my 6 day a week running, but I’m finally seeing progress and staying healthy so it’s all good! Sometimes we have to let go of our expectations to do even better

  10. There you go. This is so exciting for me because we are currently at the same paces (though you’re still a bit faster) and have the same goals. You continue to inspire me and after reading this last night, I decided to get my act in order in terms of food choices. Keep posting more often, please!

    • It has been wicked awesome seeing you get faster and faster and FASTER! Seriously, keep it up. You are on your way.

      Good luck with the food choices. Man, it is a daily battle!

  11. love ya maurlene :) can you come prepare my meals too? i’m sucking on the diet front… hello 10lbs… so nice to see you…

    you are a fighter! just don’t be hard on yourself. you’ll get back to your old self and then some! :)

  12. That’s a great week of training. And you should be pleased with it. The speed will come back as long as you’re persistent and patient.

  13. hey! pretty soon i won’t be “virtual”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    loved the quote in the beginning. i might have to print that up and read it every morning. i struggle with comparing things to my former self when i was on top of my game. but there’s gotta come a time where we enjoy it because we can do it and realize not every run/race is going to be a PR. and also…we’re not getting any younger. boo.

    just a few more days!! *squeal*

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>