Monday, October 13, 2008

6 Miles in the Neighborhood

6.15 Miles, 49:11, 8:00 pace, Max HR = 142, Avg HR = 133, 59% Z3, 39% Z2

I don't have a lot to say about this run, with the exception that my legs were a tad heavy based on yesterday's race. I recovered well, giving me more reason to think the flats are ok (at least for 10 miles at a time). I ate a big dinner thirty minutes before running, which is sub-optimal. But unfortunately life often gets in the way of my running. I could run as soon as I get home from work, but then I'd miss dinner and time with Julie since she goes to bed early for work.

I think the best way to catch up on my missed entries, which I feel compelled to do, is to include an extra run or two every time I create new blog entries for the next couple of days or weeks. I'll start this next time since it's already late and I'm tired.

But if you want to read something of quality and substance today, please take the opportunity to read Tim Luchinske's entry on Mental Strength.

From what I can tell, I am somewhat unique in my belief that the mental aspect of running is more important than the physical aspect in regards to performance. Given the opportunity to improve only my mental or my physical conditioning, I truly believe that more is gained by improving the mental state. Our minds are so often the constraining element -- during a race or during life in general. In my humble, unscientific opinion, this is supported by multiple observations:
1) Confidence yields success, which yields more confidence. It's a positive feedback cycle. Confidence can quantify victory even in defeat. A new lesson learned, an alternate metric, greater future resolve -- even through failure confidence uncovers success.
2) Visualization has been demonstrated to work in lieu of physical practice. This goes for your race, your commute to work, your presentation . . . just about anything.
3) Massive breakthroughs are tough to explain through physical conditioning alone. If we were to depend solely upon physical conditioning, it makes sense that improvements in personal records (and world records for that matter) would be incremental, marginal developments. Massive breakthroughs would be impossible without major advances in our mental states. How can you set a PR one week and then blow the doors off a few weeks later? I assure you it's not the extra 100 miles you ran during that time, it's your ability to further tap into your capabilities by removing mental restrictions.

There are more reasons why I believe that the mental state is our primary wall, but I'll leave you with my simplest and most childish thought experiment:

What is the absolute fastest mile you could run right now? Think about it.


Now, could you shave 5% off of that if your life depended on it?


KCWoodhead said...

Check out this:

And then this:

Anonymous said...

Okay, Jonathan, this whole "how fast can you run a mile all-out" is really eating at you, isn't it? Just hold it for six months...track season's coming!