GETTING TOO COMFORTABLE // 5 LONG MILES
There a humongous difference between being “comfortable” and “too comfortable.”
It’s the difference between just getting in the miles and actually pushing yourself to get the most out of each and every mile. And, most importantly, it’s not letting the fear of failure prevent you from getting outside your comfort zone. That’s something I have been doing a lot with my post sickness runs. Week 1 I was just trying to run without destroying my legs or wanting to throw up every 5 minutes. Now, it’s Week 2 and I still feel stuck in the same cautious mentality that I had that first day back in the gym. The same thought runs through my mine each and every time I go to up the speed, “If you go to fast too soon, you’ll never be able to get in the distance you planned on running today.”
Which, is advice that of course works wonders your first week back to running after taking a whole 7 days off. It keeps you motivated, driven, and most importantly safe from injury. However, it also makes it seem rather difficult/impossible to up your effort level and speed once you’re healthy again and back into a normal running routine. And, before you know it, it’s been exactly 1 month since you’re had a run with an average pace faster than 9:50 minute mile speed. That was/is my reality today, February 16th. On January 16th, I ran 4 miles at 9:15 pace.
Today, running 5 miles at 10:01 pace felt like a complete joke.
Like, I was putting in maybe 70% of what I know I’m capable of. I mean, I was drenched in sweat and breathing heavy by the time I was done, but it somehow didn’t feel like enough. 10 minute miles, for me at least, are reserved for recovery runs and extremely adverse weather conditions. Not, your every day run of the mill indoor treadmill run. I know I can do better, treadmill or otherwise, because I’ve done it countless times before. Whether injured, sleep deprived, or hungover, I’ve ran hundreds (possibly thousands by now??) times at a pace faster than where I’m at right now. It’s embarrassing. It makes me feel old and out of shape.
I’m no dummy. I know it takes time to recover and come back strong after time away from running. I’ve been in that situation a multitude of times in the past, and things have always gotten back to normal. But, I honestly cannot recall a time where I’ve gone an entire month without dipping back into the 9:30s or 9:20s pace wise. And, worse yet, I know it’s 100% a mental issue. Physically, I feel fine. Perfectly capable of running miles on miles…just not at the right pace. And, you know what? I’m fed up with it. Fed up with the excuses and illogical list of reasons as to why I just can’t run faster right now.
It’s bullshit. I am healthy, have access to a treadmill, and the best workout playlists out there. I cannot and will not go into the gym tomorrow to simply get my miles in for the week. I do not care how far I run tomorrow. Or, how mentally hard of a task t’s going to be. I will run at a 9:30 pace or faster. End. Of. Discussion. And then afterwards destroy my legs with all the heavy weight while simultaneously trying to lift smart with good form. T-minus 13 hours until the workout begins (and I use every ounce of my power to talk myself out of such lofty gym goals).