So, today's run has got me thinking about physiological and psychological toughness. Ideally, the two will be equally harnessed and work together so that neither will fail before the other- although when the crash comes, it comes hard.
My workout today was after two days of complete rest, a scheduling happenstance that has only occurred once earlier in this training cycle. Felt weird, to be truthful. Anyway, I was hoping that I'd have an easier time of it for this run. Two full days of rest is odd in my circles, and even a single day of rest can do wonderful things to my state of mind.
Didn't quite happen the way I hoped.
It started off well enough, although with the usual complaints of running in winter. Even with screw shoes on an imperfectly plowed path, it was a bit dicey from time to time. Mouth piece of my hydration system froze until I put it into my shirt, as unsanitary as that sounds. And the blown snow had me squinting most of the time.
The effort I was expending was marathon effort- maybe a little more. It got hard fairly quickly- if it had happened to me like that during the race, I would have had to reevaluate my goals and thought to myself: "It just not my day." My mental game started off well enough, but it went down hill as the miles accumulated. 14 miles at a hard effort hurt. Even though that effort wasn't reflected in my pace or my heart rate.
My pace wasn't really anything to write home about. After warming up for a couple of miles, I started pushing harder and really not going anywhere. I was supposed to be running at a 7:52 to follow Daniels' program. Since I'd be fairly happy to finish the marathon at an 8:00 min pace, I thought that somewhere between 8:00-8:15 would be okay considering the conditions.
First two miles of trying to keep tempo were almost exactly 8:30s, which really should be my easy pace, though my heart rate was in the low 160s, which is about where I wanted it. Technically, it should have been in the high 160s, but I think trying to get it there would have been enough to break me.
After that I kept my pace in the 8:05-8:20 range, and my heart rate dipped and swayed in the the high 150s to low 160s for the next dozen miles. My thoughts were relatively unfocused, except for when they touched upon how hard I had to push to keep my pace or heart rate from slipping into "not hard enough" territory.
Like I said, it was hard. And the limiting issue was my mind. My will. Something that I hope can be strengthened by runs like this...