Tweaks in training, and mind/body connections

This half marathon training cycle continues to feel very different to me. I’ve been thinking long and hard about why that is and I think it comes down to this — I’m a more seasoned runner this time around vs. previous half marathon training cycles.

A seasoned runner.
…me.

Yet, why do I have such a hard time wrapping my head around that concept?

It struck me this weekend that my brain hasn’t quite caught up with my body. And not just running-wise. But let’s tackle the running piece first, shall we?

This training cycle has been much shorter than previous half marathon training cycles. Previously, I would choose a half marathon in the late-summer/early-fall to train for and basically spend all summer loosely “training” for it. So I had loads of time to get my head in the game on those longer and longer runs, so by the time race day rolled around, it would feel like “just” another long training run for me, mentally. And that worked really well for me, overall.

This time around? I have just 8 weeks to condition the body to run longer and longer distances. Which, quite honestly, hasn’t been all that taxing (‘cept for that snotty run on Friday, but I blame the cold on the ‘taxing’ part) – or at least far less taxing than I remember it being in the past. Which leads me to the whole ‘seasoned runner’ thing. I am proud of the fact that I was able to keep my base at around 7ish miles throughout the winter. Something I’ve never been very good at before…my base mileage in the winter would *really* dwindle and I’d find myself basically starting over in the spring, slowly building back up my run-durance.

So you’re probably wondering what exactly the problem is here then, huh? It’s simple, really. My brain is telling me “you’re not ready” to run 13.1.” Because well, my brain “knows” I’ve only just now hit the double-digits this past weekend. Which means I’m just three long runs away from the race. And my brain is telling me that that is just simply not enough.

But really? My brain is wrong in this case. My body is strong and conditioned and can handle the miles. My brain hasn’t quite caught up to that fact.

…which leads me to the whole “tweaks” piece I mentioned in the title of this post.

To get my brain to catch up a little bit, my next two long runs will be 12.5 miles (basically combining two of our favorite running routes into one long running route). Call me crazy, but I think this might do the trick. (I know, it’s a big jump in miles from my last long run). Instead of 11 miles this week, 12.5 miles next week and then dropping down to 10 miles as my last long run, I’ll do 12.5 this week and again next week and then close out with a 10-miler before a “mini-taper” to race day.

I think this little tweak to the schedule is what my brain needs to catch up to what my body is capable of. This goes back to the whole mind/body connection thing I’ve been all about this past year. Barre n9ne is all about the mind/body connection. My food log-filled journey this past (almost) year on my quest towards intuitive eating is all about the mind/body connection too. So it only makes sense that I continue to make those connections through running. Connecting my mind, to what my body is capable of doing, and trusting it to do just that.

(much more on the whole mind/body thing in a future post or two, especially as my sis and I inch closer and closer to our one year barre-versary, the date when our lives changed forever, thanks to the 60-day challenge and all that has fallen out of that, from re-learning how to eat mindfully, to working our butts off to re-shape our bodies, to paying all of that learning forward by teaching at the studio. Clearly, based on this little preamble alone, I have a LOT to say on the topic. So stay tuned, please. 😉 )

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42 thoughts on “Tweaks in training, and mind/body connections

  1. I think going from 10 to 12.5 miles is a good idea. As long as you have the base during the week, that is not a huge jump in mileage. Running is very mental and knowing that you have 2-12.5 mile runs done will help you immensely on race day.

    • That’s what I’m thinking too – my base mileage is pretty respectible right now so I think my body can handle the jump from 10-12.5 without too much agony (I hope, anyway!).

      Ultimately, I need this to prove to myself (my brain) that I got this half marathon in the bag. No more questioning!

  2. I’m weights not running, but to bottomlineitall I’m NOTHING without the marriage of mind and muscle.

    That was the tagline for my training studio and I strive to live it each lift.
    Each DAY.

    • Ohhhh LOVE THIS! SO SO SO agree!! I love that you strive to live it with every lift. I am totally internalizing this tagline of yours on Saturday, living it with every step I take. THANK YOU!!

    • I know, right? It needs to hush-up right. now. hehe. Thanks for the vote of confidence friend, you’re the best. (and yes, I am fully planning to re-asses this plan tweak after Saturday’s run. If it seems like too much, I’ll pull back a bit next week. But I’m hoping I won’t need to!)

  3. I’ve done several halfs where the most I ran was 10 miles and I was able to complete the 13.1. I’ve found that the major difference between doing closer to the actual mileage in training is that I’m not as tired afterward.

    • Oh totally — I know I am ABLE to complete the 13.1 physically, I just need my mind to lay a little catch-up. Right now, it’s casting doubt in my mind and it’s driving me nuts!

  4. I know you can do this. YOU know you can do this. I hope your tweak in training helps, and doesn’t hinder, but I know you will listen to your body and if it’s too much too soon, you’ll cut it back slightly. Either way, I know you will rock 13.1 🙂 no doubt!

    • I NEED to know I can do this. For whatever reason, I’ve been having those doubting moments and I need to squash them — Saturday is that time for me. To squash those thoughts for good and come out of this training cycle strong and confident and healthy (most of all)!

  5. I think that is a great idea. You have a great base, so jumping from 10 miles to 12.5 miles should not be a big deal at all. Once you get your head wrapped around it, you’ll truly be 100% ready to kick some mega bootay in Providence!

  6. Even if you get insanely busy with something else and had to cut back on training, you’d still be ready. You’ve been working hard at maintaining your stamina. Your base is excellent and everything you’re doing now is icing on the cake – because you’re looking to compete and PR!

    • You are absolutely right – I sometimes forget to step back and remember that. I have been working hard at keeping my endurance up, staying strong and healthy,and even if I wasn’t able to run as hard as I want to before the race, I would do just fine. Note. To. Self. Thank you 🙂

  7. You are most definitely capable physically that’s for sure. Just need to get that brain caught up. And I definitely think adding in longer runs helps you get used to it mentally as well as physically. I had never been more prepared than my 2nd half (well, despite those damn hills that got me) because I ran 13 and even 14.5 miles each week for about 6 weeks. Mind and body knew exactly what to expect. And you kept a very very solid base so adding the miles now should seem easier. You are seasoned!

    • I was totally thinking of how you tackled your half last time around and doing all those much longer training runs really helped you feel like the race was “just” another long run. I need a few of those longer runs under my belt so I can get my brain where it needs to be on race day. I don’t want to go into this race and meltdown. I want to run it strong and proud and happy. And I’m my strongest when I’m confident and able to let go and be in that moment. So I’m hoping to make those connections with these next two longer runs. All about that mind/body connection!!

  8. Training is an inexact science sometimes. I usually err on the side of caution especially the closer I get to the race. You have to ask yourself “do I really need to do this”? Am I going to get more benefit from running 12.5 miles or am I going to benefit more from resting.

    • It is SO imprecise isn’t it? That’s what I’m always trying to remember – versus getting so caught up in how many runs / how many miles a week I need to be “trained” for a race, and instead focus on the quality of those runs and, perhaps more importantly, my mental state during those runs. Running is so goddamn mental!!

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  10. You are absolutely ready to do this race, Jess! I like to think my brain hasn’t caught up to my body yet…but I have a lot to learn as a runner, and this is the year to do it. I know it. You’re one of the most inspiring runners I know. You know your body is completely capable of doing this race, and that’s so incredibly important.

    • Aww friend! To think that I inspire YOU is such a compliment — you are constantly inspiring me, challenging my thinking, I LOVE that about you. You are SO ready to grow as a runner — this is your year for it, I sense greatness from you in way more ways than just running-wise.

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