Tuesday, 1 April 2014

The powerful human mind

”Round the bridges” training, part two last night. I felt tired beforehand, having waken up way too early in the morning, too early even for me who always wakes up early. It was also because it was going to be the last training session of a particularly heavy month, both distance- and speed-wise. I needed help to get around, a nice back to follow that kept a fast, yet not neckbreaking pace.

I found a couple of such nice backs to follow. The course was divided in two this week, with a 2-minute rest stop in the middle. Coming up the hill just before the rest stop, my speed dropped by 20-30 seconds and my heart raced. While I struggled upwards, I was convinced that I would never be able to return to the pace I had kept the first kilometre or so.

After resting for two minutes, we set off again, and now we had a little downwards slope ahead of us before the ground evened out again. The backs I was chasing increased the pace, but I was prepared to let them go. I went inside my head instead, and tried to remember what I had learned on my sports psychology course. I visualised. I saw myself running with a proud posture, imagined myself looking strong and shut out the tiredness signals. Because my shoulders have a tendency to tighten up and become tense, I pretended my arms were wet noodles. Instead of looking at my watch for speed guidance, I let my body decide what kind of pace felt comfortably fast. And I kept the backs within sight.

I ran to the finish line, very tired but not shattered. I was certain that the other half of the course had been much slower than the first one. But when I got home and looked at my times, I was in for a surprise. My min/km speed during the first and second half was exactly the same but for one second. Mind over body?

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