Speed and Mental Training

Speed and Mental Training


I love to watch the Olympics and especially track and field. I think their bodies are fantastic and I’m always amazed at the speeds they run and what heart they give. I remember studying for the bar exam years ago and I’d take my study break and watch some of the Olympics to give me inspiration to push further. Now I try to channel those athletes on the track.
Yesterday’s speed work included some longer distance. It’s important to mentally and physically wrap your mind around holding your desired pace for a longer period of time. This will help in a shorter triathlons as well as long distance.
My workout included:
1+ mile warm-up to the track
200 pace  — 100 active rest
400 pace — 100 active rest
600 pace — 200 active rest
800 pace — 200 active rest
600 pace — 200 active rest
400 pace — 100 active rest
200 pace — 100 active rest
1+ mile warm down to home
Going the longer distance is more of a mental challenge than a physical one.  I’m not saying it’s not physical (believe me –it is) but it’s also a time to push beyond your limitation and realize, like the Olympic runners, it’s just about moving your legs.  (albeit much slower than those athletes!)
Here’s the self talk when I start:
Me: Relax your face, you’re clenching!  Your legs are moving, you can do this!
Myself: Hey I’m on pace this doesn’t feel so bad.
Me: Separate your head from those legs, you’re cruising it. Unclench those fists!
Myself: I’m breathing hard, I don’t know if I can make it.
Me: You’re supposed to be breathing hard!  This isn’t a warm-up this is speed work.   Breathing hard is good, then  you’ll get a rest.
Myself: I’m almost to the line, I’m going to make it!   Wow, I can run pretty fast if I just relax and remember breathing hard is part of it.  Duh!