Be careful what you wish for

Last week I did a presentation at a breakfast seminar on how to leverage the humanity within your organisation. As part of this presentation I talked about myself and went beyond my linked-in bio (humanity and all that). I admitted to the things that I really love of which running was obviously one. I also admitted to loving learning. I fundamentally enjoy having my mind twisted by different ideas, concepts, perspectives and thoughts. This really started for me when I studied Philosophy in my under graduate degree (I went on to receive a Masters in Philosophy).

The reason I am explaining this, is that I have just had one of those “a-ha” moments when you realise that you are playing the same pattern over again. I always wish for interesting conversations and different ideas. I realised today that my new approach to marathon training is exactly that. It is changing the way I think about my running on quite a profound level. When I write about those changes, they do not seem to be of any significance, but when I FEEL those changes they really have twisted my mind to a different way of thinking.

As an example, the long runs in my training plan are stated in miles but they also have a maximum time limit. This is due to the law of diminishing returns. The long runs are done with your heart rate below 140 bpm. Depending on how good your aerobic base may be, you might be able to do the miles in the time allotted, or you might not. I am in the “might not” category. On my last long run, I managed to let go of the desire to complete the full 12 miles (19.2km) stated in the plan but ran for the designated time of 2 hrs 24 minutes with an average HR of 138. I had not been able to do that before. I had run for longer than the maximum time limit in order to feel that I had done the distance and nailed the miles listed. But that is not what it is about!

The long runs are all about time on your feet. When was the last time you ran for over 2 hours? I am working up to being on my feet for 4 hours. I have totally let go of the need to cover a particular distance. Until now, all my training was about building the distance, logging those km’s, checking what pace I was doing, working out the fuelling. Now I am free of those constraints. I run by time and heart rate. And I don’t need much in the way of fuel, just some water. I am thinking about running so very differently. I am thinking about perceived effort and time on my feet. I am also enjoying myself so much more because I am not hungry or sore after the long runs.

Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it. #lifeisgood