Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Level up!

I had a really good practice run yesterday. I did a 5k in about 23:15, which is by far my fastest practice time at that distance. In fact, it is faster than any of my 5k races except for the last one - and I wasn't racing. I knew I was going pretty well to start and tried not to look at my watch, but peaked at it after a mile and saw that I was moving a little quicker than I thought. Thankfully, I was able to keep it up and even finished a little bit faster than I started. There wasn't anything "magical" about the run, but once I finished, I felt like I had "leveled up".

If you haven't played a video game RPG, in many of them, you fight battles or do other things to gain experience so that your character can "level up". Upon leveling up, you often gain more power or learn a special skill that will help you advance in the game. 

It just feels like something has clicked in the past couple weeks where I can run faster and better. There has been a gradual improvement over the past couple months for certain, but things just seem to be falling into place lately. A few examples:

Running negative splits without specifically setting out to do so.
Running faster with the same perceived effort.
Actively seeking out and attacking hills.
Running with more powerful strides.

I am really looking forward to racing at the Open Door Julie Run on June 9. It is one of my favorite races for several reasons, my little girl is going to run and do great, and I hope to crush it. One of my previous posts mentioned that I have been feeling competitive lately and nothing has changed. I am setting my goals really high for this one. I intend to best 22 minutes and I intend to place in my age group and don't think I will be satisfied with much less.

There are plenty of people both much faster and slower than me, but this is where I am now and these are my goals. I can let work and everything else wear me down or I can focus, rise above and accomplish things that looked so far away just a over a year ago. There is no pressure to meet anyone's expectations but my own when I run, and that is liberating.
  • Have you met or exceeded your goals lately?
  • When you meet a goal, do you take time to celebrate and appreciate it or do you immediately set new ones?
  • Can one have high expectations without creating excessive pressure on oneself?

1 comment:

  1. Excellent training run, Josh! It's a great feeling to be close to a PR when you're just doing a training run, and it shows that you're on the right track with your training. In my experience, mixing in hills and speed work with long runs and brisk tempo runs can make a really big difference.

    I think one can have high expectations without creating too much internal pressure, but it varies for each individual. I'm still trying to figure out the secret to that. I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself, even if there's no pressure from anyone else. I could finish 3rd in a race and not be happy with my performance, or I could finish 150th and be thrilled with my performance. I'm almost always just competing with myself regardless of my overall place.