I’ve been asked recently what I attribute my newfound speed to and I can think of many things.
I quit my job. I cross train. I strength train. I respect the recovery. I eat better. I drink my vitamins. I drink a ton of water. I sleep.
But really, I think the biggest thing that has changed is my mentality.
It’s not secret that running is hugely mental. And I feel like I’d had a mental block when it came to how fast I could run. My husband would tell me all the time that he knows I have an XX 5k and an XX half marathon in me if I just believed in myself and stopped being intimidated by fast paces.
Anytime I would see my husband’s splits and see all 8s, I would tell him to slow down, that he didn’t need to run fast all the time. He would tell me, “It’s perspective. Eight may seem fast for you, but it may not be for someone else.”
Then I got injured and didn’t run for a while. I cross trained and strength trained. In the midst of my injury, I quit my job. And before I knew it, my 6 week running hiatus was over.
I was ready to run again.
Maybe it was being reinvigorated after taking a break, maybe I was finally listening to my husband, but after a couple of weeks of being back to running, I went out for what I thought would be a regular 4 miler that turned into this:
My splits were–8:18, 8:07, 8:08, 7:59!
I remember running inside my house, freaking out, excited to show my husband. And all he said was, “I always knew you could.”
But I didn’t. In fact, the day before, I wrote this!
I don’t know but I feel like after that run, I truly started to believe that I could repeat those paces. I started to believe that I could improve as a runner when for so long, I thought maybe I had “peaked”.
When I ran FroYo 10k, I ran it believing in myself that I could do 2 more miles at the breakthrough 4 miler pace I had done 10 days before. And I did, averaging an 8:02 pace for that race and snagging a new PR.
It made me reevaluate my 1/2 marathon goal for Phoenix. I am not lying when I say that I NEVER thought I’d break 1:50. But I let myself think crazy thoughts, lol! I let myself believe that yeah, 8 minutes per mile is fast, BUT I can do it.
I’m not saying other factors aren’t instrumental–I do think cross/strength training has helped immensely–but I can say with certainty that the first step in improving, in anything, is believing that you can.
–Do find yourself thinking you can’t do things? What do you to help yourself break through?