Sunday, April 14, 2013

Over/Under and Bad Math

I'm sure you understand what I mean when I talk about fake fitness and real fitness. You have probably experienced some variation of this.

Fake fitness is when you have a really great workout. Maybe you went faster than you ever had before, but it was out of the norm. It was outside of the bell curve. 

Real fitness seems like fake fitness at first. The difference is that it's REAL. How do you know? 

With fake fitness, you run :30 seconds per mile faster....ONCE. Don't ever get excited about something that happens once.

Fake fitness is just having a good day. Maybe you fueled really well or got more sleep....whatever. The deal is that you don't replicate it. Heart rate don't lie.

With real fitness, you'll notice a jump (maybe smaller than the one above) then another jump and maybe even another jump. The thing is that it isn't a one time event. You can go months without seeing anything then boom, boom, boom. There it is. The fitness jump.

All of a sudden, your long runs are being run a minute per mile faster.

That's awesome. Trust me it is. This is what I've been going through recently.

My long runs are now about a 1 minute per mile faster than they were when I was training for RNR Vegas back in December.

In other words, if I ran a half marathon right now, I'd have a 13 minute pr without really trying. Trust me. I'm training. In that regard, I'm *trying*. And running a half marathon is NEVER a joke. It's a tough distance and my favorite distance to run. But YOU know what I mean. 

The logical side of my brain says, "It took your body a year and half to shave off as much time as you have."

But I've been running the same routes for 8 years. The OTHER side of my brain says, "It takes you this long to get to point A and this long to get to point B."

That's no longer true. An 80 minute workout use to get me to about 6.7 miles and at a MUCH higher heart rate.

Now, I can do 8 miles in the same time at a much lower heart rate.  Good stuff.

I'm writing about all of this not because I want or need any type of of "thumbs up" "nice work" "you're rocking it" type of positive reinforcement.

I'm writing all this because:

1.) Improvement takes time. When I signed up with Coach, I got the initial BANG of improvement that came from having someone create a plan just for me, based on my weaknesses. Instant improvement. However, then there was a gap. And yes, I pr'd at every race last year. Again, that went into the initial BANG and having someone to talk to about my specific nutritional needs or learning HOW to pace a race.

The BIGGER improvements have only come recently. It takes the body time to adapt and improve. That's basic physiology. It's the accumulative effect of a year's worth of training coming to a point. 


2.) Old habits die hard. I still think it takes me 16 minutes to get to the nearest stop light when it only takes me a little over 12. Every time it happens, I think "Oh right. I need to get to X point not Y." The irony is that it has nothing to do with confidence, but everything to do with habit. I *know* how fast I can run. I look at my little graphs in Training Peaks all the time. I've run for so long over the same courses....that I have to adjust everything. 

I have a 5 mile race coming up in two weeks. I have done this race almost every year since the mid 80's. It will be a PR, and it will be probably over a 10 minute PR (over FIVE miles). I don't have a confidence issue. But it WILL be fun to see how my old thoughts and habits come out the woodwork with a race course that I know intimately.....hills that I *used* to walk; aid stations that I *used* to stop at every mile....this is going to be fun.