I have been training with Matt Fitzgerald's book Brain Training for Runners for about 18 months now, I have done the half marathon program twice and currently using the full marathon program to train for Akron, mind you I have not gone past level one and only run 4 days a week with strength training, yoga and cross training in between or with it.
With last years training, I saw significant improvement in my race times even those I was dealing with some injuries, the program is well structured and quite demanding but fun especially when you met the goal of the day.
Up until last year, I have really never followed a structured program, most program that I followed just said things like run 3 miles or 5 or 10 miles long run, and that was what I did, occasionally a group will get together for a track workout and I will join or someone will talk about tempo run and I will try it out.
With Fitzgerald's program, I actually have my training plan through September when I run the marathon mapped out and this is where the brain training comes in, it is one thing to know that you are going to be running 18, 20 miles in a couple of weeks, am actually okay with it, but is another to know that you are going to be doing 400 repeats @ 3k pace or 1 mile repeats at 10k pace. Wow, that is my 10k pace, am really expected to run my10k that fast to meet my time goal, thank God there is not too many 3k races around.
How do you stop your brain from quitting before you even do the scheduled run or a race at a target goal time?
So I am on week 11, which is basically the end of build 1 phase, next week is recovery week before starting build 2. The training objective for build 1 is to continue to increase aerobic capacity and endurance, increase fatigue resistance at 3k pace and 10k pace.
So on the schedule this week, 6 miles@ base pace, 8x400@ 3k pace, 4x1mile@10k pace and 12miles, on seeing my schedule my mind was already doubting being able to do it, 8x400 and 4x1mile at such a fast pace. The 8x400 was scheduled for Tuesday and it took everything in my power not to quit because my mind kept saying that is a lot of 400s and that is such a fast pace, there is no way you can do that. I think I had to work on my mind before even attempting the run, the good thing is that you start with the Dynamic Flexibility which help warm everything up then 1 mile at recovery pace, going so slow that you are etching to go fast but patience you've got 400s coming up, once the 400 starts it becomes a constant assessment of pain what hurts, what doesn't feel right, ahhhh 1 down, 3 mins recovery over already and on to the second one. I got through the 8x400 but had to keep my mind occupied and distracted.
Soon on to Thursday, 1 mile recovery pace, 4x1 mile@10k pace with 2 mins recovery, woke and nothing I could do could get my brain to even accept to do this, am tired, my head hurts, a mile is long ..... so I gave up did some strength training and went to work.
Today, got up, got dress and told myself to just do 1 mile and see how I feel, am not quite sure why this week was hard, the training program slowly get you to it, you do 2x1mile then 3, move to 4, then 3 again during recovery week. So did the Dynamic flexibility, then the 1 mile warmup @ recovery pace and then started the 1 mile repeats, it felt great nothing hurts and before I knew it, the 4 was done and it was time to cool down. Build phase 2 has me running this pace for a straight 2, 3 and 4 miles next month, oh well, no need to panic now, I'll cross that bridge when I get there.
I really enjoy putting the repeats, tempo, intervals and other types of running into my training but sometimes my brain just have a hard time comprehending the fast pace required but I guess I will keep working at it.
Still working on the weight loss, just really trying to get back to where I was last year but can't stop snacking