Sunday, July 28, 2013

Runspiration Through Visualization x 2

This week for the first time that I remember I saw a friend use the term "runspiration".  In other words, inspiration for running.  Or perhaps inspiration from others running.  Or perhaps a bit of both.

What was interesting this week was the contrast between the runspiration that came when I hadn't been running for a while and runspiration that I can achieve after running for a while--particularly with the same training partners over and over again.

When I started running a lot a few years ago, I remember struggling to run alone.  I remember that I enjoyed the time alone to think but really didn't know how to get inspired when I was alone.

I finally became inspired more when I started running with others and watched people who could run faster than me.  Particularly people who could run long distances faster than me.  I remember in the first year of training with a Charm City Run training group watching the person who has now become my most frequent training partner and marveling at how fast she and her two friends ran without ever stopping.  I stuck with the people the coach (in her wisdom) had recommended I run with (who took a more appropriate long slow distance pace and tended to stop for water and nutrition) and it did pay off.  But I always marveled at and was inspired by the other runners who could go what seemed amazingly fast.

After two seasons of running with the safe recommendations, I decided to run with the person who has become my most frequent training partner.  I like to run a bit faster in my workouts and not stop for water or nutrition.  In the time since we began training together consistently, we have run miles and miles together.  Today was one day when she was not feeling up to running.  But I ran a workout just about as good as if I had been with my training partner.  The interesting thing was that drawing runspiration came pretty easily even when I was alone.  Specifically when I reached Greenmount and 33rd about 6.3 miles into the run, I felt myself slowing down and losing focus a bit as I thought about running up Greenmount as it turns into York Rd and heading toward home.  The runspiration came when I thought about how my training partner would take the hill and after only a brief time of losing my focus, I got it back.  My overall pace was 7:51 with the last nine miles being at 7:45.  Life was good and it was a run just like if I had been with a partner.

The other runspiration this week also occurred when I was not with the person who provided the runspiration.  Specifically, my friend who needed a boost to her confidence on Tuesday and tried to make it through a 3200m time trial runspired me to try it for myself two days later.  When I did, I succeeded in running faster than I had for that distance at any time since I was 17.  Interestingly enough, my friend's not being able to finish (she made it through 2600m before her own mental block) runspired me to work harder to make absolutely sure that I finished and finished as strongly as possible.  It was also pretty amazing to get my runspiration and my post-high school personal best with only me (and no one else near my pace) on the track.  

So, after all this time of running with people and taking runspiration from seeing people achieve in person since 2010, I am able to take runspiration from just thinking about the approach my friends would take.  And that may be extremely helpful the next time I race.  If I can take that thought process and be runspired in the race and keep my focus in a race at race pace like I did today at a workout appropriate pace, perhaps I'll be able to raise the bar for my races too.

Runspiration in the end is mostly about overcoming the mental issues I've found plaguing me the last several races I have run as I try to keep pace throughout but reach a point at which I find it difficult.  We will see where all this "runspiration through visualization" rather than "runspiration through watching" takes me.  

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