Over the last week, I’ve been watching a lot of soccer, judging players by how well they know their own National Anthem, and yelling more than usual at the television (Giuseppe just sits there looking at us, bewildered). But also, during the “down time” when people are just running back and forth across the field and not scoring, I’ve been thinking a lot about the conditions in which they have to play.
1) These dudes are sprinting for about 50 minutes at a time (almost non-stop).
2) They are playing in an jungle where it is hot and humid. I imagine it might feel something like playing soccer in a steam room, but with more clothes.
3) There are no porta-potties on the field (I don’t want to dwell on this too much because I’m sure things have been done).
4) They are having to actually think and communicate and strategize while sprinting (potentially needing to pee) in the hot humidity.
They look hot. And scary.
4) They have to put forth a 100% effort, then they only get 3-4 days to recover before having to put forth another 100% effort…they do not get a “taper.”
5) Apparently they do most of this without water breaks or nutrition breaks (much was made of the fact that a referee let everyone take a HISTORIC 30 second water break during the USA vs. Portugal game).
6) ALSO: sometimes, they break their noses…or they get bit.
Basically, these people are having to play well and win in conditions that would cause most of us to go into breakdown mode if we encountered them during our runs.
I’ve determined that I need to adopt the mentality of a World Cup soccer player…preferably a good one.
Adverse conditions are a given and even then, working hard will be uncomfortable/painful even in perfect conditions. But to allow myself to give up or slow down will result in personal defeat (admittedly, less scary than international defeat), so the only option is to keep fighting. Otherwise, I will be the England of marathons.
I don’t think anyone in England is walking right now around saying, “they didn’t bloody win, but it’s ok because they were playing in the bloody jungle.” No, I think those soccer chaps will be buying their own beers at the pub for a while.
Monday: 4 mile recovery run
Tuesday: 6×800 (with 1 mile warm-up and 3/4 mile cool-down): Kept it at a 3:35 average for the 800’s. These need to be faster.
Wednesday: 4 mile recovery run
Thursday: Tempo Run 10/20/10 Kept the tempo average pace to 7:46 which is great! I’d like this to be closer to 7:30 by the time training is done, but I did notice that it felt a lot more comfortable this week, so I think my body is finally accepting that sub-8 miles aren’t sprinting.
Saturday: REST (we went kayaking). Marathon training has prevented us from participating in a lot of recreational warm-weather activities, so this was an awesome way to celebrate the first day of summer!
Sunday: 13.1 miles at half marathon pace: My half marathon pace is 7:47. I ran this at an 8:32. I knew I would never be able to hold half marathon pace without actually running an organized half marathon. I mostly just wanted to get as many sub-8 miles in as possible, and push it harder than I have been for long runs. Overall, I did okay/meh. My slowest mile was my first at 9:20. I stayed sub-9 after that, but I couldn’t get myself any faster than an 8:07. I hit a mental wall at around mile 8, but I know that I could have pushed harder through it if I had adopted the mentality of a World Cup soccer player.
I do think this run was a good “real world” indicator of where I’m at. I know what I need to work on over the next 6 weeks before taper begins, and I still have confidence that I can hit sub 3:30, even if I don’t make it all the way down to 3:25.
This coming weekend we have 19/9 (OHMYGOD), and then we are up to 20! This training cycle has been flying by.
Hope you are having a great week! GO USA!