I also learned I need to start my runs well before the sun comes up, and get enough sleep. Florida summers are brutal if you’re spending time outside on the road. The movie 42 ended around 11:30 last night with my wife and youngest son while my daughter slept on the couch. That voice said, “Spend time with family. This is nice, even if you are going through e-mail on your computer.” I was up at 6am. Applying the 7-hour rule, that isn’t enough sleep for a normal night, not to mention when training for a marathon. The later you take, the hotter it's going to be.
When I’m not running, I work with kids in my spare time. Lately, I’ve been working with a summer program serving disadvantaged kids in downtown Orlando on a goal-setting program called Achieve YOUR Dream! The kids learn how to achieve ANYTHING in the world they want. Within the program, we work on the stories we tell ourselves. We work on the words we use – the stories themselves – and the tone we use to tell them. One of the keys to achievement is being able to control the voice that tells your stories – control WHAT the voice says and HOW the voice says it. Up to this point, we’ve discussed two voices. The STRONG voice tells you to conquer the world, move faster, and that you’re invincible – and it’s done in a firm, convincing fashion. The weak voice tells you to stay in bed, play a few more video games, the workout you’re doing hurts and you should stop, and overall just slow down and relax. The intent is to increase awareness of which voice is speaking to them, and to make sure the STRONG voice kicks the weak voice’s ass every day. To continue to push. To challenge yourself like you’ve never challenged yourself before.
Ironically, it’s my STRONG voice that creates trouble with my training. Counter intuitively, I have to use the STRONG voice to throttle back the intensity of my running. Using the “heart rate strategy” where you keep your heart rate at 180 bpm less your age, I’ve been working hard to keep it at 135 bpm. That voice YELLS at me, “C’MON, you HAVE to be more DISCIPLINED than THIS!!! Slower. You aren’t 30 years old. KEEP IT AT 135 bpm!”
On Saturday’s 12-mile run, I did a decent job of keeping it around 140 bpm for the first half. The second half, it was tough to keep it under 150 bpm because of the heat. It was because of that discipline that I finished twelve miles in really good shape. Hot and sweaty, but limited pain in my calves and Achilles. Tight in the quads, tight in the calves and feet, but overall I was very happy given the problems I’ve been having with my lower legs.
Today was supposed to be 3 easy miles. I salivated, thinking “I just ran twelve miles. This will be AWESOME and EASY! I should NAIL this with an old man PR for 3 miles” (my lifetime PR for 3 miles is at a 6:18 per mile clip). That’s when trouble came back to town. No new old man PR. And my right Achilles is back to being a problem. I needed a third voice to speak up. The Voice of Reason, which is a voice of maturity, needs to temper the enthusiasm of the STRONG voice. The STRONG voice should only come into play when the weak voice starts to talk. My heart rate hovered around 155 bpm for most of the run.
Tomorrow, it’s back to the gym to push my feet up and down on the Stairmaster for six miles. This weekend is thirteen. And time to control the voices a bit better.