One week until deadline. This week I take on the challenges of sticking to my planned workouts while traveling. We all know what a shock trips can do to our regular day-to-day. It certainly is a major fitness roadblock for many of the people I have worked with and has derailed my own training plans on occasion.
Read on to find out what is so important that I would put the success of my goals on the line and how I navigate this potential roadblock to use it to my advantage.
I am so glad to have you joining along as I work to break a personal best of mine that has now stood for over 10 years.
Each week I’m posting updates on my progress, insights I learn along the way and sharing the training strategies I’m depending on to reach my goal.
If you want the full back story you can read about it in another post.
The quick and dirty is that recently I got stuck sick in bed for almost a week. This could have been an excuse to bail on my goal, but instead I doubled down and am now documenting my final training weeks leading up to my deadline of June 2, 2017.
It is my intent that by posting the details of my experiences learned along the way I will better help you as you work on your own improvements. Maybe it can even be a bit of motivation to challenge yourself to consider taking on a fresh fitness goal of your own.
Not to mention it is some extra accountability for me.
Disclaimer: Sometimes I use “mile” and “1600 meters” interchangeably. I do know these distances differ by 9.34 meters. My previous PR was completed on a 400m track thus if 5:00.0 is run at a true mile road race the previous record will be beat and my goal accomplished.
The goal is simple, break my personal records for the Deadlift and 1600 meter run within a week of each other. For me that is lifting 300 pounds and running sub five minutes. These are long standing personal limits for me. If I can eclipse them I will arguably be at my fastest and strongest!
Not to mention my oldest 😉
TRAINING WEEK: MAY 22 to 28
Last week was a good confidence booster confirming that I do indeed have the speed to run at five minute mile pace. I was smoother and faster on the track than expected turning out a sixty seven second 400 late in my main speed session. Doug and I also tried out a new course for our 15 mile run to close out the week, which also went quite well.
I took some video at the track last week to analyze my form and found I am over striding. This is causing me to heel strike on my landings. If I can adjust my form and land more flat footed or on the ball of my foot I should be able to pick up some time without additional effort.
In an effort to make this change I spent the second half of last week and all of this week doing my runs with a quicker cadence to force a shorter stride and weed out this bad habit.
For full transparency below is an image from my training log for this week.
(Click for bigger view)
Last week was 400m intervals on the track and I hit my paces. This week I stepped it up to 800’s to test my endurance. We only did three but the goal was to descend them, or go faster each interval, and we did just that. I would have liked to have been a couple seconds faster for the last one, but was still able to keep it under goal race pace.
Seeing as I was supposed to travel on Thursday Doug and I did a Tempo session the day after our track workout and I still felt strong.
Thursday the travel fun began as United Airlines cancelled one of my flights delaying me by a day, but allowing me to get in local group run at home. Friday turned into a full day of flights with United once again causing me to miss a connection, but I did make it to my parent’s place in Colorado by the evening.
This was one of the few times I get to see my immediate family each year and while it might not be the best time to travel in my training schedule, some things are more important. If I miss my self-induced deadline and get in quality time with my people, so be it. I can live with that.
United stole one of my special days. Now I had to pack in the quality time and find time to train.
Luckily my family is very active and I could expect plenty of outdoors activity. My parents have always been fantastic role models when it comes to exercise. They are always ready to lead a mountain bike ride, raft a river or ski some powder. Being outside and sweaty is our kind of family reunion.
Mountain biking was sure to be on Saturday’s schedule and while it is good aerobic exercise it is not running. Still on east coast time I got up early and slipped out to get in a quick session at the track.
Given the workout was done at six thousand plus feet of elevation I was not expecting the same performances as back home. I kept the repeats to 400’s and 200’s and was happy to keep the pace at five minutes or slightly faster. The goal was to maintain race pace and stay mentally positive while the altitude deprived me of the oxygen I was used to. I figure this is good preparation for what I will feel during the last quarter of my five minute mile.
Training at higher altitudes can wipe you out if you are not used to it, so I kept the intervals to a mile total. All in all I think this strategy set me up well to keep the legs quick and bank some physiological gains without totally trashing myself and being a waste for any other family time.
Signs point to my body being ready to deliver. I’m feeling good and with my deadline less than a week away it is a good time to get my head in check. In the past my performance at key events has dropped inline with my hunger to meet my goals.
This week’s takeaway is simple. Stay hungry.
The number one thing that got me up and ready to run on Saturday was the gnawing thought of not achieving my goal because I did not do my scheduled workout.
Tony Robbins would jump on this as a chance to internalize leverage that helps me achieve my goal. He would encourage me to associate massive pain with NOT achieving a sub-five-minute mile and associate massive pleasure to the experience of fulfilling my training and crushing my goal.
Why bring up Tony?
For many people late night infomercials come to mind when his name is dropped. For me Mr. Robbins is a master coach having helped such super stars as Serena Williams, Pat Riley, Andre Agassi, Mike Tyson, Hugh Jackman, Princess Diana, Mikhail Gorbachev and others, to bring them to new levels of performance. Whether these people are fitness stars, or not, they are certainly top performers in their fields and have turned to Tony Robbins for improvement strategies.
In his book Awaken the Giant Within, Robbins lays out the steps to change anything in your life. For me this is how fast and strong I believe I can be.
If you are interested in learning more about the details of his Neuro-Associative Conditioning process I suggest you pick up the book.
Saturday morning I felt jet lagged and not on my game, but as I lay in bed I thought about that 5:02 two years ago. Reliving the pain of coming across the Ithaca Mile finish short of my goal was the leverage that got me up Saturday. Having to tell all those following this journey that I have not yet achieved my goal is another pain I would like to avoid.
Thinking about crossing that finish line, looking over and seeing 4:59 on the timing clock and feeling the satisfaction of doing what I said I would is a pleasure I would much rather live.
Reviewing the work I have done up until now and then letting in the pain I would feel should I not make my goal made getting up a no-brainer.
Get to the starting line on June 2nd ready to give my best effort. The work has been done and there is little I can do to physically improve before the race. To make sure my head is ready to drive my body I have been regularly starting my day with a meditation.
Some days this consists of meditating to get into a state of relaxation. Sometimes this is supplemented with repeating a phrase, or mantra, I know will motivate me.
Meditate with Muse for six minutes each day
Repeat my race mantra while visualizing my race effort
Stay loose after travel
So close! Be sure to check back next week and get the race results. If you want to get update notices about this experiment and other great training opportunities coming out of TGB go ahead and submit your email below.