Training for Confidence: Effort-Based Training

On Monday I had been dragging my feet all day to get in my long run.  The long run turned into a regular run which soon was turning into a “twenty minutes is better than nothing” run.

As I got started, I knew I was doomed to a 20 minute run if I didn’t think of some sort of mind game to play to encourage me to either run longer or faster.

[ source ]

[ source ]

I decided to do a five mile progression run.  Completely unplanned but after seeing my paces for the first 1.5 miles I decided I would aim for specific paces each mile:

  • Mile 2: 7:30
  • Mile 3: 7:20
  • Mile 4: 7:10
  • Mile 5: Sub 7
unplanned, unmotivated tempo run

unplanned, unmotivated tempo run

What really happened:

  • Mile 2: 7:32
  • Mile 3: 7:02
  • Mile 4: 6:52
  • Mile 5: 6:31

This unplanned progression run ended up being faster than my 2.5 mile tempo run I did on Saturday…

Initially I was discouraged because my unplanned hard run was faster than my planned fast run but the feeling slowly faded as I recognized the fact that I can run faster.

This is why I am a huge believer in running off of effort and not pace.  I believe paces serve as a good guideline of what sort of effort you want to hit in a specific workout but you should not be confined to them.  Workouts are designed to help simulate the pain you’ll feel in a race so you can work through the fatigue and lactic acid when it matters.  Sometimes, you may feel good and be able to easily run faster than your set pace.  Don’t limit yourself and slow down to hit your target.  If you can run faster, run faster.  Some days, you may feel horrible and not be able to come anywhere near your times.  It happens but it is important to give the same amount of effort as you normally would to aim hit that pace.

^ This is EXACTLY how I feel. Except better spoken.

As runners, we are so in tune with our bodies.  We know how hard we need to push and we know when we need to back off.  I know what tempo is supposed to feel like; I know what interval is supposed to feel like; I know what rest is supposed to feel like.

Going back to my progression run, if I slowed myself down to hit my “goal” paces based on what I did in my tempo run last weekend, I would have denied myself closing a run at 6:30 pace and the confidence that brought me post-run knowing that I was fit to do that.

With that being said, I read a great article on Competitor about becoming a mind-body runner.  The first step really struck home about my workout philosophy.

train for confidence

What kind of runner are you? Are you a stickler for pace or do you go by how you feel?  

How important are splits/paces/and wearing a watch when you run?

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4 responses to “Training for Confidence: Effort-Based Training

  1. Dang girl, you are FAST! I really like this post for a number of reasons, but mostly because it is a good reminder that some days we are going to feel at our best and some days we aren’t. I always like to listen to my body and not push it to a place where it doesn’t want to be. Good thing we have adrenaline on race days – I always feel good and exert more effort!

    • Completely agree! I feel like if you SIMULATE the effort you want on race day, the adrenaline will carry you through! Have a great trip!

  2. I love this because it’s something I totally think about all the time. Yesterday it just wasn’t happening, so I decided to just get in the miles and not care about pace. I thought I must have been going 10 min/mi, I felt so sluggish. My watch shocked me because my “easy” pace that was basically a recovery jog was much faster than I thought. The best are those days that you go out though and everything just feels easy and bouncy and you run crazy fast without trying. Some days are easy, some days suck. Paces are important but as long as you’re hitting them sometimes, enough to know you’re on track for your goals, the rest of the time you should just accept that your body’s perception of effort is so different day to day.

    • Yes! Completely agree!! I think paces serve as great guidelines and YES it is good to hit them. I actually think it does worse for your body if you try to push harder on your bad days…. For example, on your recovery run yesterday imagine how much worse you would have felt if you ran that run at a pace too fast for you to actually recover at!

      But that is great that your easy pace has gotten faster ! I am definitely noticing that for me too as I am getting more fit!

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