January 12, 2009

Another 17 treadmill miles

With the weather and roads still not conducive to enjoyable and safe running outside, I went back to my gym for another long run on the treadmill.

I warmed up with an easy 6.5mph pace before speeding up to 7.5mph within 30 minutes. I chatted with Tim who was running on the treadmill next to me until he needed to focus on a speed session. So I reached for my iPod and upped my speed to a comfortable 8mph.

Besides a fully charged iPod, I also make sure I have a towel, a 750ml bottle with water or a sports drink, and an energy bar on my treadmill's shelf.

Like last week, I needed to remind myself to focus as it is easy to be distracted by watching the minutes tick by slowly on the treadmill clock right in front of you and feel overwhelmed by the amount of time left to run.

To concentrate on each step and the enjoyment of running is a great mental exercise, as a marathon (or any distance race) can feel overwhelming at times too when you start thinking about the distance left to cover.

The key is to focus on being in the here and now, to concentrate on feeling good, to monitor pace, breathing and posture. In training, I love listening to music and connect it with the rhythms of the running motion: arms moving back and forth, chest expanding as you breathe in and relaxing while you breathe out, legs taking turns touching the moving band and that tiny moment in between when you are suspended in the air.

I love daydreaming and running provides the perfect time to do so. But I will always go through a mental checklist - from top to bottom: relax my mind (by simple mantras such as relax and achieve the max), relax my breathing (slowly breathe in and out), relax my shoulders (check that they are nice and low instead of raised and tight: I also periodically drop my hands and shake them), focus on my legs (picture them moving in the perfect rhythm: efficient, strong and light).

The faster my pace, or greater my effort, the more often I run through this checklist. During most speed sessions and in races I focus on running alone, which means I continuously monitor myself mentally and physically by going through the list mentioned above over and over again.

As for music, my current running favourites are AC/DC's Black Ice and Live albums as well as Coldplay's Viva La Vida.

Yesterday I listened to Great Big Sea's Sea of No Cares album (favourite song A Boat Like Gideon Brown) and James Blunt's All The Lost Souls album - could you tell I was in a relaxed mood. However, I wanted to some big swelling sounds so I repeated Linkin Park's Shadow of the Day until the end of my run.

I mostly love the rhythm of the Gideon Brown song but also the sound of promise:

"A Boat Like Gideon Brown"

Oh Gideon lived across the bay
He's gettin' older now
His boat is big and strong and bold
She has a stalward bow
But my father's boat was second hand
One someone used before
And after every fishing trip
My father always swore
That someday he would save enough
To go to St. John's town
And buy himself a big new boat
A boat like Gideon Brown
A boat like Gideon Brown

Confederation came around
And the days of old age pension
He said 'Son I'm saving every cent'
And this you must not mention
You save the baby bonus too
And things just might turn around
And we'll have enough to buy a boat
A boat like Gideon Brown

[Chorus:]
'Cause she can punch ahead in any gale
And ride the fishing ground
I often thought how proud I'd be
In a boat like Gideon Brown
In a boat like Gideon Brown

Many years did pass away
And Dad began to fade
He didn't talk of boats too much
He said 'Son I'm afraid'
If things don't soon improve
Then I'll be underground
Before we ever get to see ourselves
In a boat like Gideon Brown

[Chorus]

I sat and held his hand one day
And he said 'Son, that policy'
The insurance is all in your name
You're the beneficiary
And when I'm gone they'll pay you off
Then go to St. John's town
And buy yourself a big new boat
A boat like Gideon Brown

[Chorus (2x)]

Time for a short run before it gets dark here.

1 comment:

Faolan C. Dunphy said...
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