August 13, 2011

Time trials are tough

That this morning's time trial was challenging came as no surprise, these are tough workouts that require a lot of self-motivation. Thankfully I had company from another runner, which always makes them a little easier and a lot more enjoyable, even if you're not moving side by side. You know that you're both trying to run as hard as you can, which is comforting and encouraging.

Time trials in training are often harder than races, as in the latter you have an official time to defend, possibly spectators to cheer you on, and, of course, competitors that always help you dig a little deeper. In a time trial like my friend and I ran this morning, there is nothing other than your own willpower that's preventing you from slowing down and taking it a little easier.

Nobody is watching you, there will be no record of your time, and nothing is at stake other than the knowledge that you made this session as good as it could be by giving it as much as you had to give.

We used the course from the Squamish Days 10km two weeks ago, when I ran 40:14. Today, I ran about 41:30 on the out-and-back flat course, feeling like I struggled a lot more today than in the race. That came as no surprise and I was pleased with the effort.

My friend ran 11 seconds/km faster than he'd planned, so was very pleased as well.

With another 7km for the warm up and cool down (the latter included a 600m uphill back to Valleycliffe on which my tired and sore legs could only manage 7:30-8:00/km), my volume for the past six days is 97km (though I prefer to count Monday's 18km with the previous week's mileage).

Tomorrow I have a 29km long run to finish the week, before Monday's rest day!

Time trial tips:
- warm up properly, I did 4km today before starting;
- you'll run your best time with even splits, so tame yourself in that first 2km, and try to run as steady a pace as possible throughout. Time and again, I find that even or negative (i.e. running the second half quicker than the first) splits make for the best times, both on the clock and in your mind;
- maintain positive thoughts, and concentrate on the task at hand -- especially between halfway and that final km focus your thoughts with things like, I am strong, I am relaxed. Trust me, it works. Negative thoughts like, I am so tired, Are we there yet, I don't think I can keep going, slow your pace;
- while pace is important, it is not the be all and end all: your body may be tired, as mine was today, and focusing on putting in the best possible effort each moment can then be more helpful than staring at your Garmin. Ask yourself, is this the best I can do right now;
- cool down, give your body a chance to recover with a slow jog for a couple of km.
- refuel and rehydrate within the first hour. 

I am tired from this morning's effort, and am having breakfast and tea and some hammock time in the backyard, so I can rest up before driving to Whistler this afternoon for a guitar lesson by the awesome Papa Josh at gorgeous and welcoming The Artist's Point.


mindy olson said...

Do you do any type of strength work with weights as part of your training?

Margreet Dietz said...

Hi Mindy, not at the moment.

mindy olson said...

Thanks for responding. I came across your name in the runners magazine that was in my BMO marathon package. Then after the race I saw you were first place in my age category. I was 4th place. It was the first time I ever used a strength coach and found a huge improvement in my running times. I was just curious if your training was strictly running or involved strength as well. Good luck in your upcoming marathon and I really enjoy reading your training blog. I've picked up lots of running tips!

Margreet Dietz said...

Awesome that strength training has helped speed up your times, and belated congrats on your Vancouver marathon!

You running again in 2012? What races are you aiming for this year?

Thanks so much for reading my blog, I really appreciate the feedback.

mindy olson said...

After I ran the Scotia Half in June I really didn't have anything else planned for the rest of the year, but I've been doing a lot of training runs with a friend who's doing Penticton Ironman this month so he suggested I might as well do the Victoria Marathon as I was putting in the hours anyway. I haven't signed up yet but that is the plan. As for BMO 2012, I will most likely race as I seem to each year. It's such a beautiful course and it's pretty much as close to home as it gets so I figure I have no excuses not to. Again.... Good Luck with your 3 big races ahead of you. I hope with all your hard training you'll reach your personal goals.

Margreet Dietz said...

Great to hear that you'll be running the Victoria Marathon, hope to meet you there!

Hope that your friend is getting excited about IMC and enjoying the taper. Are you going to watch the race?

As for your experience with weights / strength training and how it has helped your running, perhaps you'd like to write a guest post for this blog about your experience with that. If so, please do! My email is margreet (at)

Meanwhile, happy training!

mindy olson said...

My friend Steve Di Tomaso is pretty excited about his first ironman. It will also be his first marathon! Unfortunately I am unable to attend. He is hoping to complete it in approx. 10.5 hrs. He is the one who started me on my strength program in March of this year. I will gladly E-mail you shortly with the positive results I have gained while doing these programs that were specifically designed for me and for helping me to become stronger and faster. Thanks Mindy