Thursday, February 26, 2015

Training vs Racing...The Struggle is Real

My easy pace is my former tempo pace.  My tempo pace is something I never envisioned being able to maintain for over a mile, yet alone several miles.  I have found a love for running around the "oval office' and pushing my limits during speed workouts.  But there's a problem...

My race results do not reflect what I know I am truly capable of.  My race results do not reflect what is taking place during my training. 

I approach the start line excited, confident in my abilities, but then it all falls apart.  It wasn't until my last race that 2 words came to mind....RACE.  ANXIETY! This is a foreign concept to me, because as a competitive swimmer for over 10 years, I was a slacker at practice {the one whose goggles were always leaking, pulling on the lane lines while doing backstroke, turning around in the middle, get the picture} but did great come competition time.  Qualifying for state, regionals and more; I loved racing! And was successful at it.  This {RUNNING} RACING thing is a whole new ball game for me...

Why do I run faster on a saturday morning at 5 am, on 4 hours of sleep, following a crazy hectic week than I do when I am tapered, rested and have the excitement of a race to motivate me? 

When I first started running, it was strictly for fun.  An opportunity to run with my dad, to run with friends, and to travel occasionally.  Then it turned into more.  I had goals. I started following a training plan.  I hired a coach.  I wanted to compete.

My last race, and in all honestly several prior to that, opened my eyes to my personal struggles with racing.  While I knew I was capable of running the paces I discussed with my coach, they made me nervous.  Made me doubt myself.  They consumed my thoughts.  And as soon as I {thought I} couldn't maintain them, my race was mentally, and therefore, physically, over.  I couldn't get back in the game.  I wanted to be done. There was no plan B.  The last half was a walk/run combo, as I felt completely defeated.  I gave up.  It was a mental battle, that I lost. I crossed the finish line emotionally numb.  It wasn't that emotional, tear inducing feeling as if I left everything out on the course, but still fell short of my goal.  Rather, I was embarrassed.  Truly ready to completely throw in the towel on this whole running thing.  I felt defeated.  

BUT...I am not throwing in the towel.  I am not giving up.  I am determined to figure this out, and what a great day it is going to be when I am finally able to successfully put it all together. 

It has been several weeks since the race {yes...I am finally blogging about it, I know!} and I have had time to reflect etc.  and to come up with an answer to everyone's infamous question of "Why?" {when hearing I had a rather disappointing race}.  When is comes to racing, my mind is my greatest enemy; and I am a huge believer in the power, both good & bad, of the mind.  My training no longer focuses solely on my physical strength, but also my mental strength.  I am building the needed confidence to race MY race, that I know I am capable of.  I am channelling my inner competitiveness for good, focusing on competing only with myself, my goals, and my PRs.  

I love running and I look forward to loving racing.  It WILL happen!


  1. I feel your pain Holly. First off, I love and miss your writing and musing, you have such a gift. Second, I love our sport because it is so humbling-- running and especially racing is really the race of life. There is such a strong connection and I feel like God always has something to say about each and every race. It is His time to be able to give us a life lesson, and up to us to listen. I feel like if you are too attached to PR's you will be disappointed when you don't, and if you are too disappointed when you don't achieve what you were expecting you won't try again. With Boston coming up, I am only going to try and do two things, run with all of my heart, and try not to have too many attachment and expectations. Love and miss you!

  2. I am sorry you are feeling this way!! I often have mental problems while I am training and not racing but I read this book: On top of your game ( ) to help me and it might just help you too!! Hope to see you at Shamrock!!

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