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Friday, September 10, 2010

It's the...FI...NAL...COUNT...DOWN...

Nothing like a little 80's hair band ballad to start off my blog entry.

Bet you're going to have that song in your head all day now, aren't you???

Well, this IS the final countdown. The last big run for Vermont City is in the books and this is where training volume starts to reduce. May 8th was the last BIG long run. Nothing will be that big again until May 30th. The day after my rainy run, I did an easy 40 minute run outside to work out the kinks a bit more. I also had a massage scheduled on Monday, May 10th, which is always deliciously awesome.

But, there was something else I started to do right around the terrible taper time.

I decided to affirm.

Affirm what, you ask?

Well, I decided to create an affirmation.

What exactly IS an affirmation?

Here is wikipedia's definition:

Affirmation is a declaration that something is true.

Oh, okay.

Now, let me explain how this related to the marathon and why I thought it would be helpful.

My goal for VCM was to run a BQ which, for me, was 3:45:59 or better. So, that is how my coach had me train. All of my workouts and long runs were aimed toward running 26.2 miles in this time or faster. Great.

However, we cannot forget about the mental aspect of training. Don't quote me on this, but I read somewhere that running is 80% mental and 20% physical.


So, in other words, I've been running 22-23 mile long runs and doing double digit track workouts just so I am 20% of the way prepared???

Doesn't sound too comforting, now does it?

I didn't just need to train my body. I needed to train my brain.

Hence, the affirmation.

To be effective, an affirmation should be positive and in the present. In other words, act "as if" you are already doing it. After giving this some thought, I came up with this sentence:

I am running sub 3:45 marathons with ease.

There. It's positive (the "ease" part) and it's in the present (the "am running" part).

Now that I had created this powerful statement, what exactly was I supposed to do with it?

Well, I had to write it down. A lot. Like 21 times, three times a day; morning, afternoon and evening.

That's equivalent to repeating that sentence 63 times a day. And I committed to do this for 21 days.

Why 21 days?

It has been shown that it takes about that long to break, or make, a habit.

What is a habit?

A habit is something you do over and over and over again without thinking.

Bet you didn't think this post was going to be this educational, did you???

I had to declare that I was running sub 3:45 marathons with ease and I had to do it until it was something I believed. A belief is just a thought that you keep thinking. Once you plant the seed, you need to water it. My repetition of this affirmation was me watering the seed.

It just so happens that my seed was really, really, really well hydrated.

I began to establish my new pattern of thought on Friday, 5/7. I wrote out this "mantra" of mine 21 times in the morning, 21 times in the afternoon and 21 times in the evening.

And, I did this for 21 days in a row.

I affirmed that "I was running sub 3:45 marathons with ease" 1,323 times in a three week period.

I had my 20% part covered. And now, I'd be chipping away at that 80% part too. Giving it 100% of your energy and effort seems a lot simpler now once you know how it all works, doesn't it?

Will things ever be the same again?
It's the final countdown.

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