Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Day 40: How About I Run Faster?

The Blow's "Eat Your Heart Up" is one of my favorite songs to run to because it's fast!

Today I articulated something important for myself.  In order to run faster, I need to give myself permission to run faster.

For the past few weeks I've been reading 'Lean In,' the controversial book by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.  In it, she discusses women and work, and calls for women to take on more leadership without asking for permission to do so. Asking for permission, hm?  

When she discusses permission, what she's really talking about is some sort of external marker we need to feel like we're THERE, so we can take on more.  This external marker may come in the form of many years of experience at a job, for example, or it may come in the form of someone else's approval.

She cites a study, for example, in which a significantly lower percentage of women, as compared to men, were willing to apply for a job if they didn't think they met almost all of the criteria.  Whereas men were saying -- and believing -- they were qualified because they could learn on the job, women were holding themselves back because they hadn't already learned all of the skills.

When I read that I saw myself.  This has happened in my career, where I've had to learn some serious lessons about what "qualified" really means.  And though I consider myself better now at jumping in without the "permission" to do so, it's still scary, and I still usually prefer to already know what I'm doing before I do it.

But while I have been gleaning the book's contents for applicable work advice, it also applies to training.

Three times a week, I've been running with my Houston FIT group.  And often on these runs, I'll find myself running next to someone I consider faster than me, whether it be another runner or a coach.  Usually, at this point, I slow down so they're just in front of me.  If they take a walk break, I take a walk break.  If they slow down, I will, too.  The logic is that since this person is faster than I am, I should be a few steps behind.  If Coach A can't push himself without a walk break, then I surely can't, either!

But I realized, per Sheryl Sandberg, that this makes no sense.  It's an internal barrier, almost comical: I'm physically holding myself back!  And on what planet should I slow down because my brain (not my body!) is telling me that I'm not as fast as Whoever?  I realized I was waiting for some kind of permission -- some sort of external marker -- to feel confident enough to run fast.

But you know what?  If I want to be fast, then I have to run fast.  It's as simple as that.

Day 40, by the numbers:

69.21 - miles run to date
7.09 - longest run to date
1:09:58 - time it took
9:52 - average min/mile pace

Week 6 schedule:
Sunday - Monday: Off (out of town)
Tuesday: 3.6 mile run -- hill training; strength training (arms)
Wednesday: 2.5 mile run -- fast! (avg. 9:04 min/mile)
Thursday: ~40 minute tempo run; strength training (legs)
Friday: hot yoga
Saturday: 6 mile run, strength training (core)

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