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2020 – 5k PB Week 11 – Updated Plan, Procrastination, and Mental Toughness

Eleven weeks down, and five more to go, to the big day… my attempt to set my all-time 5k PB in 2020. If you’re interested in learning about the journey so far, I encourage you to click through to, Diary of My Attempt to 5km PB In 2020.

If you’ve been following along, you’re already aware, that after a return from injury I self-trained for several weeks before ultimately deciding to follow Lionel Sanders’s personal 5k PB training plan, three weeks ago.

As I’ve started to plan out these final few weeks, I’ve come to discover that Lionel followed a twelve, not ten-session plan, adding a little confusion to my timing.  

The good thing, for now at least, I appear to be suffering no overtraining effects. Where this was going to be a rest week, I’ll instead move forward with another week at intensity.

Here’s how the new plan breaks down:

  • October 26 – #1 – 6x600m @ 1k Pace, #2 – 5x1k @ 5k Pace
  • November 2 – #3 – 6k @ HM Pace, #4 3 x Broken Mile
  • November 9 – #5 – 3x2km @ 10k Pace, #6 – 10x400m @ 1k Pace
  • November 16 – #7 – 5x1k @ 5k Pace with Shorter Rest, #8 – 1k @ 3k Race Pace, 4×400 @ Mile Pace, 1k Faster then First
  • November 23 – Rest and Recovery
  • November 30 – #9 – 6k Tempo at 10k Pace, #10 5x800m @ 3k Pace
  • December 7 – #11 – 3k Time Trial, #12 – 4x1m @ 5k Pace
  • December 14 – Taper, followed by 5k attempt Dec 19/20 weather dependent

How did the week go?

I’m not sure if it’s the weather, the stresses of life, the thought of the hard sessions, or the fear of failure. Whatever it is, it hasn’t been easy getting started lately.

Whatever it is, I’ve come to realize that over these last few weeks, I’m getting much better at procrastinating.

Procrastination impacted me in two ways this week. My Thursday interval session pushed to Saturday, causing my long run to move to Sunday. Which, with extreme winds in the forecast for Sunday, ended up being cancelled.

The other more significant impact was my long run Saturday was one I was targeting for my first group run, with WeRunNorthYork. Unfortunately, with COVID cases increasing, their runs have been cancelled, and I’ve missed the opportunity to connect with other great people in the running community.  

The scariest part of it all is just how easy it becomes. That first push is hard. The second push not quite as hard, and by the time the third push comes around, it almost seems like the right thing to do.

This week’s life lesson, although life may throw you curveballs, it’s essential to stay true to your mission and stick to the plan. That when you allow excuses, each excuse becomes easier than the last, thereby reinforcing the negative behaviours, ultimately increasing the chances of negative impacts and the risk of failure.

80/20 Running vs Mental Toughness

I’m now three weeks into the Lionel Sanders 5k training plan and six weeks into 80/20 running. If anything, despite my struggles with motivation and procrastination, it’s been easy, maybe even too easy.

If I have one memory of setting my 5k, 10k, 21k PBs in 2016, it was mental toughness. I remember going out every run, thinking that although the training is essential, the more important element is training your mind to handle the abuse, and I made myself suffer week in and week out.

Where my goal then was to make each week tougher than the last, my approach, driven by 80/20 running, seems much easier. The mileage is way up, but more than that, my effort seems to be way down. It’s not only the interval runs that aren’t always at maximum output, but also the long runs or midday runs, at less than max effort.  Although to be fair, I’m also not swimming, so that’s helped with the mileage, and impacted the cross-training, which was probably a really good thing.

And there’s the big question, is this increased distance at low effort going to lead to increased endurance that will enable success, or will the lack of maximum training effort, combined with perhaps less mental toughness, ultimately lead to failure.

I should note that I had been basing my anticipated pacing not so much on where I wanted to be but more so on where I thought my fitness was today.  

Last week, my interval sessions were faster than expected. They were actually pretty much exactly where I need them to be. The plan moving forward will be to base all pacing off my goal 5k pace, adjusted for the correct pacing distance, using SportTracks Race Time Finish Predictor.

November 10, 2020 – No Limits #5 – 3x2k Interval 

With two more days of summer-like weather, getting out the door was perhaps the easiest thing I had to do today.  

The plan, 3x2k interval session at my 10k pace, followed by a 3min rest between sets.  

The result:

SetTimeMax HR
14:02/4:08132/131
24:10/4:08153/164
34:08/4:13161/164

Besides some cramping on the final lap of the last set, everything went to plan. If anything, it almost felt too easy.

FYI, if your running with wrist-based HR in the cold, make sure to tighten your watch as tight as can be. Otherwise, you’ll get the low results you see in set 1.

November 11, 2020 – 7k Recovery Run

I’m not sure why, but remembrance day has always held a special day in my heart. Two years ago, my mom and I had the opportunity to go down to Queen’s Park for the Saturday ceremony, and it was a powerful sight to see.

As great as the ceremony was, the depressing part was just how small of a crowd was there. When I think of all that was lost so that I can enjoy today, it feels like the least I can do, and something I hope to one day do again soon.

November 14, 2020 – 10×400

Where I was highly motivated on Tuesday, this run was a little harder to get started.

By Thursday evening, it was cold, and I was exhausted. Although I wanted to run, I just didn’t feel like I’d be able to give the run everything it deserved, and with what seemed like a good enough reason, the run pushed to Friday.

Where Thursday I just wasn’t in the mood, by Friday I felt fantastic, with fun at the park, a relaxing family dinner, and the cozy comforts of my home.  And just like that, Friday’s run pushed to Saturday.

Two days of procrastination was enough, by Saturday morning, although I knew I was going to run, not a single cell in me wanted to.

As I’ve said before, the hardest part is starting, and sometimes the most important thing is just putting one foot in front of the other.  

By the time I cleared my court, this thing I’d been dreading, this thing that felt like a giant weight on my back, this thing that was becoming one more stress to deal with, became my release valve.

The set today was a planned hard interval session of 10x400m at 1k race pace (3:40 min/km). It went better then expected, running the first five sets at an average pace of 3:29, followed by 3:39 for the next five.

November 15, 2020 – Zwift – 70km El Giro De Rigo

2020 – El Giro – Also Known As My Punishment For Missing My Long Run

The problem with yesterday wasn’t so much the two days of procrastination, but instead the downstream impact on my 50km weekly running goal.   

The original plan called for a hard session Thursday, rest/recovery Friday, long run Saturday, ideally with a group, then an easy bike on Sunday.  

With forecasted non-stop rain and wind gusts of up to 90km, running outside wasn’t going to happen. Although I enjoy a challenge, dodging fallen trees, powerlines and the like, just didn’t seem like a good idea, plus how do you even dress for that.

Instead, I decided to suffer, to make up for my procrastination, by doing what worked out to be my second longest indoor bike ride ever, the 2020 El Giro Del Rigo.

With Zwift on my iPad and “Darkest Hour” from Netflix on the big screen, I hopped in the saddle for 69.9km of riding, and 714m of climbing, all spread out over 2:42:04.

The ride itself wasn’t physically hard, but mentally it wasn’t easy. That first 20km took forever. The idea of 50km more seemed impossible, then 20 turned to 30, 30 to 40, and just like that, I passed the halfway point and on to the home stretch. As I write this, 7 hours later, although my legs are sore, it’s great knowing that I earned every ounce of that pain.

As for the Darkest Hour, if you haven’t seen it, watch it. It’s a great movie, historically accurate, where it matters, and even includes an Oscar-winning performance by Gary Oldman for his portrayal of Winston Churchill.

One comment

  1. Love reading about your adventures. Totally agree with you about The Darkest Hour, fantastic movie. In 100% agreement concerning Remembrance Day and what a shame it is that not very people today stop and honour all of those who have given everything so that we may enjoy and continue to enjoy the freedoms that we have.

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