Twelve weeks down, four weeks to go, to my 5k all-time PB attempt. 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.
The plan for the next four weeks works out as follows:
- 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?
Running in the late summer and fall was easy. I’d put on my shoes, head out into the warmth of a fall evening, watch the spectacular colours of the sunset, and lay down some miles.
These last few weeks, it’s been a struggle, and my mind has been a mess of confusing thoughts trying to figure out why. Is it the fear of the two max-effort runs I have planned each week? Fear of putting in all this effort and failing at my goal? Or the even simpler dislike of the dark, dreary, and cold evening runs.
Not understanding the source of the struggle and not being able to develop a plan to deal with it, this week has all been about going through the motions.
As the days ticked past, each day became a little easier. What started as a mess of confusing thoughts, ended with what I hope to be clarity.
As I write this, I don’t think it’s the pain I fear, or the risk of failure, probably not even the cold, but the dark. I really don’t like running in the dark.
With that in mind, it’s time to callous the mind, embrace the suck, and head out each night, knowing that what seems hard today will only get easier with every tomorrow.
What about 80/20 running?
I think it’s working. I’ve put in some pretty intense training sessions these last few weeks, including two of the most challenging training sessions I’ve ever put in this past week, and there hasn’t been a single session that hasn’t gone to plan, including my fastest 400m, fastest 800m, and 2nd fastest 1k.
With 200km last month and pacing towards 200 again this month, I’m running way more than I ever have, and save for some struggles to get out the door at night, I love it.
Although it’s been a struggle, deep down, running is fun again, maybe even a little obsessive, and I’m okay with that.
November 17, 2020 – No Limits 7 – 5x1k Shorter Rest
Today was another run that almost never happened. With bitter temperatures and forecasted wind bursts of 40km hour, my sense of reason was giving me every excuse not to run. It’s cold, so cold you won’t be able to run fast, it’ll be warm by Thursday, enjoy some time with your family, and on and on.
After writing about the horrors of procrastination, and the need to build resiliency and mental toughness yesterday, I knew as much as I didn’t want to, I had to. That by not running, I would be reinforcing these bad behaviours I’ve been developing, only making it that much harder to start the next time some adversity comes my way.
All-day, I fought this battle to delay, wait for a warmer day, to Zwift indoors instead, and it was mentally draining, both for the internal debate and even more so the fact that I had to come face-to-face to my own lack of resiliency.
So I dressed warm, headed out the door, and in no time at all, I broke free from the cold, worked up a mild sweat, and was hammering through my sets, even enjoying the brisk air, and having the streets to myself.
For this run I ran with a chest based HRM strap for the first time in years. Why you ask?
Well, after more than a few issues these last few weeks with my Garmin 935 poorly tracking HR in cooler weather, I recently ordered and received the Wahoo Tickr Heart Rate Monitor Chest Strap. I’ll do a full write-up in two weeks, exploring the why in a bit more detail, as well as the differences I’ve noticed versus my Garmin 935 wrist-based HR, my Scosche HR arm band, and the new Wahoo Tickr HRM Chest Strap.
For now, after one run, I will say I love the responsiveness. The first chart below shows my HR during my first 5x1k set a few weeks back using the 935, versus today’s 5×1 set using the Tickr Chest Strap.
Looking at the charts, I’m amazed at how much more responsive the Tickr is, with no lag in HR as I power through the set.
The set itself, 5x1k at 5k pace effort, a mirror of Lionel’s 5k PB plan week 1, session 2. The two differences, a slightly shorter rest, and a slightly faster target pace of 3:57/km, versus 4:00/km.
No Limits Training Plan 5×1 Comparison
Although to be fair I should note that the 10/30 session was two weeks removed from the marathon, and although better, I was far from recovered.
November 18, 2020 – 6.5k Recovery Run
After some adversity training yesterday, today was just a bit easier to get out the door.
Where yesterday was a battle, dominated by negative thoughts that were willing me to stay home, stay warm, and wait for a warmer day. Today there was no battle.
As I write this, I remember listening to Joe De Sena, founder of Spartan Races and owner of Tough Mudder, talk to Joe Rogan earlier this summer about a kids camp he ran earlier this year. The camp’s goal was to create little warriors by putting them through two weeks of physical hell. During the camp, most of the kids wanted out, wanted to quit, and even begged their parents to get them. By the end, most of these kids that wanted out were thanking him for the experience, even asking when they could come back again.
I call this out because he talked about how, during the camp, he invited a neurosurgeon to talk to the kids about how when you take on something hard and don’t finish it, it impacts the brain. When you finish it, it leaves train tracks that make you stronger, more resilient, and all in all better at handling adversity.
I mention this because these last few weeks, I’ve been giving myself excuses, and each day I make an excuse it becomes that much harder to start the next day.
Then yesterday, as much as I didn’t want to, I broke free of the comfort of my warm home. I put on my thermal tights, my fleece long sleeve, my running jacket, and way too many more layers and stepped out the door, and you know what, it wasn’t that bad. In fact, to be completely honest, although a little overdressed, it was great.
And there we have it. By facing my fear of the cold and stepping out the door yesterday, I became just a little bit more resilient.
Today, although I knew I’d be cold, that it’d be dark, that the conditions were less than perfect, that it was okay. That if I had a positive mindset, it might even be fun.
FYI, last year I read David Goggins’s “Can’t Hurt Me.”, and it’s one of my favourites. Although I already read the book, now that I’ve started 80/20 running, I find I need a little distraction on my easier efforts, so I recently downloaded the audiobook. All I can say is the audiobook is even better, with some excellent commentary and Insights by Goggins thrown into throughout the book. Goggins has a crazy story, from overcoming an abusive childhood filled with way too much trauma to becoming a Navy Seal, then transforming himself into the toughest man alive.
Final note tomorrow will suck, with session 9 of the Lionel Sanders 5k training plan, and what’s described as the most challenging session yet, with 1k at 3:51 pace, 4×400 @ 3:45 pace, then 1k faster then the first. If all goes to plan, I’ll be setting some all time PR’s in just a few more hours.
November 19, 2020 – No Limits #8 – Pure Speed
Thirteen minutes and forty seconds, of effort, that’s all I needed for today to be a success.
After going to bed late, waking up early, and feeling exhausted all day, today was nearly a write-off. But after two successful days of cold weather night running, and a return to warm shorts type weather, my plan was to run, and run hard, for the plan today was promised to be the hardest session yet.
As I write this I’m beginning to wonder, did I self consciously fear the run? Did, I do my best to self-sabotage last night? Did I purposely have one extra glass of wine and stay up thirty minutes later than normal, so no matter what I’d have an excuse if today didn’t go well?
That’s where thirteen minutes and forty seconds comes in. I was tired, borderline exhausted, so I did my best to reframe my mindset away from the hard run, to instead focus on thirteen minutes and forty seconds, barely anytime at all, then it’d be all over. How hard could that be?
After dinner, I wavered, I’m running, no you’re tired, run tomorrow instead, but it’s nice out, but you’re tired. Finally, after thirty minutes of this battle, with the window coming to a close, I gave in, knowing that I’d live to fight another day.
As I announced those words, the anger grew from within, the anger at myself for self-sabotaging, for procrastinating once again into a rough running weekend, and just like that it was back on.
I downed a Red Bull, cranked, some tunes, and fifteen minutes later was back out the door.
The plan today, 1k @ 3:51, 4×400 @ 3:40, followed by 1k faster then the first. If all, goes to plan I’ll be setting my fastest 1k of 2020, maybe even targeting my fastest 1k ever.
The result, thirteen minutes and twenty-three seconds of pure speed, including my fastest non-track 400m of all time at 1:22; tying my fastest 800m of all time at 3:00; and coming within 2 seconds of setting my fastest 1k of all time, at 3:48.7.
The splits, by pace, 1k-3:49, 400m-3:32, 400m-3:28, 400m-3:27, 400m-3:39, 1k-3:50.
Lesson learned, don’t self-sabotage, and if you do, no excuses, you’re running anyway’s.
One last note, I’ve learned a few tricks that seem to help with ensuring consistent HRM data with the chest strap. Further testing required, but turning off wrist based HR, connecting with Ant (not bluetooth), and properly wetting the strap, have all led to much better early results on this run.
2020-11-21 – TTC Challenge Long Run
Although I may have missed the cut-off to make it official, I decided to make my long runs a bit more interesting by undertaking a new personal challenge and running every stop on the TTC by the end of the year.
This morning, part 1, 21.1k from Eglinton West to Union Station to Eglinton, and back again, stopping at all points in between.
The plan for next weekend? A 23km stretch will cover Sheppard – Eglinton – Eglinton West – Sheppard, and back again.
2020-11-22 – TTC Challenge Long Run
I finished Saturday feeling fantastic. As I went through the day, all I could think was I have a recovery week coming up, and although I’m sure it’s necessary, I don’t even feel like I need to recover.
With that in mind, I decided to head out the door and knock off a 16k stretch of the TTC challenge covering Line 1 north of Sheppard, Line 4 Sheppard to Don Mills, and back again.
As you may notice, my personal goal, as much as possible, with COVID in mind, run loops and save my subway rides for another day.
When I went to sleep Saturday, I was resting easy, knowing that with an early start, I’d be in front of the rain and snow as I woke up Sunday, all that changed, and although hard at first, I loved most every minute of it.