Grit is one of my favorite words, almost my mantra. Grit means resilience, tenacity, passion – that perseverance of pulling yourself up and pushing forward with even more effort than before. When I think of grit, I conjure up a corporeal image of that gritting of my teeth that I do when digging deep and pushing myself harder when there’s the temptation to assume there’s nothing else to give.
Grit can define an athlete. It’s the difference between a plateau and progress, between missing your goals and achieving them. It’s the day in, day out hard work put in. It’s adapting and adjusting your training when planned workouts go awry. And it’s the toil and effort of grit that makes finally achieving goals – even small ones such as nailing hard workouts or finally getting down the slope without falling – even more personally rewarding.
Monday: 8 mile tempo run
My workout was similar to the one I shared in Wednesday’s post:
20 minute warm up
4 mile tempo trial
5 minutes easy running
4 x 1 minute hard, 90 seconds easy
My tempo trial was sort of a benchmark or assessment workout. I looked at my watch as little as possible and ran at what felt like half marathon effort – comfortably hard. My splits were 7:21, 7:23, 7:16, 7:15 – a 7:18/mile average for 4 miles. I am so pleased with those splits, even if I don’t see that pace on race day.
Tuesday: 7 mile easy run + 20 minutes strength training
One of my favorite functions of the Garmin 230 is the “turn around” alert. On easy runs, I just set the halfway point of the run and then run out until the alert signals to turn around – no need to look at my watch until I was done with this run. I ran almost 2 minutes per mile slower than my tempo miles the previous day.
I anticipated rain on this run, but instead of rain, a beautiful rainbow stretched across the sky. While all the rain can be a downer, views like these are what make me love the Pacific Northwest.
For strength training, I did my current favorite medicine ball workout: 2 sets of 12 single leg deadlifts, 20 med ball squats with overhead press, 20 single leg bridges while holding the ball for resistance, 20 pull overs, and 10 push ups. I need to work on improving my ability to do more push ups!
Wednesday: 25 minutes Pilates
My favorite Pilates workouts are those with a deliberate and challenging side leg series. In the side leg series, you lie on your side and work the top leg for a few minutes with precise movements that target the glutes and hips: leg circles, leg lifts, leg swings, etc. Despite their appearance, these exercises burn, and I really think they have helped me so much in staying injury-free!
Thursday: 3 miles easy + 15 minutes strength training
Ryan and I ran together before work and 3 miles flew by, despite running in the dark and rain. We kept the pace relaxed and talked the entire time.
After our run, I made up a quick strength training workout to focus on my core, glutes, and my lateral plane of motion. I completed 2 sets of 15 lateral band walks, 15 clamshells with the resistance band, 15 donkey kicks, side plank with 15 knee-ins, and reverse plank with 10 leg lifts.
Friday: 5 miles easy on the treadmill
Friday’s run did not go as planned. I had a 10 mile fartlek and progression run plan that I wanted to get done on Friday. The day itself had me in a bit of a mood and I wanted that cathartic sweat that comes from a hard run.
That rain I mentioned on Thursday? It froze overnight and turned into ice on Friday, leaving everything – cars, sidewalks, roads, grass – was covered with a thin and slick sheet of ice the next day.
I have a paved trail that I like to do my hard workouts on is about 15-20 minutes from our apartment. I wagered it wouldn’t be as icy as our apartment parking lot was, since the sun was shining and it was about 35 degrees…and I was wrong. I nearly slipped several times within half of a mile of my run, so I turned around and walked back to my car.
I could have ran on the gravel side, but I was too stubborn and determined to get my hard long run in. My stubborness does not always work to my benefit. By the time I got home and on the treadmill, I was too hungry and cranky (about the day as much as being hungry) to run my hard 10 miler on the treadmill. I desperately wanted to try to get my workout in, because I wanted to run with Ryan on Saturday morning, but I knew within a mile that running long and fast wasn’t worth pushing.
I got 5 miles done on the treadmill before I was absolutely ravenous (and the treadmill randomly shut off on me…). Sometimes, you just get done what you can and that’s good enough for that day.
Saturday: 10 mile hard long run
Attempt #2 at this workout! Saturday morning was gloriously ice-free, mild, and sunny. This workout wasn’t easy, but that’s the whole point: if it were easy, it wouldn’t produce the result of becoming faster and stronger.
2 miles easy
4 miles repeating 1 minute @ 10K pace, 1 minute easy
2 miles easy
2 miles hard
My mantra for this whole run was keep moving forward. Grit it out even when the pace hurts. For the 10K pace, I averaged 6:50-7:00/mile for those intervals. Who knows if I could actually race a 10K at that pace, but the effort felt right. In retrospect, I could have pushed harder for the last 2 miles, but at that point I was running into a headwind and my stomach was feeling a bit touch and go (probably from the much-needed margarita and Mexican food the night before). I ran at a comfortably hard effort instead 7:21 and 7:23 for the last 2 miles.
Sometimes I feel like half marathon training makes me almost as hungry as marathon training. Even though I’m at a fraction of the mileage, these hard workouts rev my appetite.
This was our first time out snowboarding without lessons. I was nervous at the start of the day about doing well and fall down every few feet, since even by the end of our third lesson I could not get down the green slopes without falling. But I wasn’t about to stop trying to reach my goal of making a run without falling down.
I fell down during the first few runs down – but each time I just pushed myself back up and tried harder. Finally, rather than fighting my runner tendencies of glute dominance and wanting to face forward down a majority of the mountain, I embraced them. I ride goofy, but I can ride heel side leading with my left foot as well – and so I tried riding switch down the mountain.
I started off on to eside and practiced turning for a bit at the top, but after the grade steepened, I stayed on heel side and switched my lead foot whenever I wanted to change directions. I know it’s not ideal for basic snowboarding, but it worked! I made it down the mountain multiple times without falling. Snowboarding was even more fun when I could ride next to Ryan, rather than falling behind as I wiped out.
What’s your mantra for training?
How was your week of running?