I think I’ve said this a dozen times already; I did a lot of treadmill training this winter. It got to be a habit to turn to the treadmill when I saw that the weather was colder than I liked, or there was a slight chance of snow, or heaven forfend, any kind of wind. It’s nice to be indoors; I liked not having to think about what to wear, and I had plenty of entertainment to make the miles fly by.
I was also completely unprepared for races. My first two races of the year featured less than ideal conditions – rain and wind, respectively – and I knew right away that the comfortable miles I’d logged on the treadmill hadn’t mentally prepared me to push through whatever race day threw at me.
Over the last two weeks, I’ve started running almost exclusively outside again. Sometimes the pollen count is bad, and I suffer a runny nose throughout my run, sometimes it’s hot, and lately it’s been very windy in the afternoons. It doesn’t matter – there’s no guarantee that race day weather will be perfect, so part of training is trying to simulate the worst that the day can throw at you – and proving to yourself that you can push through.
And you know what? I’m learning that I can handle a lot more than I think I can. Yesterday’s speed workout (4 X 1 mile) featured 20+ mile winds, and I was still able to hit my goal paces running against the wind. Saturday’s long run took place in 90-100% humidity and heat, and I slogged through at slightly faster than my usual long run pace. I built up the physical strength and endurance through the last couple of months of training, but now I’m teaching my mind not to give up just because it’s hard (woah, is there a life lesson there?).
I’ve also switched my mileage tracking tool from DailyMile to Garmin Connect, which captures a lot more data from my runs with my FR210, like elevation, split times, and weather conditions. All I was waiting for was the feature to track mileage on gear, which was added at the end of last year.
I’m running Wine Country in a little over two weeks. I know that the course is hilly, and in the past the weather on race day has been hot (with little shade offered on the route). I know that running through hot-humid-windy conditions between now and then will teach me to become comfortable with being uncomfortable on race day.