Be Comfortable being Uncomfortable

At the beginning of the week, while slowly plodding along on my treadmill, I had a major “mental break-through”…which is way different and way better than the mental break-downs I usually have! 😉 It went something like this, “What the f*ck are you doing?! Your foot is fine…get the eff over it, and stop running like you’re broken! Let’s pick it up!”….then I cranked up the speed/incline on my treadmill and actually pushed it for the first time post-injury! And you know what? It felt great and my foot really did feel fine! The rest of my work-outs this week were focused and felt strong! My mini-running epiphany made me realize two things;

1) It takes longer to mentally recover from an injury than it takes to physically recover from an injury.

stand in own sunshine

2) I had forgotten what it felt like to be “uncomfortable” during my work-outs and was stuck in my “comfort zone”.


All these beach pictures have me day-dreaming! Looking forward to warmer weather and beach time (maybe with a fruity umbrella drink or two!!)

My top training goals right now; regaining mental strength and getting comfortable being uncomfortable (I really see the two as two-sides of one goal). I’ve read some great sports psychology articles and put together a list of some of my favorite tips for endurance athletes:

  • Clear your head and learn to quiet negative thoughts with meditation and/or prayer.
  • Stay focused on your goals to maintain the motivation to push through difficult work-outs.
  • Consistently practice “pushing the envelope”! Go just a little bit further/faster than you think you can. Train in adverse conditions (hills/rain/heat/technical trails). Seek out faster or maybe even “intimidating” competition.
  • Train your “inner coach” to neutralize negative thoughts and maintain focus when things begin to hurt.
  • Practice concentrating and blocking out everything around you.
  • Rebound from set-backs and failures by learning from mistakes and moving forward. (Don’t dwell!!)
  • Train your conscious mind to over-ride the “internal governor” in your sub-conscious mind that is telling you to stop.  Learn the difference between “the inability to continue” and “giving up”.


No one demonstrates "mental toughness" better!

No one demonstrates “mental toughness” better!

Some of my favorite (a relative term) “envelope pushing” work-outs:

  • Fartleks (speed play): I either pick-up the pace for 1-3 minutes at a time, with 1-3 minutes of recovery at an easy running pace, On the track I’ll sprint the long side of a track then slowly jog the turns, and on the treadmill I’ll put on an up tempo playlist and adjust speed/incline with the music.
  • Track work-outs/speed repeats: I’ll warm-up for 1-2 miles at an easy pace then do the speed portion of my work-outs, either 12×400 meters (1:20-1:30 min per repeat), 6×800 meters (3:00-3:10 per repeat), 3×1 mile (6:30-7:00 min per repeat), with 400 meters of easy jogging/recovery between each repeat (Except the mile repeats, I just stand there for 3 minutes, drinking water and trying not to puke! Lol).  This is literally the most torturous work-out for me every week, but it no doubt gets me out of my comfort zone! And in case you were wondering about the paces…they are very deliberate and based formula’s in Hanson’s Marathon Method, one of my favorite marathon training books!
  • Hill Repeats: I have a few “favorite” hills ranging in distance between 0.5 to 2.0 miles and between 400-800 feet in elevation gain.  This work-out is exactly what it sounds like….I run to the top of the hill, then run back down, then back up again….repeat until I reach my planned distance (Usually somewhere between 4-7 miles).
  • Rolling Hills: Planned routes where I deliberately hit as many hills as possible! This includes a majority of my long runs (I really may be a masochist!).


My Weekly Run-Down:

  • Monday-6 miles
  • Tuesday-Rest
  • Wednesday-Rest
  • Thursday-6 mile speed work-out (8×400 meter repeats)
  • Friday-5 miles
  • Saturday-6 miles
  • Sunday-7.12 mile hill repeat work-out

Weekly Total: 30.12 miles

2015 Total: 155.12 miles

Do you have any tips for getting out of your comfort zone? How do you practice being comfortable being uncomfortable? What are some of your favorite (or least favorite if you’re more sane) envelope pushing work-outs? What kicks your butt more….speed work-outs or hill work-outs?






A New Speed Workout for National Running Day

national running day

Happy National Running Day to all my fellow runners and blogging friends! I’ve been reading “Hansons Marathon Method: A Renegade Path To Your Fastest Marathon”.  I plan to follow the training methods and plan from this book for the Wineglass Marathon.  (Training starts up again in just 2 more weeks!) One thing I have struggled on in my last few races is my pacing.  I am getting faster, but I have let that lead to overconfidence, and “going out too fast”, instead of sticking to my planned pace.  One thing Hanson talks about in his book is sticking to “prescribed pace” for each and EVERY workout.  Based on my marathon goal time (3:30), my prescribed pace for easy running (warm-ups, cool down, recovery, and easy runs) is 8:59-9:59.  It is hard for me to hold back that much when I am running, but he gets into physiology of marathon running and why running slow for 49% of your total mileage pays off on race day.  He also talks about why it is important to be able to run consistent pace for an entire run.  Who am I to argue with an expert! 😉 So I’m going to give it a try….

Today I tried a new speed work out from Hanson’s book; 12 x 400 at prescribed pace (1:45) with 400 meters recovery between each repeat (+ a one mile warm-up and cool-down for a total of 8 miles).  Hanson makes his runners do push-ups when they do not run their prescribed pace for each repeat; he joked about how he wouldn’t make the readers do push-ups… However, I thought the push-ups were a great idea! I am the first to admit that I HATE push-ups and what better reinforcement/motivation for me to learn to run a consistent pace!  For every second I was off my pace for a repeat, I did 1 push-up.  I ended up doing 11 push-ups total; 4 for running my warm-up too fast and the other 6 for “over running” my repeats.  I’m a fast learner when push-ups are involved (flash backs to my days of bootcamp! Lol), my last 5 repeats were 1:45 on the dot! It did feel like I was holding back for the first 8, but the last 4 repeats were challenging.


In addition to my normal running, I have started a “burpee challenge” with my boyfriend and some of our friends.  You start out with 1 burpee, and add one a day for a year until you get to 365 burpees.  I joined the challenge late, so I only did 12 today while Danny did 71! Ouch!  Burpees are a standard exercise in cross-fit work-outs and they hit most of your major muscle groups! We’ll see how far I get, I have a feeling I may decide to hang-out around 50 when I get there! 😉




Anyone want to join the burpee challenge? How did you celebrate your National Running Day? 🙂