Around mile 6, the dull pain in my stomach began to get stronger. I felt bloated, gurgling and hungry at the same time – not always a desirable combination, but especially unpleasant during a half marathon .
But instead of focusing on the pain, I just accepted it and pushed on. "They did not train for this race," I told myself. "Of course it will be painful."
While my abdominal pain – and other pain known to me – "ache", they grew and faded through the remaining 7 miles of the Daufuskie Island Half Marathon . I repeated this mantra: your pain is expected and it's alright On Mile 1
My experience in the last month of this race (to which I was invited to run) was a member of the media) both Magical as well as extremely confusing, I magically walked through a beautiful, historic island (Daufuskie is in South Carolina, just southwest of Hilton Head) and somehow reached my b time in this process. Confusing in the sense of HOW, did that make me untrained ?! My best time so far had been achieved after months of hard, dedicated training . I had done much less with this go-around but was still better (at least when it came to my last days). That contradicted every logic. But then I started to think more about it and asked myself: Could my lack of training be partly responsible for my success?
Of course, many factors can affect performance on race day – I would guess that the race at sea was level helped. (My best time so far was also at sea level, but I was living at sea level at that time.) Now I live and walk at a modest altitude in Boulder, Colorado.) Nutrition Sleep, and stress levels may also matter although in this particular case I would not say that I would do well with these measures after a cross-country flight.
Apart from these external factors, however, this is often overlooked element that can have a great impact on performance: their mental state. In repeating the narrative that I told myself before and during the race, it became clear to me that my lack of training actually paid off.
To be clear, I do not advocate a no-trained approach. There is an obvious safety risk when doing a long distance race without properly preparing your body first. Besides, it's the fact that a good training plan usually makes you faster. Also, going through discomfort is one thing: if you feel sudden, sharp or aggravating pain, always listen to your body and stop. Never go through pain if you believe you might have an actual injury .
That is, I believe that training in my particular scenario has brought with it some key mental benefits that have translated into real-world outcomes. Let me explain.
I agreed with very low expectations, and instead of emphasizing achieving a time goal, I told myself it was just a win to win.
I just want to say that I had the best  intentions of training … until winter weather, winter holidays, winter laziness – you get the point. When I actually felt ready to start training, the race was only two weeks away. And so I kept my regular exercise routine in place of the tempo runs, long runs, and hill repeats required by a typical half-marathon training schedule.
I should note here that I am generally quite fit. I train about five times a week with a mix of short-distance racing and strength training and I completed four half-marathons plus a full marathon. Overall, I would say that I've always trained enough to finish at least a 13.1-mile race. But to finish it fast and run without a part of it? That's another story.
So, when the day of the race was over, I fully accepted the fact that I was suppressed, and although I am the type of person who never competed and not [19659022AndIdidn'ttrytocompeteinthecompetitionIfinallyhadalottodowiththerace
Ariane Machin Sports psychologist and former fellow, refers to my approach as an "underdog mentality." Going with a mindset that the odds are already stacked against you, "the pressure is completely off," says Machin. "There is no expectation."
"Generally, runners are rule-followers and want to do things in a certain way," Machin adds. He explains that the discipline required by sport often attracts more rigid, perfectionist personalities. People with these tendencies (* raises both hands *) also tend to set high goals and are very good at following a particular path to achieving the goals. Of course, this can be helpful in achieving what they want, but sometimes it can lead to excessive stress and stress. Especially if things do not go as planned.
The low expectations of my performance really helped me to let go of what I usually owned. As I said, my sleep, my diet and my stress were not ideal as I had been on the day before for a long day. On the morning of the race, I woke up feeling sleepless dehydrated stiff from flying and for eating greasy restaurant food. Rather than clarifying the extent to which these external elements could affect my running, I could easily shake them off by mentally adding them to the existing list of reasons that I would probably run a bad race anyway. And looking back, I think because I did not give much weight to those conditions, they ended up influencing me much less than they could.
I also knew before that the race was not going to be good.
"It's almost as if you invited the pain," says Machin as I explain the mantra that I repeated before the race and in the most difficult moments. She is right – and not only did I invite the pain, I also fully accepted it when he arrived.
Also, I told myself before that the experience would probably hurt terribly, and I might wonder if it was not. 19659031] overwhelming painful, she says, and that could have brought about a positive mental boost.
After all, I did not bother tracking my pace, just listening to my body.
If I had actually trained For the race as planned I would probably have developed a certain pacing strategy in advance, worn a watch on race day and tracked my splits kilometer by kilometer. Instead, I just listened to my body and went up and down accordingly. When I felt good, I pushed myself. When I really hurt, I pulled back a little. In those moments, I've just tried to enjoy the beauty of my surroundings: the living oak moss, the historic mansions in the south and the great white herons nesting along the beach. In retrospect, I would have missed these important physical cues and and the breathtaking scenery if I had tried to pursue a pacemaker strategy.
The only exception to this is half of the race, when my stomach really started to hurt, I asked another runner how much time had passed (there were no timepieces on the track). When she told me, I was stunned – I walked faster than I imagined or even thought possible. Machin believes that this revelation in the middle of the Middle Ages could have sparked positive thoughts and emotions, which meant a decisive boost in confidence that made me keep going if I had otherwise slowed down.
She notes that listening to my time could easily have the opposite effect. If it were a number that I thought was slow. Therefore, the potential downside is tracking your pace. Being behind the desired location – even if it's just a few seconds – "can tolerate you a bit," she says. Put the watch off and just run, depending on how your body feels. So you can run more intuitively and ultimately experience more. In certain scenarios like mine, this combination of mindfulness and joy can make run faster .
I plan to combine what I learned from this experience with an actual exercise plan.
If you have a personality like mine, "it's very uncomfortable to mix things up a bit," says Machin. But the fact that I have learned to let go of this scenario can help me to keep going because it has been shown that I can succeed without following a strict plan. "Sometimes it's not the plan to follow the plan," says Machin. "If you realize that you still can not follow the rules, that is very liberating."
My main impression of this whole experience is that, of course, it's important and hugely beneficial to actually train for a race, but at the same time It is important to listen to your body, allow flexibility in your plan, and maintain a healthy perspective. With this new mindset, I'm planning to * actually * train for another half-marathon this year, and I'm curious what might happen this time.