Have you ever considered taking your car out for a long drive without a tank of gas? Neither have I. In fact I think it could result in a lot of pushing and shoving.
Let’s talk about the pushing part first. I have this coach, let’s call him Stan, who uses himself as a guinea pig for any new, extreme or out of the norm marathon training techniques. He’s been doing this for many years and he runs a very fast marathon, continually BP’ing his results. Success with himself and helping others resulted in him teaming up with 2 others, let’s call them Dave and Olivia, to create Adaptive Running Academy. All 3 of them are very fast and put in more effort with their training than I do. I am not willing to run 6 times a week but I am willing to run 4, make them all quality runs and use the techniques they tell me. Exhibit 1 – I joined their academy officially in January and refer to myself as the ‘The Experiment’. Things have been going beyond my expectations.
When I 1st heard of Stan’s ‘push’ plan of doing 2 interval runs in one day with 24 hours of fasting, I thought he was bonkers. I’m not going to be on any podium, do I really need to do this? Not yet I didn’t. Since my marathon was a month later then the others in the group, I got to sit back and watch them suffer through their fasted day. I watched them vent on social media, exchange email stories and pictures and literally run into the pub after run #2 of their fasting day. They all pulled it off and appeared to have a lot of fun and comraderie during the day. But did it make them faster? Time will tell.
Then comes Tuesday, April 5th, my day of truth. Monday’s dinner consisted of cheese and crackers and ice cream. Not my usual healthy dinner but I appeared to be treating it very much like my ‘last meal’. I ate what I wanted at that moment and stopped eating around 6pm because I had a very early bedtime. Luckily my breakfast and lunch during the day were pack with nutrients.
My alarm went off at 5:15am and I was out the front door for a run half an hour later. No food, no coffee. The goal was 8k with an easy 2k warm-up then LT pace for 4k and a 2k cool down. I haven’t run on week day mornings for a long time since I do my strength training sessions with my trainer 2 mornings a week. I was excited to do an AM run. It was mysteriously quiet, dark, cold and I was overly suspicious of everyone I saw out at this time. I decided to work on my ‘pace by how I feel’ rather than continuously checking my Garmin so I was pleasantly surprised to see I was actually running my race pace instead of LT. I killed it! and had to share my delight on social media before I headed off to work.
I am blessed in that every single morning Jeff makes me an amazing healthy breakfast. Normally, I would come home from an early weight workout and my joyous made-to-order feast would be waiting for me to gobble down. Today, I come in the door to the smell of eggs cooking and my immediate thought was ‘oh no!’ … this is going to be torturous. I was hoping Jeff had forgotten my fasting day as he asks, “So what do you want for breakfast?”. Then he let’s out a huge chuckle. Argh – I guzzle a big bottle of water and run upstairs to get showered for work. I might just expire without breakfast. I didn’t.
Hi Ho, Hi Ho, off to work I go. I purposely booked a whole bunch of meetings right through lunch today to keep me distracted. I get to my desk early and one of my colleagues announces, “there’s a bake sale today!” I look over at her desk and see a picture of cup cakes and cookies on her screen. OK, it’s confirmed, someone must hate me! Geez, my luck. Cupcakes are my weakness. I drank a big bottle of water and went to fill it up yet again.
My meeting over lunch ends early so I’m back at my desk catching up on emails. My stomach is growling. Loud, angry sounds. I think about the 10 almonds I counted out and put in a container as backup. I thought about Coach Stan’s request, I could have healthy fat or protein if I got desperate but he really preferred I not eat anything. I opened the almond container, looked at the meager morsels and closed it back up again. The reality is I put 10 almonds in my mouth at a time. Who eats an almond at a time anyway? It’s only going to give me 5 seconds of pleasure then make me suffer all afternoon. I drank another bottle of water in one gulp.
I would say I had hungry pangs for 2 hours, then they just went away and stayed away. It was easy to get through the rest of the afternoon. 6:30 arrived quickly and I met my Adaptive Running family for a quick talk and then off to do a really tough run. 2k warmup then 5 minutes at our 10k pace, slow down for a bit repeat 5x’s til we hit 5k, finish with an easy 2k. It was hard but my brain was completely clear and into it. I felt fresh and fast. Who is this person? I held the time and paces and my mind was not trying to talk me into walking. I can really push this hard? Seriously, who is this person?!
Until I hit the last kilometer, then I finally hit a wall and walked. I was initially mad at myself but then I analyzed how I felt. I was huffing and puffing like the 3 lil pigs. Even after walking for a block I still didn’t have a normal breathing pace back. I pushed it hard, my pace was faster than I was required to go. I figured out if I held that pace for the 5km I would’ve had a PB. It actually works!
I definitely had a mental breakthrough. All day long I thought the plan was to make our bodies more efficient, restart our engines, increase red blood cells and have a steady stream of new mitrochondria filling our bodies. It might have been all that but my take away from the day was pushing myself harder. I got mad at another part of my brain that holds me back and pushed it aside. Shoved it aside! The definition of Shove – verb – “to push something roughly”. Pretty much sums it up.
This human vehicle can work on empty and still run strong. Machines are weak!
Now off to the pub for some grub with my Adaptive friends.
When was the last time you shoved a doubt right out of the park?