How does a runner go from being mediocre to good? Although some would argue that adding miles and speed work to weekly workouts is most import, I think it really can be attributed to confidence and believing in oneself.
Let's rewind the clock about 6 years. My first half marathon preparation went well. Even though I did not keep track of my mileage back then, I vividly remember logging multiple 10 mile runs leading up to the event in the spring. The half marathon was in late May, and although I only logged 1 10 mile run in May, I became nervous about conquering this new distance. Could I do it? My only two goals going into that race were to not walk at all and to have fun. Both were accomplished, and I ran negative splits. My ending time: 2:17. My happiness level: 10+.
I signed up to run that same exact half marathon the following year. I had put in significantly fewer miles. Leading up to the race, I only ran 10 miles once. During that 10 mile run, I had to stop and walk countless times. Although my training was sub-par at best, my confidence level was high. I had already run that distance once, and truly believed that I could break the 2-hour mark. The end result was crossing the finish line in 1:58, and feeling amazing.
As I've been logging countless miles, both on foot and on bike, in preparation for my Spring marathon, I can honestly say, as of now, my perspective has changed. My long runs are significantly slower than when I was training for Chicago, and I've felt increasingly better each week. Not only have my long runs been going well, my shorter runs during the week have also improved. My confidence is increasing along with my fitness level.
2012 is going to be an amazing year because I believe it will be.
Do you believe that the mind is powerful?