Monday, January 7, 2013

December 31-January 6: Stop Whining

 Last week got off to an absolutely awesome start. Anytime you swim 10k in one shot to kick off the week, things are going to be good. Add an age group win in a 5k (no, I’m not shutting up about that anytime soon) less than 24 hours later, and it’s just awesome. Follow it up with a speedy track workout the next day, and it’s like the most amazing week of training ever.

Until the long run on Saturday that ended with the three folks on our team training for the Myrtle Beach Marathon in  not-so-high spirits for the last half hour. Sure, it was our longest run of this training cycle, but I don’t think that was what got us.

It was when I violated the #1 rule that I impose upon the swimmers I coach when we go to meets:

No whining.


Now, you might think that rule is there because I don’t want to listen to teenage girls whine.

And you’d be correct.

But it’s also there because one person vocalizing their unhappiness can quickly bring the entire group spiraling down into a mess of negativity. And so far, in this training cycle, I've tried to avoid any kind of negative talk during tough training sessions, because it just doesn't do any good. Ignore the negative thoughts, and channel the support of your teammates, and they usually pass. 

Start vocalizing them? Game over. And that's the mistake I made during Saturday's run. My right hip locked up shortly after the halfway point, and I avoided mentioning anything until we had three miles to go. And then I just started complaining about it, about the hills, about the wind, about the uneven path...basically, about anything.

And it brought down our entire group. What it didn't do? Fix my hamstring, flatten the hills, or really, make any positive difference. Instead, I just made everybody as miserable as I was (possibly more miserable, I'm intolerable when I'm whining).

Not anymore. Next time, I let the thoughts extinguish on their own. 

No whining.

Tuesday: 1 mile warm up including 3x100 meter strides, followed by a 5k race in 23:51 that netted me a win out of all the 30-39 year old women in the field. Yes. AGE GROUP WIN. Topped the day off with 21.64 miles of biking around Hains Point with Sarah.

Wednesday: I anticipated that, given the race the day before, coach wouldn’t let me do the evening track workout…but she did. Then I anticipated that it would be slow…but it wasn’t. The workout was 800-(400 easy jog)-400, with the 800s clocking in at 3:54-3:37-3:35 and the 400s registering at 1:45-1:43-1:44. An extended warm up and cool down gave me 5.73 miles for the day.

Thursday: A 1:15 trainer workout in the morning, with spinups and several zone 4 intervals, and 3200 yards of swimming with DCRP Masters in the evening.

Friday: Rest day.

Saturday: An 18 mile long run with Mia and Rachel, at an average pace of 9:27. My right hip and hamstring locked up around mile 10, and I kept quiet about it until sometime in the middle of mile 14, when I started tripping over cracks in the trail. That quickly soured the run for the entire group, which was not awesome, and while our pace slowed a bit for the last three miles, we actually remained relatively consistent over the run as a whole.

However, if I graphed our attitude by mile, it would not be as good of a picture. Lesson: No whining.

Sunday: An hour of easy spinning on the training and 45 minutes of strength training/stretching in the morning, then 16 miles of round-trip bike commuting to and from coaching in the afternoon. Nice, sunny January day.


  1. Well either way it was a powerhouse week of training and racing. 10k swimming...ugh. LOL. Sorry to hear the 18 miler wasn't as good as you'd like but a 9:27 overall pace is still awesome.

  2. You got an age group win? AWESOME. I constantly tell my class we are in a no whine zone. I'm a big believer in the power of denial. If I don't say something hurts out loud, its not really true. Still a great pace for a rough run! I did 18 miles this weekend too - I didn't whine aloud, since I was alone in the woods, but I did do some whining in my head.

  3. Maybe I should apply the 'stop whining' principle to my blogging. Only then there would be no posts :P Seriously though, I do think that list of rules etc. for the swimmers is very relevant - I could've done with a good dose of that no-nonsense, 'man-up' approach when I was a child instead of being allowed to get away with being such a soft, fat wuss.

    You had a really intense week, and sh*tty runs happen sometimes. Don't beat yourself up too badly for complaining - you were fighting some potential injuries and that's bound to worry any case, at the end of that week I don't think you did badly at all on your run anyway.

  4. You're so right about the negative thoughts. Usually, I can deal with them in my head and tell myself whatever is at hand (pain, terrain, etc.) isn't a big deal, but once you say something out loud, you're done. When I'm struggling through an indoor bike trainer session, I've actually talked to myself aloud and said things my high school basketball coach used to tell me: "Red [my nickname], you're fine!" does the trick! :)

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