Re-{Training} My Brain

I am several weeks into training for my first half-ironman, Tinman.  One would think that after 8 weeks of following a plan from my coach, that I would be reprogrammed.  What do I mean do you ask?  Good question!

I’m a runner.  By trade, by love, by passion, it’s the one of the three sports in triathlon that I originally loved.  It’s what sucked me in to endurance sports and I suppose it’s what moved me over to triathlon training. (All that pounding is tough on the body, cross-training via triathlon seems to be agreeing with me.)  As a runner when following a training plan, it’s done in miles.  What this means is that a plan looks something like …. Monday 3 miles, Tuesday 4 miles, etc.  There is often speed work, etc throw in there but it’s almost always marked/measured in distance. 

As a triathlete, this is not the case.  Generally speaking, training plans are measured in time, except for the swim.  So for example Tuesday my plan said to go for a 30 minute easy run.  Yesterday I needed to do a 90 minute easy ride.  You get the point.

Tuesday while running, I was reminded that I need to force myself out of the runner mind-set.  For some reason I always override the 30 minute run with a 3 mile run.  While I can’t run tons further than 3 miles in 30 minutes, I can go a little further and get my full 30 minutes in.  I’m not sure if it’s still the runner in me that wants to stop when my Garmin beeps at the three-mile mark or if it’s my little OCD-ness that likes a nice round number.  I don’t want to see 3.1 or 3.12.  I want to see 3. 

But Tuesday, when my watched beeped 3 miles, I forced myself to keep running.  While I didn’t like the not round number that displayed on my Garmin at the end of 30 minutes, I am seeing this as an opportunity to track improvement.  Maybe by doing this, I will see my progression in that number over the training weeks as each week a 30 minute run could mean a longer distance?  Hey, anything is possible.  Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself. 

So, the moral to the story is that I’m re-training my brain.  I am learning to think in minutes instead of miles.  How are you re-training your brain?  Do you already think in minutes rather than miles?  Does this eventually just make sense or will I forever be a runner?  If that’s the story, I’m ok with it, I’m just wondering.

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