She interviewed me the other day which is...ridiculously good for my ego. The last time I was interviewed, I was stuck in an elevator at a school dance.
So thanks, Hanna!
Also, I have a running blog roll on the right of my blog. Through different iterations of the blog, various blogs I love have fallen on and off of the list. This is for no reason other than laziness and I certainly don't mean to exclude. So if you want to be there and you have a running blog and we get along and stuff, email me.
In high school, I raced the 3200m in the District championship. I didn't remotely belong in that race and I felt very intimidated prior to the meet. The caliber of runners in this meet were far better than me and I was seeded somewhere in the middle of the slow heat.
My coach took me and my teammate aside the day before and told us to go out in 6:15 to 6:20 pace.
I thought he was crazy. My PR at the time was a 12:58 and knocking 20-30 seconds off a 2 miler is not easy stuff.
But the next day, I took his advice, and clicked off each 200 meter lap on pace.
I ran a 12:39 and my teammate ran somewhere around a 12:25 and even though I didn't score any points in the meet, I felt like I'd we'd both won the damn Olympics.
It was cool to run such a great race and I know I wouldn't have been so aggressive in my pacing if it weren't for the advice of my coach. His words gave me the confidence to run faster.
So how much of a part does confidence play in running performance?
Most of the time I think "dream big" type confidence building mantras are dumb. Detrimental even. I believe in being pragmatic and keeping expectations in check.
I mean...it's just the people who made it against all odds who say these things, right?
But it's hard to say. I have no doubt that Olympic and professional caliber athletes have to have a huge amount of confidence and belief in themselves. (I mean come on...Ryan Hall thinks he is being coached by God.) Don't even get me started on Steve Prefontaine! Kara Goucher has spoken about how a lack of confidence has sabotaged many of her races.
I wouldn't consider myself to be a particularly confident person. Just ask a slew of annoyed ex-boyfriends of mine who got tired of providing validation.
I've tried to build my confidence in and outside of running.
I've done race visualization. I've visualized myself running crazy PRs. I started too fast in races chasing crazy PRs and seldom seen it materialize how I wanted it to. I mean, I will try just about anything that someone says worked for them.
Having big goals can often mean big disappointment.
But, I have no doubt that people often run to the ability they think they have. I'm convinced this is why runners (myself included) run almost exactly the same time over and over again even if their fitness is at different levels.
What works for me is putting in the confidence building workouts before racing- it's hard for me to dream big until I feel physically ready. I have no doubt that my couch in high school told us to go out fast because he saw us running workouts and knew we had PRs in us, not the other way around.
Speaking of goals, I'm running a 10k this weekend. I've felt pretty good in the past couple weeks, but I don't want to get my hopes up too high.
Here's the snapshot of McMillan prediction based on a 5 miler I ran back in November.
If I even come close to that, I'll be a happy girl. Of course, I'm already dreaming of some crazy PR but I've gotta accept it's unlikely. Plus I don't even think this 10k is USATF certified, so I might end up running closer to a 5 miler anyways!
Has confidence played a role in your race performances? If people dream it can they do it, or is that unrealistic?