First fitness goal of the year down:
-Run a 6:25 mile (February).https://aeolipera.wordpress.com/2021/12/22/quick-2021-goals-retrospective-and-2022-goals/
I’m exactly two weeks early on this one. Ran it in 6:12 and it was a lot easier in the moment than I expected. To be honest, I was planning on running a medium-pace 5k today and just noticed that the 8 mph pace felt incredibly easy, so I just turned the treadmill up to 10 mph and went for it. The reason this is unexpected is my typical running workout is a painfully slow 13-minute-mile pace for around an hour, and it’s pretty rare to do any speed work in the winter (due to icy sidewalks and my hatred of indoor runs).
I attribute the success to typing up the following script, based on these prompts, and having my computer read the story back to me on the regular (with Balabolka). It’s not even an ideal writeup because it doesn’t address feelings and visuals after the fact, because (believe it or not) even I have trouble making time to write down important shit. The first, last, and second-to-last paragraphs are boilerplate that I use in all of these (I have three goals written out like this at the moment). My current theory on balancing goals in different domains of life is that we can only pursue simultaneously as many goals as we can practice vivid visualization on consistently (as in every couple of days), and it’s just too damn hard to do for multiple goals consistently without the aid of a guiding written narrative. The Balabolka part is completely optional, but I like audiobooks and the computer voice doesn’t bother me (that may be another Asperger’s thing, a lot of people really don’t like it).
Naturally, posting this script will be a bit embarrassing for me but the educational value is worth the embarrassment, and a little humility never hurt anybody.
Let yourself daydream or fantasize. You are trying to put yourself into a state of reverie, which is a form of dream-like thinking that relies heavily on internal imagery. This kind of thinking allows all your different internal states of motivation and emotion to find their voice.
You ran a mile in 6 minutes 25 seconds on Saturday, February 26, 2022.
You’re on the treadmill in the fitness center for your apartment complex. It’s 2:15 in the afternoon and you had just finished scheduling out your blog posts for the week and were starting to feel antsy because you skipped your morning cardio to save up energy for the big race. You turned on a custom playlist starting with Break the Fangs of the Wicked by Woe of Tyrants, followed by Mikasa by Veil of Maya. You started off at a 10 mile per hour pace because the treadmill takes 30 seconds to get up to speed and frontloading the workout would give you a little bit of leeway toward the end, but you had vowed not to let the speed get lower than 9.5 miles per hour, which translates to a 6:20 mile. You did your standard warmup routine out on the bike trail before walking to the fitness center, to make sure everything felt right and your muscles were ready to go. It feels cool in the fitness center, perfect for running. There’s no hesitation getting started, once the music starts you’re getting pumped up, and you jump on and get to work.
The first couple of minutes are easy. You feel like you overtrained and you’re bursting with energy. You’re wearing your zero-drop shoes, the lighter shorts and your navy tank top. Minute three is a bit harder, but you think about the My Hero Academia clips and soon it’s over. Minute four is hard but you’ve still got some in the tank and it’s just a matter of deciding to stick to it. Minute five is miserable and there’s no getting around it. You lower the speed to 9.5 miles per hour and it helps for a couple of seconds. This is where the battle is won or lost. You think about how this moment could represent everything else in your life: total loss or total victory. It all comes down to whether you can make yourself hit that second wind. It’s not going to kill you, that’s your mind playing tricks on you. You can do it. I know you have it in you. You have more power stored away in your mind than you can possibly imagine. I know you can do it, trust me. Believe in yourself.
You look up and the treadmill timer reads 5:15. Amazing, isn’t it? Your mind may play tricks, but we were smarter. We saw it coming and played a little trick on it this time. Just one minute to go. Everything hurts but at this point you already know you’re going to make it. You’re going to win. All you have to do now is wait and endure the pain. Imagine it’s a color. Depersonalize it. Analyze it. Channel your inner masochist and learn to see the fun side in it. The endorphins afterward are going to be great. Man, that Veil of Maya singer is killing it.
A tenth of a mile left. You’re just counting down in your head at this point. 0.93. You’re going to win. 0.94. It’s just a matter of time now. 0.95. How stupid would you feel if you gave up now after all that? 0.96. 0.97. You’ve won. You’re the man you needed to become. 0.98. It’s not about the goal. This is nothing. 0.99. This doesn’t matter. Come on, dammit. Change. 1.00. It’s over.
There are a lot of good reasons to get good at running a fast mile:
Most importantly, it’s the standard for measuring cardiovascular health for a reason, a perfect middle ground between distance and sprinting. People who run a fast mile are in good shape, people who don’t are not. This keeps you honest about how well your triathlon training is translating into real health gains, and will give you confidence that you haven’t turned into a slow-moving pile with age and maltraining.
Following from it being a recognized standard, it means you can brag about hitting this goal to friends, family, and people online.
Running a fast mile will give you confidence to start really working on bringing your 5k time down below 18 minutes. Remember that goal? That’s where all of this nonsense started, and when you finally complete that goal it will mean you’ve come full-circle and mastered the skill of setting goals between 2019 and that moment. Running a fast mile is the first step toward hitting that 5k goal.
It’ll reinforce your confidence to continue hitting other fitness goals. Lifting, triathlon. Goals in other areas too. School, business, programming, finances, even marriage. You’re unstoppable. You’re invincible. Anything that can be done, you can do. All it takes is the dedication that comes from a clear vision and a bit of time.
This last step is the catalyst in the process. Release the situation completely. Let it go just as you would if someone you trusted said that he would take care of it and that you need not ever think about it again.
Being honest for a moment, this goal is not important. God loves you regardless. Imagine being before his throne and telling him this was how you spent your life. Think about how petty and insignificant your achievements feel in that context. If you got hit by a car tomorrow and this oh-so-important goal didn’t get done, it wouldn’t matter. A hundred years from now, nobody would miss it. The people who care about you most would miss you, but it would have nothing to do with this. It’s not about the goal, it’s about becoming the sort of man who accomplishes things like that. If you don’t make it, it’ll just have been training for the next thing, a stepping stone to becoming that man. Just write down what you learned, what you’ll do differently about it in the future, the silver linings, and then move on to that next goal. Don’t worry about it because it doesn’t actually matter.