I've just completed Phase 1 Week 7 and I'm feeling a bit demotivated. I love the training, the intervals make it more interesting than training plans I've followed before. However, I don't see any improvement in my pace for HRZ2-3. I don't know what to expect and I'm trying to be patient and let my body respond to the training, but it's hard without seeing any change. What should I expect? Am I being impatient? 

Thanks

Kathy

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Hi Kathy - thanks for your post.  First off, expectations can be a killer, especially when you "do not know what to expect". So be careful not to place SO much into expectations.  I see this a lot, athletes looking for improvement, but they do not know what this looks like - this most of the time leads to disappointment and unmanaged expectations.  For example, you might be looking for a 1 min per mile improvement, when 10-20 seconds might be DRAMATIC for you.

Your drive and motivation should go into your goals/cool impossible.  So with this, you hit it on the head, be patient.  I am not sure of your background, but 6 weeks into this is not very long, and since you said you are loving the training and intervals - this is key.  As I mention in TCI, fall in love with the process.  

Keep in mind that "the program" is 20 weeks long and you are 7 weeks into it.

Lets focus on your cool impossible - do you care to share what it is?

Hi Eric, thanks for your response, I think you're exactly right. I don't know what to expect. I honestly don't have a "number" in mind, but some improvement would be good! I always want to run a bit further and a bit faster than last time so patience doesn't come naturally to me.

I do love the training. I like the whole philosophy of it. That it's tailored to me because it's based around my fitness. Plus the whole minimalist side of it really appeals. I'm learning what the runs aim to achieve and that motivates me too.

My cool impossible? I completed the London Marathon in 2011 (at age 40) with an injured achilles (poor training plan) and having not run for 5 weeks prior to the race. It was a real mental challenge and I took just over 6 hours. I have a place for 2015 and I want to run it in under 4 hours, injury free, run all the way and really enjoy it. That's what's motivating me.

Really awesome post and cool impossible. You hit on a very pertinent topic in training and racing..."expectations". I am no expert here, but can sure empathize. Good to hear your voice!
Kathy don't forget your actual time is but 1 part of the picture & I know I still get hung up on it too. There's form, HR, terrain, weather conditions, run distance, training zone & mind set to name a few. All of these impact how we run, how we perceive we run & our actual time.
It's like intersecting circles, there are goals within goals, within goals. A HRZ 2 run where you stay in the correct zone your entire run is an amazing accomplishment, yet you may feel you did not train & beat up on yourself. The same goes for completing a run with perfect form (never done it myself), or great cadence, or strict form or a single element of form that you completely focus on. Be patient, be strict and it will come. Remember AWARENESS = ATHLETICISM.
Boy, can I relate to Robert's post !!!
I understand exactly what you mean about HRZ2 runs where I feel like I didn't train hard enough. But slowly, I'm starting to realize how much energy it takes to focus really intensely on running form for long miles. Now I can end a HRZ2 run really tired !!!

My Cool Impossible is to complete a marathon in under 4 hours so time/pace is always in the back of my mind. I'm supposedly building my mitochondria but I can't tell.

I was a little naughty last night and allowed myself to run at what felt comfortable for my easy run which was 10bpm faster than I should have been doing. Now I've got it out of my system, I'll be back to the plan. 

I know phase 1 is to build endurance and strength. It's just hard to keep believing. 

It helps me to think in terms of building a foundation. It's not pretty, it isn't always fun, but it is essential to being able to handle the load that will be placed on it down the road. A weak foundation will fail. Building a strong foundation now will be the key to doing cool stuff in the future.

Related to this, I tend to be impatient as well and wasn't immediately faithful with the strength and conditioning exercises and even the plan itself. So now, for the first time I am about to finish phase 1. I'm in the middle of week 11 and am enjoying the trajectory. It's getting really fun. So, hang in there!

Thanks Timothy. I need to try harder with the slant board and fitball. It's a proper lifestyle change doing the amount of regular running that the plan demands. Especially the long runs. So now I've got the running sorted, I need to focus on the strength and conditioning. One step at a time!

Feel The Force Kathy, Feeeeel The Kathy :-)

I did not see much "improvement" in terms of the numbers until phase 2 when I went through the program the first time last year. I did, however, notice that my legs and feet felt stronger and tougher than they had before in addition to feeling smoother during my runs. The improvements translated to the numbers in phase 2 and ultimately in a HM PR of almost 5 minutes. I am in week 4 of my second go through of the TCI program, and I notice even more improvement already. I am significantly faster, fitter, and more efficient than I was this time last year. As mentioned in the other posts here, this is really a process. You are building a foundation right now. If you stick to it and look at improvements in places other than the numbers, you will see progress. Once the foundation is laid, you will begin to see progress everywhere.

Thanks Patrick, I was really hoping someone would say "I've done the training and this is how it worked for me" type thing. I know that everyone is different but it's an indicator. 

I've since had a look at the training plan and I can see that the first few weeks are "steady away" and the fitness and pace improvements come later. Plus after my little indulgent run I realised how much shorter the recovery is on the slower runs. There's no point in getting injured.

It might also help to re-read this part of the foundation chapter, that reinforces the importance of zone 2-3.

Building mitochondria is vital in long term develop and how zone 2 improves your speed throughout the entire spectrum.  And, like to mentioned, zone 2 allows you to be able to run more, without the need for recovery - which provides more efficiency and performance.

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