Mile 4- “AT THE BELL!”-Effort Vs. Pace;The wisdom of TheRocketMan🚀

“I don’t understand!”, I argue, “For example, if I run a mile all out in 8 minutes and then need a mile at 12 minutes to recover, that puts me at the 2 mile mark in 20 minutes. However, if I pace myself around 9 minutes per mile, I cross the 2 mile mark in 18 minutes. TWO minutes is a big difference overall.”

And so begins the mental (& subsequently physical) training of Joe “The Rocket Man” Guilyard.(The excerpts that follow are the best of the best clips of conversations I have had with my mentor and coach over the course of the past month.)

  • “Yes, but this play it safe approach does not yield progress. It does not push you to your limits and allow your strength to grow. You will not always NEED a long recovery period. You will see that, as you get stronger, you will recover quicker and be able to increase the pace and decrease the recovery period, thus yielding a higher threshold for the faster, stronger, longer running periods.”
  • “I don’t think pace holding is realistic or productive when we are running lots of miles with the idea of running tired because the pace cannot be held from day to day and focusing on pace only serves to promote failure and convince ourselves that we can’t do it.     Effort, on the other hand is a different issue.    I think we should always do our best, our comfortable best. That is to say that we make effort in line with our capabilities. We run as well as sensibly possible, listening to our bodies. Some days I run a 7.45 pace over 10 plus miles at Parker Dam, other days I run a 9.45 pace over 10 miles at parker dam…both runs with equal effort but listening to my body and running as slow or as fast as I comfortably can in a run. So the short answer is, listen to your body, run as fast or as slow as you comfortably can. If there is a possibility of injury, stop. Break up the miles up if necessary..that is acceptable…I would rather have three 2 mile runs with strong effort than a 6 mile run with walking periods. We do not ever walk our miles.”
  • “Here is the thing, we will run 5k pace at certain points in the marathon…on favorable terrain …therefore, we must train our bodies and minds to recover while we keep moving…that is the purpose of this training.”
  • “Remember how Rousey got knocked out? It was because she had not sparred and been hit hard in training. She did not know how to respond. She had not trained her body or mind to respond…it was a fatal mistake. We will not make that mistake.”
  • “Really this effort based training is very simple; try as hard as you can your whole session…after awhile your recovery when moving period will become shorter…Did my best…got better…SIMPLE.”
  • “If we said we will run all miles at an 8:45 pace that would be self defeating. We could not do it day after day…cumulatively tired. We would simply convince ourselves that we could not do it, and we would fail. I am sure of this. It’s like if we looked at a calorie burn chart and saw 1 mile only burns 100 calories..with 20 lbs to lose we would feel hopeless. But if we did our very best everyday, pounds would come off. Same thing with running; if we do the miles, with our very best effort everyday results will follow. If we do not do the miles with effort we will be exposed. When I was training for a boys club tournament in 1972…(yes, that long ago)…my father thought I skipped my roadwork (3 miles). I had not skipped it. I protested that I had run. He did not believe me. He told me “We will know if you did your roadwork when you are under the lights.” He was right about that and I never forgot it. There really is no magic to running. Just run a lot. Mix in speed. Train our minds to be optimistic and keep our eyes on the prize and our bodies driving towards it. We are trying to convince someone very important that we can win…that person we need to convince is US!”   
  • “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”
  • “When I had my rematch in Akron, the year after I missed my BQ there by 1 second, the race director announced that he would start the race with a bell (a boxing round bell that they still use to this day) and I thought, “How appropriate!”  I crushed the race with a 3:17 that day, qualifying for Boston, and winning my age group along the way.”
  • “Really, I want you to know that we disappoint ourselves in the ultimate way when our training is found wanting and it is on display.  I remember that feeling of defeat all of the time; it’s what makes me workout even when I am very tired. The fear of failure is a great motivator. It is very well that we do what we can, when we can…it is never enough, but we weave success, or failure, together one day at a time.”
  • “When you line up for the marathon you will think of those miles, written by your own hand on your Muhammad Ali calendar, earned of your own strength and sweat, and know that you paid the price for the victory you are about to earn. Those miles are money in the bank to be spent on victory and it is awesome and important that you see them daily. No workouts are perfect. We are not perfect. But if we consciously try to do our best every time we train, we will convince ourselves, and we will know that we have earned and deserve our victory.”
  • “At the bell, two of the most determined their sport has ever known, will begin to settle who does deserve the title Boston Qualified!”
🔔 “AT THE BELL!” 🔔
My mentor, Joe (“TheRocketman”) Guilyard, with his trusty workout partner, SLAM-MAN! 🥊*Photo credit to Joe’s amazing wife “Super-Beverly”.

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