Update – 10,000 Vertical Meters Challenge

The mountains in Thailand have some excellent technical trails. This is the view from the top of Ngorn Nak mountain in Tub Kaek, Krabi province, in Southern Thailand.
The mountains in Thailand have some excellent technical trails. This is the view from the top of Ngorn Nak mountain in Tub Kaek, Krabi province, in Southern Thailand. CLICK to enlarge.

It’s Sunday August 24 here in Thailand, and this is an update to my goal I set at the beginning of the month.

The challenge to climb 10,000 vertical meters during a month of running up a mountain trail and some steps at a local Buddhist temple is going well. I didn’t think it would be a real significant challenge but I wasn’t sure because I haven’t given myself vertical elevation challenges before. Typically in a month I go 6,000 to 7,000 meters anyway, so I figured another 3-4,000 would be no big deal.

What I’ve found over this month is that it isn’t such a big deal to go 10,000. I think 15,000 is quite doable and I may make that a future goal. The big deal is reigning my mind in so I don’t go at race pace every time I get a chance to run or climb the steps.

So far this month I’ve climbed 7,200 vertical meters. Approximately 95% of those runs and climbs were at 95% of maximal effort. I didn’t even realize what I was doing until mid-way through the month. Apparently, without much thought, I’ve been treating each session as a race.

I’ve been going much too fast, and I’ve been lucky not to hurt myself during the efforts. Two days ago I did 39:30 minutes / seconds up and 38 down my 500 meter elevation mountain which is a 10K up and down. That’s fast. Then yesterday, instead of go slow like I imagined I might (should), I flew up because I felt great, and did it in 37 up and 39 down.

The problem is, I don’t know how to shut me off. I don’t know how to insist that I go slower if I feel good. It’s alright to train this way when there is no goal to accomplish, it’s actually great fun to fartlek my way around training and go hard when I feel like it, slower when I don’t. However, if I don’t hold myself back some over the next seven days, I might not make the 10,000 mark. I really need to start doing my runs and climbs at 60-70% effort before I blow something.

So, that’s what I’ve noticed during this challenge. What should be a relatively easy goal, could turn out to be more difficult than it should be because I didn’t put enough thought into it. I didn’t see the big picture so clearly before I got started. Even now that I see the big picture, that the goal is the most important task – I am having trouble slowing down and slogging it out.

Sometimes the goal isn’t that difficult, but we make it so. Sometimes we don’t think clearly enough about how to go about something before we dive in and are half-way through it. Ten thousand meters at 70% of maximum effort is not difficult. Ten thousand meters at 95% of maximum effort is!

Slow down and think about what you’re doing.

See the big picture!

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