Friday, January 23, 2009

The observer effect and starting struggles

The observer effect in quantum physics refers to changes made merely through the act of observation. In less scientific terms, it's the act of putting attention to a problem that contributes to its solution. Since I wrote the post "Stages of my daily run" where I lamented the difficulties of getting through the first mile, I've had virtually none of the problems related to the starting minutes of my run.

I can't really assign a good reason for this except that I acknowledged the problem. I haven't changed my level of fitness much over the last few weeks. My improvement may be related to the integration of core workouts but that routine is too new and is done too infrequently to have made much of a difference at this point. Adventure Girl mentioned that her starting struggles went away when she reached 6-8 mile training distances. That may actually be a key reason for my improvement. I'm nowhere close to 6-8 miles in my regular training runs but my distances are 30% longer on average compared to a month ago. I've heard from another blogger that her starting struggles relate to her pace, presumably starting too fast to sustain that rate of speed. There's something to that as well, as I focus more on distance I'm backing off on speed and that definitely contributes to starting comfort.

While it's great to feel better about the start I still struggle with the finish. Last weekend was good for total miles but still a disappointment in terms of reaching individual distance goals. I need to start regularly exceeding 4 miles on my weekend runs so that I am properly conditioned for the April race. It looks like the weather will be dry and warm (30's) enough for track running this weekend. I cannot wait because as much as I love the treadmill there's no substitute for the road.

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