Saturday, May 31, 2014

Steps to Success: Fatigue is a Choice

For the past couple of weeks, I have been trying to figure out what steps I have to take to be success in my tri-adventures this year. This is particularly important because I'm going to be challenged with doing my first 70.3 in many years.

I've always struggled with the training for a 70.3. Of course, I also did them without the help of a coach. That makes a difference. A coach will ask the questions or comment on things that I've never been aware of....I get so wrapped up in training (being tired or having good/bad days) that I can't always see the forest for the trees.

My biggest battle is the mental part of the run; primarily, the second half of a run.

My favorite workout is 5 X bike/run brick. This workout takes from about 2:10-2:30. The bike portions increase in intensity with each interval. The runs also increase in speed or increase in length of time running at a particular pace (for me that's 10k pacing or 5k pacing).

In other words, this is a very hard workout.

Last Wednesday, I was doing the workout. On the second run, I lost focus. I started thinking that I still have 3 more intervals....and this is so hard...and my legs are getting tired....this pace is ridiculous. I didn't hit my interval pace. I missed it by :05 per mile.

I was upset by this. I got on the bike for interval #3. I'm pretty mad at myself. I finish the interval, and I head out to run.

My legs are more tired this time around. I start running, and I think "there is NO WAY this is harder than racing. NO WAY."

At that point, I made the decision that I was going to hit the pace no matter what I had to do.

I finished that interval running faster than the previous interval. It felt easier than the 2nd interval.

The only thing I did differently was change my perspective. All I did was focus on THAT interval. I didn't think about the next interval. I didn't think about how much my legs hurt. I just focused on running as hard as I could.

The 4th interval.....I ran even faster....and I was more tired, but I ran faster.

I finished the workout, and I felt so great....not physically....I was tired, no I was wiped out. Mentally, I was so happy. I got back and uploaded my workout with my notes.

Of course, I get a message back from my coach. All it says, "Why did you lose focus?"

So, I told her about losing focus because I was "worried" about the next intervals....blah blah blah.

She wrote back, "It's pretty great when you realize that fatigue is a choice, isn't it?"

Fatigue is a choice.

Those words hit me. I thought back to the workouts that I'd recently had. I was tired but I made the choice to keep running hard.

There have been few things ever said to me that has ever pointed out my biggest weakness, like those three little words.

Today, I ran off the bike 8 minute intervals: 4 minutes at 10k pace and 4 minutes at 5k pace.

Mentally, I broke the workout into 4 minute warm ups then 4 minutes run hard. Come on it's only 4 minutes of hard running.

It was hot. I just road 75 minutes on the bike.

The first interval blew by.

The second interval was harder, and I said, "Fatigue is a choice. It's only 4 min at 5k pace"

The third interval I was fully into focusing only on the interval at hand and running as hard as I needed to maintain my 5k pace.

The 4th interval....and I was absolutely consistent. When I *should* have felt tired.....when in the past, I would have said, "It's normal to drop off a little bit at this point." I DIDN'T.

Fatigue is a choice.

I always have more to give.