Wednesday, April 25, 2012


You have heard this before. This message will be repeated again (and again) until it becomes catechismical. So lets take it from the top:

Every time we do this, the 'this' being training, we get a step closer. One little baby step closer to where we want to be. Your goal. Your aspiration, your dream. 

It is crucial that we continually reaffirm our motivation. Look at our goals, make an assessment and trim the sails to correct for the current wind speed and direction. Is what I am doing RIGHT NOW augmenting that goal?

In our training we talk a lot about fatigue. We sometimes see it as an enemy, something or some mysterious body that we must defeat to continue. We use metaphor and simile to create an artificial demon that we must slay to survive. We talk about pushing past pain, dealing with suffering and transcending. We talk about The Wall, the Bonk, the Death March and the Ironman shuffle. All negative by-products of accumulated fatigue. We know empirically how to introduce fatigue, but the ways and means to manage are vague. They vary by dialect and culture. One athlete's ceiling is another's floor. 

Run until you puke.
No pain, no gain.
Go hard, or go home.
Tough it out.

Our latest bit of redundancy has dealt with changing our definition of fatigue. As in, it's all in your head. That your brain actually has more to say about fatigue than your body. That your central nervous system is actually under the command of something called the central governor, a handy device tasked with keeping you from overworking yourself to the point of injury, or worse. Don't forget that the guy who ran the first "official" marathon immediately passed out and died after his 26.2 (although historians debate.)

Additionally, we have toyed with the suggestion that fatigue, essentially, is a choice. We can measure and manage, test and train, adapt and grow, train and race and still, at some point. come face to face with the reality that fatigue has caught us from behind. Ran up, patted us on the butt, and said, comically, "Whoa, twenty miles, nice, but now you're done so let's go have a beer." THAT my friends is the choice. You can quit. You can oblige and go share a cold one with your pal. Or you can find something hidden deep inside and courageously choose the hard way. The path you know contains ample amounts of pain and suffering. Hurt Road. 

How do we do this? What makes us strong enough to pick door number two? What is the opposite of fatigue?


Proving it in practice. Again and again. Over and over. Gaining, growing, getting. To the point that we are fearless of fatigue. We have skirmished. We have bled. We have pushed the limits. We have engaged. We have endured. 

Every time we do this we get a little closer. We gain a little more confidence. We know that when our buddy shows up offering the easy way out, we can politely (or not) say no, I will do this longer, faster, harder, smoother. I will achieve my goals. I will survive. 

The opposite of fatigue is confidence. 

Here are a couple of interesting, related articles:
How to deal with The Wall.
A desperate masochist wins a CompuTrainer (with some nice comments about Real Course Videos!!!)

Pic: 2007, Andy Potts wins his first 70.3 Championship in Clearwater, FL. Confidence helped. 

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