Friday, April 20, 2012

Yes or No?

Each runner is unique. You can only get so far as a runner by following cookie-cutting training plans. To become the best runner you can be you must master the mind-body connection and learn what works best for you. RUN shows you how to do that through the examples of mind-body running masters such as Joan Benoit and Haile Gebrselassie, as well as fascinating new research on the role of the brain in exercise. From Run, The Mind-Body method of RUNNING BY FEEL, by Matt Fitzgerald.

Mr Fitzgerald, whom I have often quoted here, is going to be quoted once more. This is a juicy one. Dealing with fatigue (again). Are you tired of this topic yet? No? Good, because it is absolutely critical that we come to grips with what it entails. Which, of course, for the long-course triathlete, marathoner or century rider, is everything. We all know fatigue. As mentioned yesterday, we visit it often. I actually have a frequent fatiguer program available at nominal cost. Works like this: You come in, I add fatigue, you go home. Repeat three times per week (in most cases) and at the end of the FFP block, usually 6-9 months, you are rewarded with membership into the endurance club. Meaning, natch, that you can no go longer, harder, faster as a result of your choice.

Choice, what choice?

You mean, to do or not to do? To face fatigue or quit and go to the bakery? To grow and adapt or slowly lose what we thought we once had? Simply say yes or no?

Exactly. And here is Matt's juicy quote on the subject, just so you know this is his extrapolation and not original thought on my part:

"Fatigue is essentially a choice."

Please allow me to repeat that with a larger font.

"Fatigue is essentially a choice."

That is so large. XXL. Fatigue is a choice. You can choose to understand and embrace (and then endure and sustain) or you can deny, succumb, misunderstand or plead ignorant (and subsequently slow down, quit or seek validation elsewhere.)

He further suggests, and here we start to merge thoughts, that once this premise is accepted, practice soon ensues in order to perfect. We can actually get better, masters even, at the art of fatigue. We practice the push past part. Dealing with the physical manifestations, we know as pain, suffering, intensity and physical discomfort. Because we realize, through this training, that this is the only way to acquire the return on our training investment.

In other words, if you want to run long and slow forever, please continue your practice. If, however, you want to go faster, go longer, achieve your race goals, burn more fat, and actually feel some race day glory (which means more than a medal and a cheap T), we must meditate on Matt's mantra long and deep.

The next time you hear ol man Fatigue knocking on your door, practice some tough love, and DO NOT LET HIM IN. That is your choice. IT IS YOUR CHOICE. Yes or No?

Lastly, my friends, a little goes a long way at this intensity level. If you can hold him off (ol man Fatigue) for just a little while longer, ten seconds at 500 watts, one minute at race pace, or five miles at marathon pace, it is tough love well spent.

Try it and see. Yes or No?

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