or just learning and figuring things out. I've been training for the 400 meters for about 13 weeks now and I'm feeling my way through it. My most recent background is in endurance sports and I learned the hard way to err on the side of caution with injury and excess fatigue. With injury you usually have immediate feedback or warning of an impending breakdown. A tight achilles or hamstring. Pain in your IT band. But with fatigue it's fairly subtle and also a moving target that varies day to day and unlike injury it is a very necessary aspect of super compensation so you're actually trying to achieve a state of fatigue. Finding the balance point of just enough vs too much can be tricky and is learned through trial and then error. You have to find your breaking point in order to truly know where it is and with endurance training I not only found it but I leapt over the line. Now I am having to find it again but in an arena of intensity not endurance and it's a whole nother animal. And a side note- I don't feel that "trial and error" in this instance is appropriate. It's NOT an error to find your breaking point, in fact it's maybe the best education you can get. Once you step over that line you are immediately a better athlete and more able to avoid it in the future. If there's an error it's because of either an injury or you ignored the fact that you're over it for too long a time. Don't do either of those. Just step over, touch your toe to other side for a second, then step back. You do that enough you'll find that line keeps getting farther and farther away.
Running at maximum speed is a violent thing. Nearly every aspect of physical stress is greater and I think the fuse on an impending explosion is far shorter. When you're running easy a tight IT band might mean you can just cut back on normal training volume for a few days and if it happens during a run you most likely can make it home. If it happens while doing 100's on a track though, it might mean you have to take a week or two off. I'm not injured but as it's been for the past 13 weeks I have niggles that make me feel like I'm always on the edge of an injury. This morning it's my ankle, right shin, and (still) left hamstring. When I warm up effectively though they all loosen or resolve for the session so I'm going with it. Trial and then error? We'll see.
I've always felt that on a certain level injury risk is part of the nature of the beast. If you push your body to it's breaking point you risk injury. And in order to truly maximize your potential you must push to the breaking point. Fatigue though is not so well defined. You can train through fatigue, and should, but you have to know when to alter a session or training cycle in order to prevent a collapse that requires a major sacrifice to a season in order to correct. The aforementioned epiphany I'm having now is that I need to train harder. The niggles aside I think I'm being too delicate or I'm avoiding risk. I'm trying too hard to come into each quality session as rested as possible in order to hit my goal times. But I'm exceeding my goal times on nearly every run so I think I need to increase overall fatigue and expect to hit the appropriate goal speeds with more effort. So I'm trying it.
Tuesday was a fairly solid effort with 150's. Then I lifted yesterday, not hard but more what's called maintenance. The only thing I loaded was hex bar deadlifts, everything else had reduced loads. Coming the day after a track session though I felt the lift this morning in the form of fatigue. Then today I ran what I feel is the toughest track workout I've experienced. Not only just today was it brutal but also the structure and type of session makes it truly diabolical. I threw up after my last interval, or dry heaved to be more accurate. there was nothing in my stomach to actually come up.
The workout: 3 X (300m/ rest 1:00/ 100m) rest 5:00 between sets.
I was aiming for 44" on the 300 (which is about 59" 400 speed) and then the 100's I wanted to at least match the speed, which I just barely achieved.
300 / 100
If you're curious about what that 100 meters feels like I'd encourage you to try it. The discomfort is amazing. Two weeks ago Tuesday I ran 2 X 350m in 51" and 53"... today I was faster in a much harder workout with more cumulative fatigue. Five weeks ago I ran 2 X 300 in 47", again much faster today. So I'm seeing progress which has to be the foundational goal in any of this. Which begs the question why push harder if I'm making progress? Its equal parts a need to do my best and also to find my limits in a new discipline.