Sunday, August 6, 2017
Knowing when to listen to Kenny Rogers
I slept well last night but didn't feel great jogging my initial 800 meters. My right shin was tingling, not a rare thing, which only added to the feeling that I wasn't in the mood to push today. I went through my normal warm-up routine never feeling good. 6 or 7 starts still struggling to get comfortable in the blocks. I no longer stumble as long as I don't launch out of them, which for a 400 I shouldn't need to, but I don't feel like they're making me faster. If I set them up "by the book" they are horribly awkward so I've set them up more by my own comfort level which mimics my non-block four point starting position which leads to me to think why not just stick with a four point start? Anyway.
Then I did 3 X 100 and although they did progress in speed I never felt good. I decided to try a 200 and see if I could spark something that would lead me into a workout, went through ~150 meters and stopped, and cleared, my watch. This is one of those instances where I feel it's best to not see the data. Had I continued on through and timed the 200 I would have ended up with a "cue" if you will that only adds a negative. I knew I felt like crap. I knew it was slow. So why put that split or result in my psyche? These workouts are designed and executed with only one goal in mind. To run fast. Of course they're also designed to provide a stimulus or stress but when you're incapable of doing the prescribed work then that's an indication that you are already stressed.
You can do two things when this happens. You can walk away or you can flub or flex the workout to get some form of work done. When I'm coaching an athlete (including myself) I take into account their goal race and distance, how far away is that race, the type of workout/ or goal of the workout, what made them tired and what is coming in the next 72 hours. So using myself as an example (play along at home if you like) here's the walk through in determining the right decision:
Goal race and distance: My goal is to run a fast 400 which requires doing hard, fast workouts only (at this point), not volume or easy runs.
How far away is that race: ~4 weeks. I don't have time to make a mistake and then correct it. Everything has to be spot on and the work I do must be quality. If I were say, 20 weeks out then this changes everything! I wouldn't be needing to run everything spot on and I could accumulate some fatigue. This is a basic concept in linear periodization.
The goal of the workout: I have two workouts to choose from. Speed and speed/endurance. I wasn't going to be able to accomplish either today. However, some (most) athletes will have more options than this like tempo, threshold, long... etc, which may mean they can shift or flex to one of those and still accomplish an effective and useful workout.
To add another thought to this. I do have a potentiation session that is more like active recovery or stimulation. Coincidentally, a failed workout will organically become a mild potentiation session. So it's not a total loss.
What made them tired: Not necessarily what but when. Was the workout yesterday or 5 days ago? If it was 5 days ago and you're still tired then something is happening that needs to be examined more deeply. If it was yesterday well then, duh. You need more recovery! In my case though I have a few factors in play. One is the workout I did (the Sanya) on Thursday followed by travel, inconsistent and abnormal diet, and poor sleep. I'm simply not recovered from Thursday which happened to be maybe one of the best sessions I've run this year. So, I have a few viable excuses which don't concern me much right now.
What is coming in the next 72 hours: For me I have a 5 hour drive tomorrow is all. I don't actually schedule workouts, rather I go to the track and get into my warm-up and then let the workout happen, or let my body and mind decide if it's going to happen. I coach my athletes in very much the same way. For most of them I don't write a weekly schedule. Instead we gradually get a basic week set up and get them into a rhythm, meaning we try to repeat a predictable set structure every week, IE: every Monday is a swim/ recovery bike. Every Wednesday is a swim/ hard bike... etc. Then I will write tomorrow's workout based on how they felt in today's workout. I also will very typically put in options in case they feel good or bad. Our bodies are far from a predictable thing so why try to predict how someone is going to feel 5 or 7 days from now!? You simply can't. Anyway, I'll rest tomorrow because I refuse to do a hard workout and then sit in a car for hours. That NEVER ends well for me as my psoas, hips and glutes get wrecked. So I'm hoping Tuesday I'll feel good. Patience is key at this point.
So today I ended the run.
Know when to fold 'em.
Know when to walk away.
And know when to run.
Coming up: Auto regulation to dial in your recovery and work loads.