Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Threshold of Motivation

6 miles, 41:12, 6:52 pace (not including a 5 minute rest after mile 3)

I’m in a good mood today. I’m not sure if it is because:
A) the early morning run released some endorphins
B) I’m off tomorrow (9/80)
C) the weather turned colder and it finally feels like fall.
D) the Fightin’ Tigahs of LSU are the kings of the gridiron according to all major polls
E) some combination of the above.

The truth is that I’ve been struggling with my motivation to train over the past few weeks, and I was really nervous about this run because threshold runs are mentally and physically tough for me. As I might have previously mentioned, threshold runs are performed at the edge of your ability to run long distances. If you run any faster and you’re running an “interval” pace then you will tire out too quickly to reap benefits. If you run any slower, you fail to gain the physiological benefit of raising your lactate threshold which allows you to increase the distance/speed of your run before your body overloads on lactic acid and requires you to slow down. In that one run-on sentence I told you everything I know about the science.

So today’s workout target was three miles at a 6:51-7:01 pace, 5 minutes rest, and another three miles at a 6:51-7:01 pace. I thought I’d struggle to complete this workout -- and I did -- but I still turned in a solid performance with a first rep pace of 6:52 and a second half pace of 6:51. I ran 76% of the first rep in heart rate zone 4 (with the balance in zone 3), and 81% of the second rep in zone 4, with the balance in zone 5.

I’ve been struggling with motivation because of a perceived plateau in performance, and a growing, ever-present feeling of fatigue. I’ve been piling on the miles, but sleeping less and not eating or hydrating as well. So it makes sense that it’s been harder to do the same work. But perhaps the real reason why I’m in such a good mood today is because today’s run pushed through that self-imposed ceiling. I ran faster (over the distance) than I’ve been able to achieve before, and I think/hope that my motivation problems are in the past.

1 comment:

Kevin said...

Nuthin' hang in there. You are doing awsome. My fat ass certainly could not keep up with you right now.
Suggestion for hydration: get a 1 liter Nalgene bottle and fill it with water in the morning. Work hard to drink it before lunch, even if you have to chug it right before lunch. Then fill it up after lunch and drink it all before you leave work. Finally fill it a third time when you get home and work to drink it before you go to bed. Yes you will pee a bunch but that is a good thing. Any way, keep up the good work.