Put Your Pre-Race Jitters Into Your Mobility Work

It’s taper time and for a lot of people it’s the most emotionally wrought part of the training cycle.

What if we didn’t do enough, we ask ourselves, maybe we should put in one last hard effort?

One this can set you up for injury but more likely you’re just nurturing fatigue to make sure you have it on race day.

I read a thing last night that said you lose about 10% of your fitness during the taper and yes that’s unnerving, but you gain 20% in performance by not being fatigued.

You want to have a great race and up until now more training was the answer. At 6 weeks out you can go nuts with hard training, fasted work outs, multiple sessions a day, and you feel like you’re putting huge deposits in the fitness bank and it feels great, you feel in control.

Now that it’s time to back off, two weeks from the race, it feels like giving up control. Because it is, because you have to. You can’t control the race and you know it. You tell yourself you can when it’s a far away abstract but up close and personal you know the truth. You are a very small and race day is very big.

Naturally to try and get back to that feeling of control you want to go back to the behaviour that induced it – in this case hard training.

But don’t give in to that urge.

Instead refocus it on mobility work. Take all the free time you have now that you’re not hard-training and finally get in all the foam rolling and yoga and shit you never get around to.

Exercise like a grandma, weird looking corrective exercises with tiny weights and lots of movement with toe taps. Hit the elliptical.

Use that meditation app, go get a massage, do a sauna. Do all the self-care stuff that’s great for running and fills up time so you’re not just sitting there fearful.

If you have running buddies then joke about how nervous you are. If you have a blog then write a post detailing all the things you could do to take your mind off feeling unprepared and frame it as advice for others.

And sometimes – sometimes – give in to the urge to blow off steam with pizza and beer. Don’t try to stay so sane you go crazy.

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Videos I Liked This Week

Training Nutrition vs racing nutrition. Because you should most often train hungry and thirsty to build resilience. Then race well fed and hydrated. If you always train well fed, on nice days or in air conditioned room, and always stop when you feel like it you’re not really developing.

 

The Dottir video makes me proud to be Icelandic and proud to be a woman. Neither of which I am.

 

This made me look at the wear on my shoes, looking good.

 

I’m preoccupied with Caster Semenya as any regular reader would know and I think this guy gets it right

 

And finally a sex worker talks about loneliness. I teared up.

It’s true that men use sex as validation and often as a last resort for seeking validation causing a lot of problems.

 

The Importance Of Running Like A Complete Pussy

I am finally unlocking the Easy Run. The Ultimate Challenge of so many runners.

Ben Parkes was talking about it recently on his youtube that learning to actually do easy running and recovery running was the final step that unlocked getting to sub 3 hour marathons.

For me it’s about Connective Tissue. I read recently that connective tissue, meaning joints, tendons, cartilage, and whatnot, is the last thing to adapt. First is neuro-muscular (i.e, the mind-muscle connection), then the muscles themselves, then finally after 4 months your bones catch up after drilling tiny holes in themselves.

The body is weird.

This is why people end up injured. Their muscles have adapted so they’re stronger and faster so they go for bigger loads and stress out the still adapting connective tissue.

This is where getting a lot of light miles on your legs comes in. If you ran hard intervals or long runs in your comfortable-hard-fun-running-push-yourself-pace like I do you’d never get enough miles to adapt your legs fully.

Sure, we’re in the adaption zone for our muscles and our cardiovascular system but we’re leaving a precious third thing behind in our connective tissue.

So I’m successfully running at 10kph or below for some time everyday. And yes, I have to positive self-talk that no one thinks I’m a pussy. The struggle is running and NOT feeling like you’re getting any benefit, just leisurely moving.

It feels so good to lean into it and get that sprinter posture like you’re a fucking machine and just go. Yesterday I did 5k at 15kph. And even when it felt bad it felt good. I never believed I was going to make it without slowing done. It was a dog fight. I was dripping sweat and in my usual state of being so flushed in the face it unnerves people. I felt elevated the whole rest of the day.

Now two days of tapping along like a noob, being sure I could speak a whole sentence and/or take ten nasal breaths. Trusting that the work is getting done.

Great Video By Robert Lustig

Lustig wrote my favourite book The Hacking Of The American Mind, which is about the biological systems in us that are being exploited to sell us shit and leave us miserable.

This video is exclusively about food. He explains why a calorie is not a calorie, that yes sugar is uniquely bad for you, that obesity is a symptom not a cause of chronic disease and that 40% of people with metabolic disease are at a healthy weight, and that, shockingly, corporations and the government are more concerned about money than your health.

If you’re in the mood for a long watch here you go:

Just More Thoughts On Caster Semenya

I’m crossing over into being part of the problem. Not everyone cares about this situation and certainly fewer people are informed but when it seems to be everywhere more and more people get drawn into believing they’re informed and taking a side.

But I cannot stop thinking about this and neither can a lot of people and it seems to me that I’ve wound up on a side and some people I like and respect feel different and wound up on the other.

So here’s the article that convinced me. A Victory For Female Athletes Everywhere I agree that Caster’s biological advantage takes away the reason we have a female designation in sport. If we don’t set aside a space for women in sport then men would dominate everything and this is actually an insidious case of that happening.

I see it as a case of The Needs Of The Many, yes it feels unfair to Caster and it’s natural people want to protect her, but it’s also unfair to every other woman running at the elite level and it’s the organizations job to protect the space those women inhabit.

If Caster isn’t allowed to compete and it fucks up the trajectory of her life that’s tremendously sad but she does have options. If she is allowed to compete it fucks up the trajectory of an uncountable amount of women’s lives, women who have no recourse.

I want to snip out a few quotes from an article in The Cut:

Semenya has elevated the bar of speed toward which all women runners can gaze, and hope to one day beat.

The problem is that all women can’t hope to beat it, not even elite women can hope to beat it. Because:

most females have about 0.12–1.79nmol/L of testosterone in their bodies versus males, who have 7.7–29.4nmol/L. Caster falls within the latter range.

and apparently there are some people who believe:

No conclusive evidence exists to suggest that testosterone correlates to enhanced performance.

Which is insane. The conclusive evidence is that we ban taking exogenous testosterone in sport. Shout out again to my review of The Virility Paradox, testosterone will make anyone better at almost anything. Bankers, investors, lawyers, soldiers, and oh yeah athletes of either gender show that more testosterone leads to more success.

My mind is zooming out to an uncomfortable place but it seems that some people are arguing at once that gender oppression is a problem and that gender doesn’t exist.

I guess what the line of thinking in the Semenya situation is, for my friends, we should protect anyone who identifies as female from anyone who doesn’t. And for me it’s how to do we protect those who identify as female from someone else who identifies as female?

What does it mean to identify as female if female doesn’t refer to anything? If it doesn’t mean testosterone levels or reproductive capabilities? Is it, at this point, just to belong to what you see as the out-group of a patriarchal society?

Videos I Liked This Week

I’m going throw this one in first because it’s just a quick little thing that bothers me. Haley is clearly unconscious and possibly in medical danger and there’s no reason for the announcers to weirdly deny that and try to convince the watching audience that this is situation normal. Part of me is worried for her and part of me is like, hardcore girl.

 

I’ve been into the research on long runs and health for a few weeks now, as a watcher of this post would know, and I like that Run Experience got into it. Especially the helpful bit that your long run should be 10% of your weekly mileage, not just one big blow out. Which I’m guilty of, because you gotta be hardcore.

 

Keeping the running going I watched a garbage bag worth of Ben Parkes videos this week. I picked this one ’cause I think it’s the one where he pukes in the bushes. Gotta be hardcore.

 

A video supporting my previous suggestion that everyone should take creatine and helpfully solving the 2g or 5g problem I’ve been having.

 

And finally, this family is selling their house…

Running update: last big day before tapering

3 hour long intervals, plus some fueling insights

I ran a lot slower than my last 30k day. Partly just gun shy from how bad I hit the wall that day but also because I know I’ve got to save some power for the long race.

I still race like I spend. Have a hundred, spend a hundred.

It’s why my legs hurt and I’m broke.

But also I set the treadmill to periodic hills and the motherfucker went beast mode on me.

I like my incline around .5 to 2 and this was all 6s and 7s.

(That’s a great British slang pun for the majority of you who wouldn’t have gotten that.)

But today’s surprise was that while my cardio was fine what feels like my tendons were aching.

Because we went a week without groceries my protein was low this week and I actually felt great about this morning. I’m so lean and easy. I ate mostly donuts yesterday and had pancakes for dinner and I woke with the most tapered, unbloated, waistline I’ve had in months. Since I was a slow carber with the zeal of the converted.

But I’m sure I could use some amino acids and collegen now.

I ended up walking in the last half of the last interval, and I checked my heart rate because my level of exertion felt fine and sure enough it was just pain in my feet, ankles, shins, and knees that was making me want to walk.

To take my mind off it I texted my ex and mocked her a little for being single. Because… like the shirt says, you gotta run happy.