I am now in the critical period of IM prep where one must listen intently to the signals that the body is producing. Ignore them and you can miss the opportunity to sharpen your fitness for the big day. Refuse to listen intently and you can be hobbling to the starting line versus feeling like a rock star.
As I pursue a Kona slot at IML in August with less then 10 hrs of training per week my 'ears' are well tuned for the pain signals.
Rewind to two weeks ago and I opted to tap out of the 18 mile run I had on my calendar. At 6 miles in I began to feel twinges that were new and that did not dissipate. This run ended 3.5 miles later. I have come to find that everytime I cut workouts short I come back MUCH stronger.
This bring us to today. I opted to come back and hit this critical 18 miler and see if rest would be the best medicine. I am a big believer in creating race conditions while training. If I can create a run route (for example) that mimics IML I will. Armed with 48 oz of PowerBar PERFORM I took off to my 1 mile loop and execute 18 laps. Each lap consisted of a swig of PERFORM and pacing that mirrored tempo pace +20 seconds. Rest was the optimal medicine and allowed for a 6:45 average pacing.
Back to good pain/bad pain. Today produced a heavy dosage of 'good pain'. The kind of pain that you have to deal with that will not dleave you alone. You have the option to throw the towel in or work through it. Slight deviation here, but relevant. Take the ear phones out and stop training with music/distractions. Deal with the pain and listen to your body. Moreover, listen to heart beating in your ears. I encourage you to have to deal with the uncomfortable and not rely on externals to get you through.
Okay, back to point. Today was one of those days where the legs became heavy and the legs wanted to stop. There was no knee pain (IMF 2010) that required medical attention/surgery. There was no progressively worsening pain that said, "...Yo Lance shut er' down!...".
I love these kind of workouts because I know they will prepare the mind for battle. If I were to tap out when the body is able I would not be able to fight the good fight and get to the tape.
Listen up friends and learn to decipher between the bad and good pain signals. I promise this 'skill' will allow you to race harder and faster and spend more time training.
Train hard and smart,