I’ll get right down to it here; there are two training necessities to run, bike, or swim. OK allright, this is an oversimplification…. but you can go long and slow(er), or short and fast(er) and another thing I’ll mention later.
Now I know you guys are way over-the-top achievers who stand far above the rest of the crowd as far as pushing yourselves but there’s one thing that always seems to get moved off to the side. Ya’ll figger that ‘suffering is going to payoff, no matter what’, right? You’re partially right, it WILL make you tougher. Now faster…..that could be a different thing.
The longer and slower type prepares you for being able to hang in there for the duration of the race. You’ll be able to finish, and for the first time or two, that’s usually all you might want from your work. “Yay, I managed to FINISH” and you’ll feel like a million bucks.
Then you want to get faster, thinking that running for a longer time, swimming for a longer time, or whatever, will do the trick, and it does help some, but not enough, really. So my friend said to me, back in the day, “Try a coach, it improved my race incredibly, and as long as I do what they say, I win.”
Well ditto, once I did that, and making podium or (in a huge field) getting a lot closer to the top worked. It took a while, but the training assignments worked. What made the difference? Well, there were a couple of things…..there was the longslow, shortfast thing, which we’ve already talked about) and yet another concept unknown to me at the time.
Number one, I had done training on my own in “no man’s land”, between HR zones 2-3. It made me tougher and it was hard to go a fairly long time (yeah, suffering! whoopee!) in Z3 but didn’t really improve my speed. So coach assignments would, about every third workout, push me into Z4, or more, where I wouldn’t go myself: creatin phosphate intervals, cruise intervals, capacity, anerobic, etc, etc. It was a psychological thing, once someone made me do it, then I did it! If I self trained, there was no whip cracker except me, and for some reason, I’d sort of sneak around the tougher things. Sometimes it’s just harder to self evaluate; I needed the scrutiny of another pair of eyeballs……I guess it’s just human nature.
Number two, coaches know when to ‘peak’ me, and when to allow a trough. It’s hard to do that for myself. As a coach I can assign someone else all the above and analyze the data and feedback; but for myself……fuggedaboudit! In fact, I regarded a somewhat less intense ‘recovery’ week or few days as a wasted opportunity to train harder. Back then I didn’t really believe that muscle recovery is necessary, in fact I thought it would leave me less prepared. So wrong
So, you need those really uncomfortable, kind of odd, assignments and recovery times to get faster. Doing those things will get results after a bit.