With Mission StrongFast moving towards the end of the fourth week of progress tracking, I'm continuing to enjoy my new plan. I love feeling like I'm edging towards my goal, as well as trying to figure out why some days that progression is more or less than others.
I have had a number of successes, pushing my longest segment at 3:45 min/km to 1610 m, my fewest segments in a 5 k to 9 and my shortest elapsed time to 27 min and 38 secs.
I have also had a number of struggles, with two failed attempts at longest segment (including this week's first attempt to complete 1800 m at 3:45 min/km) and two failed attempts at fewest segments along the way.
Though I most definitely prefer the wins, the failures help to highlight what I need to work on in order to become elite, and the different factors that can affect my performance.
As discussed in a previous blog, my largest challenge in continuing to improve is learning to embrace the struggle and push to the point of failure, learning to keep going when it feels tougher than tough. This weakness is highlighted by the difference I feel when completing 5 k at 3:45 min/km in the shortest elapsed time possible versus 5 k in the fewest segments and in the longest segment at 3:45 min/km.
During the elapsed workout, I'm pushing my fitness level by decreasing my rest time. Just as my heart rate rockets and my legs burn, I'm able to stop and rest for 30-50 sec before going again. I feel comfortable with the type of discomfort that this creates. During the longer segment workouts, the goal is to continue as my legs are burning and my heart rate is soaring. On a couple of occasions, in the moment of the workout, I have felt that this is it, I've pushed myself to my limit. That is partially true. I reached the limit that my mind created for myself. It is not my actual physical limit. My tank is not empty. For each future workout, I must remember this and convince mind and body to keep going as the discomfort mounts.
Another factor that I have become aware of is the potential danger in attributing weaker performances to different factors. My mind is a powerful thing and by stating that I believe an association between a variable and a performance may exist, I may in fact create that association during future workouts. By stating early on in week 1 that I was both tired and intimidated by the longest segment workout, I raised the height of the mental barrier during that workout.
A theme seems to be appearing. When training an elite body, it is of equal importance to train an elite mind.