Know when to hold them, know when to fold them…

Training Lessons From Kenny Rodgers

I have to say I have a bit of a soft spot for Kenny Rodgers “The Gambler” it’s a bit corny but reminds me of hearing it on the radio growing up.

Twice this last week in my training, I have had to fold them, both occasions on a run. One I wasn’t too bothered about the other was a little disconcerting.

Last Friday I was doing my second run of the week which includes two blocks at 10k tempo pace. This week the goal was 2 blocks of 10 minutes. All was going well until minute 9 of the second block when I could feel my form significantly deteriorate so I stopped.

I had done a hard squatting session the day before and my legs just had nothing left in them. I could have soldiered on for the final minute but the problem with this is it teaches bad habits. One of the things you are trying to work on with higher intensities is the ability to maintain solid technique under fatigue.

It doesn’t really matter what you are doing it is far better to stop if your form deteriorates than continue on and ingrain poor habits.

You are also much less efficient and as a result, you will fatigue even faster, your form deteriorate further and end up not achieving what you set out to. That is, have a positive effect on your fitness. You are also much more likely to injure yourself.

In the end, when I checked back on the numbers for the run I was happy the pace during both blocks and missing a minute won’t have any effect on my progress.

Paula Radcliffe circa Athens 2004

The second one was last night when I had to bale in alarming circumstances from my run.

I had been at home all day looking after Andrew who was unwell having been sick first thing. I was feeling fine but suffering from a bit of cabin fever when Lindsay came home. She said to go out for a run so I did.

The run was going to be a repeat of Friday’s but didn’t start well on the first block. I just didn’t feel right and was a good 10sec/km off the pace.

I split the hard sections with a 5 min easy portion and as I was going along Commercial Street I thought I was going to do a Paula Radcliffe circa the 2004 Olympics. 

The feeling passed and I carried on but a couple of minutes into the second block I had to stop. Thankfully not for the same reason but rather I just had no energy.

I was down on Leith Links and fortunately not far from home so walked home. An attempt to run but that brought back the Paula Radcliffe feeling.

I was then sick an hour or so later and ill for the next couple of hours. Training for the next couple of days has been binned and will be adjusted for the rest of the week depending on how I feel.

Going back to the first point. Allowing yourself to work with poor form is totally counterproductive and always leads to injury at some point down the line. For better to do fewer reps with better form so that you can accumulate the training stress you are after than stick to a plan that isn’t working. 

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