Run Like The Fancy People

I’d been waiting for this day since the beginning of December and now, almost four months later, my time had come.  It was lactate threshold testing weekend two days of testing for the run, the swim and the bike.  When I’d last tested in December, my numbers were dismal, and my heart rate was out of whack, causing my HR zones to be lower/slower than expected. Meaning I’d been training at really slow paces to beat my heart rate back into a healthy submission.

There are several different ways to test your threshold, but I’ll save you the glazed eyes and tell you the way my coach does it is to have the athlete run at a strong/fast pace they can maintain for 30 minutes.  I’ve been tested several different ways, but I actually like the way he does it.  Because in my mind, it doesn’t matter what the machines or blood testing says.  What matters is what I am actually willing to physically AND mentally sustain.  Kind of like you can have the potential to be great, but whether you are willing to put the work in to reach that greatness is shown when the time to shine comes.

I started the warmup, getting my mind to a place of acceptance of the next 30 minutes of discomfort.  

When the 30-minutes started, I quickly increased pace, opened my stride and settled into a fast yet controlled pace I knew I could maintain for the allotted 30 minutes.  Round and around the track. Several times lapping a few people out walking and running on the pleasant weekend evening as the sun set.  Round and round counting each footfall, my go to coping mechanism when I grow fatigued in the run.  

Twenty minutes in, I felt my body pulling back and my stride closing.  An involuntary adaptation of my body to conserve energy as it began to give in to the fatigue that had become a weighty passenger. However, pulling back wasn’t an option, I HAD to execute.

Knowing it was not yet time to rest, out of nowhere, I shouted in my head: “QUIT WHINING AND RUN LIKE THE FANCY PEOPLE!”  I giggled at my random internal bellowing of encouragement.  The fancy people?

Have you ever watched an elite runner run?   It is an absolute thing of hypnotic and fluidly mesmerizing beauty.  

The fancy people.  

I yelled it to myself because while I may not look like the fancy runners, their form and fluidity is something I strive for on a far less grand scale.

When put into difficult situations, sometimes it’s funny what we tell ourselves to maintain forward momentum.  It wasn’t fancy, but it worked and I posted huge improvements from my last testing four months ago.  And that’s all I really wanted, measurable improvement!

Nailed it! 

And just in case you have never witnessed the beauty of an elite runner, below is a quick video of a “fancy people” (or “person” if you’re a grammar fiend) from the folks at the SMU Performance Lab here in Dallas.