Tell me, what do you think will happen when you reach your home this evening? Or if you are already at home, what will happen when you reach work tomorrow morning? You have an idea more or less. You have a inclination as to what the mood will be like and what does this have to do with running wait you guessed it the –
Practice makes perfect. So they used to say, knowing that IT IS WRONG. Why do we do that? Walk around with quotes or sayings in our head, that are not even correct? And we proudly pass them along to our athletes, people we train, worse our own kids
If you own a car, not an electric one, I mean a real car, you know with a engine and a gearbox, the type of car most people still understand how it works. Surely you have a rev counter. That dial you hardly ever look at? The one you often wonder what’s that for? And it’s a fully legit question.
Unless you have a too fast driving style. But even then, chances are you never really pushed your car to its full potential. And you could. I mean engineering wise, 6.000 rev per minute, 7.000 hey even higher no problem your car engine was designed to handle this. But we hardly ever do it. There is something (often traffic rules and speed restrictions) that keeps us from not pushing till the red line.
Same with phones. Maybe you are different, but if I look at all the functions the smartphone has. Incredible, and I hardly use them. Weird. I like to brag that this phone has more cpu power than on Apollo 11. But use it? No.
And that’s so often the status quo. We have a Kitchen full of appliances and use the same old mixer as always. We have tools in the Garage but prefer to use that certain selection kept in the top drawer.
And that is somehow an imaginary protective layer. It serves to protect us from something or other, perhaps clutter, or fear it might break, or for lack of understanding. Or our favorite, lack of time. I just don’t have the time.
That brings me to the point. Practice doesn’t make perfect. Just take a look at the runners around you. How many do you see? They have practiced for years without being a run coach or expert of any sorts, but you can tell, this person needs to improve their stride, or work on their pace. It’s so often plain to see. The right way or the correct saying is: and this is by Vince Lombardi, the legendary Football Coach Practice does not make perfect, only perfect practice makes perfect.
So we have two factors, the skill level and of course time. But time as in quality hours. See time on its own, has nothing to do with it. Being active doesn’t mean you will achieve anything. See the goal must be to do whatever you need to in practice to ensure you are effective. And that my dear listener is a difficult one.
To train effectively takes effort. But maybe like so many you have already used all that effort to decide to go running. And seeing that you are practicing, you have accomplished something. The tiredness or the level of fatigue, is like a barrier.
Often athletes say they are tired. Especially the Thursday track session. Means, you had your day at work, 9-5 and now perhaps I am not saying it’s you but some of you the Thursday track session looms ahead of you. Like, as in “oh no”, and all you need to hear is another “oh no” in the hope that two “oh-no’s” make a track session disappear. And you know what happens when you enter the track with a oh no attitude. Most probably not a lot will happen. I mean you will run. You will do the workouts, you will have participated in the training or practice session. And then to make matters worse, this becomes a habit. What’s THIS? This is that practice has officially taken place, however there has not been the amount of effort that could have been put into it. Means the training was lackluster, inadequate. Which will end up in a lackluster time or even a struggle to run the desired race. But those of you who have experienced it: what is the result? End of the season.
For a second, let me join you, let me blog compassion for your 9-5 and all the things you need to do and you know what, even for “I am tired”. Ok. Listen up. And here we need to differentiate between mental and physical fatigue.
When we talk about fatigue, we’re talking about reduced alertness, reaction time, and effectiveness—all of which manifest in the form of sub-optimal athletic performance. This mental fatigue results from inadequate sleep or when sleep and activities fall outside of our biological need to consistently sleep at night and be active in the day—it’s not the same as fatigue resulting from physical exertion.
Those who routinely obtain less than 7-9 hours of interrupted sleep per 24-hour period will have a high homeostatic drive for sleep as the body struggles to restore balance.
So, when you as a runner lose sleep due to any number of factors, when you are unable to stick to a consistent bedtime due to travel or social engagements, or in the world before COVID when I used to travel a lot for and ended up in the “wrong” zone, l was faced with both a high homeostatic and a high circadian drive for sleep. The result then often was impaired judgment, reaction time, and situational awareness—the hallmarks of poor mental effectiveness.
Physical effectiveness, or energy, is different. Factors such as the type, intensity and volume of exercise as well as muscle fiber composition, neuromuscular characteristics, high energy metabolite stores, buffering capacity. Physical energy can be viewed as the capacity to perform a certain amount and intensity of physical activity for a given period of time. Looking at Elite athletes, who routinely engage in high-intensity training, they are far less susceptible to physical fatigue than those who are sedentary. They run faster, lift more weight, and perform for longer periods of time due to their enhanced physical conditioning.
The difference between mental and physical fatigue
Mental and physical energy are governed by very different underlying processes—they’re separate biological functions. Having said that, they can coexist.
If one’s physically exhausted due to high-intensity physical activity, then maybe you may struggle to run, and your alertness and concentration will remain intact. In fact, most research concludes that physical activity has either a positive effect or more often, little or no impact on mental performance.
However, when a person’s mentally exhausted due to sleep deprivation, their alertness will suffer while most aspects critical for physical performance will be preserved. And while sleep loss affects mood, motivation, judgment, situational-awareness, memory, and alertness, THIS IS THE IMPORTANT part it doesn’t directly affect cardiovascular and respiratory responses to exercise of varying intensity, aerobic and anaerobic performance capability, or muscle strength and electromechanical responses. But, time-to-physical-exhaustion is shorter and their perception of exertion and endurance is distorted.
What exactly causes those Thursday oh-no moments or the mental fatigue?
Decision-making: Constant decision-making can be taxing as it exhausts your executive function.
Clutter: Science says clutter triggers the production of cortisol (or ‘stress hormone’). So, the more cluttered your physical surroundings and headspace are, the more stressed out you’ll be. And prolonged stress can manifest into brain fatigue.
Overcommitting: Meaning, committing to more tasks than you have time to finish. It’s not just mentally draining but counterproductive as well.
Avoidance and procrastination: Contrary to popular belief, procrastinating is more taxing for your brain than working on the task
Perfectionism: “Like any extreme trait, perfectionism can be a double-edged sword,” says the former psychologist. If you don’t pay attention, it can easily turn into a self-sabotaging habit. “
Lack of sleep: According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults need 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep to stay healthy. Getting enough sleep is critical for brain rejuvenation. Sleep deprivation can make your mind foggy from weariness, adversely affecting your mood, focus, alertness and productivity.
So, how can you beat the Thursday oh no moment? How can you learn how to use that rev counter, or maximize that iphone.
Now, how can you learn to maximize your run training? Avoid mental exhaustion?
Adopting the following strategies can help ease mental fatigue:
Stay organized. Stick to your run plan
Be realistic. Make a list of important workouts that you WILL not skip.
Hold yourself accountable
Rethink your milestones rather than your goals
Invent new run routes. Change of scenery.
The cooper test that is really the best measure of maximizing your rev counter
For those of you that are worried because of its old age old is gold, see the length of the run is considered to be that of a long distance run, since everything above 3 km is rated “long distance”—which means the runner will primarily use his/her “red”, slow oxidative muscle cells.
The Cooper test is a test of physical fitness. It was designed by Kenneth H. Cooper in 1968 for US military use. In its original form, the point of the test is to run as far as possible within 12 minutes. Pacing is important, as the participant will not cover a maximal distance if they begin with a pace too close to an all out sprint.
On a standard 400 m Tartan track or similar.
the point of the test is to run as far as possible within 12 minutes
What you need is full concentration, and you will get better by experience.
Analysis of the test result is by comparing it with the athlete’s previous results for this test. It is expected that, with appropriate training between each test, the analysis would indicate an improvement in the athlete’s VO2 max, anaerobic and aerobic thresholds.
Lots of online sites where you can enter your data and compare. Advantages
Minimal equipment required
Simple to set up and conduct
More than one athlete can conduct the test at the same time
The athlete can administer the test
The biggest advantage you have is a reference for when you want to improve Improve from here where I am now to your next milestone. And doing this systematically and occasionally. You don’t drive your car to the limit every single day. You don’t use all your iPhones resources every time you have it in your hand. But knowing that you can and that you could. And applying this to your Rene ensuring that your Thursdays are those sessions where you eliminate mental fatigue will you ensure you are physically strong
That’s where you will train for a high VO2 Max. It’s all about a moderate improvement
And of course by learning mindfulness for runners, which is something I don’t just talk about on the blog, actually it is a powerful tool that will not just help in putting in more effort, it will ensure that the time you spend running, is really building and giving you benefits.
And that’s what we are about here at advanced endurance coaching. Helping you become a better, stronger and smarter runner. If you feel like hey, this is interesting, how to go about this, or you want to get in touch send me a mail. We jump on a free call, and let’s see whether we are a fit. You know we need to be able to share a laugh otherwise it isn’t fun is it?
Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.”
I hope this gets you from thinking about running better to actually running better. Thanks for your time, do share this blog with someone who you think needs to hear this. And if you perhaps feel like you want some more notes or perhaps even a guide, I want to encourage you, you are going to go to amazon anyway right? You are going to need some batteries, or ink cartridges, or hey perhaps a lawn mower. Can you believe it? I bought a lawnmower online. That’s another blog right there, I will tell you Next episode so whilst you are on Amazon go check out Brain Training for runners, and enter my name Heiko Stribl. It is such a compact, easy to read and USE guide for getting you off to a flying start. With tools that ensure you stay on track to becoming a better stronger and smarter runner. My name is Heiko, God bless you and remember, take it easy.
Your 365 Day Run Streak, one whole year of running Why who or what would you want to do that?
And if your first thought is “I couldn’t do that” then definitely you should get the book.
Remember that our minds sometimes cruise around the same negative thoughts
Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
Thanks for your interest. Do leave me a rating and share the blog to someone who needs to hear it. My name is Heiko thanks for reading.
God Bless You and remember, take it easy.