The Mental Gymnastics of Getting Through a Hard Workout

The night before

“I am still feeling a bit tired, perhaps I should postpone tomorrow’s workout with a day or two. It’s important to go into workouts feeling fresh and ready to go, and this one will be especially demanding with 8 kilometres at threshold pace. Yeah, that’s that decided, then, I’ll definitely push the workout unless I’m feeling better.”

The morning of

“The cumulative fatigue is definitely still too high to try an LT session today, yeah, no doubt about it. Glad I decided to postpone it. The roads are quite icy, though, so I’ll just go to the gym and get on the treadmill just in case I feel really good once I get going, and want to push myself after all.”

An hour before

“I wonder which shoes I should run in today. The Bostons are probably a safe choice, but if I do end up feeling great, it would be a good chance to test the Vaporfly 4% while running fast. Yeah, I’ll go with the Vaporflys just to be sure.”

Warm up

“Oh man, I’m so glad I decided to push that LT session because my favourite treadmill is busy. It’s impossible to know how the other treadmills are calibrated compared to that one, and it’d be a pain running on HR alone. I’ll get on this one here instead, and it doesn’t even matter that it’s making strange noises because I’m just running easy and taking it slow today.”

Upping the pace

“Hey, look at that, the girl on ‘my’ treadmill just left. Perhaps I should hop on over to that instead, and run a couple of kilometres at a quicker clip. And if my legs respond, perhaps I can do some LT work after all.”

It’s on

“Alright, I’m running at close to threshold pace here, and it doesn’t feel too bad. If I just get it over with today, I won’t have to worry about fitting this workout into my schedule over the next couple of days, which would be great. Let’s do this!”

0.3 out of 8.0 kilometres completed

“Oh no, what have I done?! This feels like an all-out spring and I’ll never be able to do 8k of this. No chance. I can’t believe I managed to 6k at this pace just a couple of weeks ago when I won’t be able to get even close today. I just gotta try and make it to 1000 meters, then perhaps I can power through a few intervals of that instead.”

1.1 out of 8.0 kilometres completed

“This is absolute torture, but I think maybe if I can just hold on for dear life, I can make it to 3k. If I just reach that, I can split the threshold session into two runs separated by a break.”

3.0 out of 8.0 kilometres completed

“Maybe I can repeat the workout I did a couple of weeks back, and get in 6k at this pace. If I just manage to replicate that workout, that would be much better than going backwards. And, doing the math, 6k is almost a third of a half marathon, and being able to say ‘I did (almost) a third of a half marathon at half marathon pace’ sounds good to me.”

6.0 out of 8.0 kilometres completed

“YES, MADE IT! I did almost a third of a half marathon at half marathon pace. Almost. Just like I did a couple of weeks ago. Although, if I do manage to suffer through just a few more minutes of this, 7k is more or less exactly a third of a half marathon. I think I am able to do that, I should definitely be able to keep this pace up for a full half while racing.”

6.3 out of 8.0 kilometres completed

“Alright, I guess I’m going for 7k, then. Can’t stop, won’t stop!”

7.01 out of 8.0 kilometres completed

“Hey! What’s going on here?! That was my stop. I was getting off there at 7.00, and the display is showing 7.01… 7.02… 7.03. I’m trapped, and I can’t get off this thing. Please, won’t somebody hear my calls for help and get me off this thing?!”

7.5 out of 8.0 kilometres completed

Meme face determined with tears

8.0 out of 8.0 kilometres completed

“I’m that star up in the sky. I’m that mountain peak up high. Hey, I made it. I’m the world’s greatest!”