It’s another really hot and humid day in Vermont. Our morning session is 5 by 8 minutes of classic threshold, with varying terrain to force us to work on different techniques. I feel amazing, my lactate is exactly 4.0, and I proclaim to Pat that I think I’m fitter than ever before (which would make sense, but still, a nice feeling). Two weeks and fifty hours of training later, my heart rate is struggling to even get to threshold, laying horizontal becomes my go-to pose, and I tell Pat, “I think this is the most tired I’ve ever been.”
To which Pat replies, “Good.”
And I say, “What?”
He looks at me and says, “That means the training is working.”
A little incredulously I respond, “But I feel terrible.”
And he replies, “Listen. If you didn’t feel tired it means one of two things- either you didn’t do enough, or you are lieing to yourself about how you are feeling. If you weren’t tired after 50 hours of training, I’d be confused. But the timing is perfect. You’ll get through three more days, and then go home and take your rest week. And then we’ll do the cycle again. And come December, you will be ready to rock and roll”*
*this is not verbatim
As it turns out, training is really awesome but also really hard. In one sentence, training is just a cycle of stressing your system, and then letting it rebound. Each time you stress and then rebound, you should become fitter. And the more fit you get, the more tired you can become. You can stress the system more. This can get dangerous- without letting your system fully rebound it is easy to overdo it and torpedo your entire season.
Which is why I created this handy flow chart:Refer to this of you ever aren’t sure about training. I’m not sure which coach introduced me to the “cry” test, but it is pretty much a no-fail indicator of fatigue. Especially when the thing you are crying about is spilled oatmeal. Or the bachelorette.
After answering my own questions, I’m ready to take a break. Which works out well, because on Monday I’m flying home for a much needed rest and recovery week. It has been a great block of training (albeit a very hot and sweaty one), and I’m excited to get back at it…once the idea of putting on a sports bra doesn’t make me watch another Netlfix episode 😉