This past week was physically intense. I pedaled more than 175 miles in conformance with a training regime sufficiently rigorous (supposedly) to enable someone (like me) to complete a cycling “Century.” OK. Maybe. Hope so.
I’m feeling kinda beat up right about now.
And there were the Olympics. Say what you will, at some point, in some event, some human being is gonna blow your mind.
Grooving on Wheaties and Olympics programming, I cycled quite a bit this week. Enough, actually, to suffer saddle sores. I had hit the end stage of an 8-week training program to prepare for a “Century” (a 100-mile bicycle excursion). According to this plan, I was ready to complete a Century when I completed my 74-mile romp. I have my doubts.
Given that I started cycling so early this season (early March), I’ve actually got the time to embark on a second training cycle! I intend to peak with an 85-mile romp at the end of the two-month plan. But, truth be told, the long rides don’t interest me as much anymore. I already know I can survive them. I’m gonna focus my attention on suffering.
That sounds strange, I know. But that’s exactly what I wanna do.
Folks who’ve trained to run marathons, triathlons or centuries can attest to the importance of raising one’s “lactate threshold” and VO2 max. This is where the suffering comes in. If one is to become faster, stronger and fierce, then one must suffer. One must suffer through lung-bursting “intervals” that take your heart rate to its maximum. It’s a weird/scary feeling...to hit your maximum heart rate...to float there...only to collapse physically moments later.
There are the “tempo” runs/rides that keep the heart pumping near the level at which muscle cells and mitochondria scream “No mas!” and self-destruct by drowning in lactic acid.
If you want to improve as an endurance athlete, you must suffer.
I contend that the very best endurance athletes endure suffering better than most. True champions can “out suffer’ their competition. It’s the suffering that leads to perfection.
I can riff on this metaphor...
A whole lot.
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