We all know the phrase “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger” but, as my husband said recently “Is that really the baseline? Death?” It obviously shouldn’t be but, having a sense of “this may kill me” during a training session has it’s benefits.
TRAINING SHOULD BUILD YOU UP
You chose a race, you get a plan and you start to train. Your workouts should follow some type of base building phase and then gradually build mileage using speed, tempo, hills and various other workouts for a well rounded and race ready mind and body.
I agree that you should feel more energized than spent post workout. If you go hard each and every time, you will either get injured or quit. I believe in the absolute power of rest days and taking your easy days, truly easy. That takes courage and you need to be brave enough to run slower or not at all, in order to progress.
I believe in all of this, but I also believe in needing those workouts where you think you just may not be able to finish, have heavy legs, a screaming mind and possibly tears.
TRAINING SHOULD ALSO TEAR YOU DOWN
You how you build muscle? By making microscopic tears in it. That soreness you feel is the repairing of the muscle tissue which leads to bigger, stronger and perhaps better functioning muscle fibers. I strongly believe you also need a tearing down of you mind, to build your training up, in order to get to the next level.
If you are training for a race, this is especially important. There will come a time during that race when you will question everything, second guess your sanity and internally debate just why and how you came to be in this place and time. This is also known as the pain cave. It is during this time when you will need to think back to those death workouts. Knowing you survived them will push you to the finish.
I have them about once per month and thought, why should I keep this agony all to myself? Seriously though, I share them with you because I believe these workouts truly make me stronger in every conceivable way. And, you can bet when I feel the walls closing in during my upcoming triathlon, I will reflect on these specifically, and remember how I lived to train another day.
As if hill repeats alone are not hard enough, let’s add speed!
I do the above workout about every 4-6 weeks and it never gets easier. I just hope my coach doesn’t start adding to the .25 mile!
I did this one multiple times during my marathon training last year and I always felt incredible after it was done. I chose a two mile stretch of as-flat-as-I-could-find road and just ran back and forth for about two hours. It was a blast. Especially on windy days.
The outcome was a PR of 3:28 at the NJ Marathon and a struggle and fight to the finish for 3:31 at the NYC marathon so, I would say, it paid off.
We all have the “I’m going to die” training moments. Use them to your advantage and get a little bit stronger every day.
[Tweet “Workouts that could kill you and how to use them on #race day! #train4life”]
Have a great weekend!
What was one of your death workouts from recent memory?
Do you believe in REALLY hard training efforts?
I love it! Ok, I don’t love the I’m going to die workouts while I’m doing them but I love when I’m DONE with one. It makes you feel like – “Yeah. I can do hard shit!” The hill workout looks awesome. I’ll definitely being doing that one because ahem, Mt. Washington is coming. But the speed workout…yowzers! That would most definitely kill me. Phew!!!
It really does! Plus, it makes other workouts seem not so bad…like in marathon training when the 10 milers are easy days. Gotta love that!
I read the title and I clicked it. HAHAHA, why did I subject myself to that?
My last hard effort was mile repeats from last Wednesday. I felt awful, I looked awful and I just wanted the run to be over. Sometimes your mental approach is what kills your workout though.
So true Hollie!! And of course you clicked it – you love the death workout and it shows in all your racing success 🙂
Oh my goodness, you are a training beast!! The way you train is sonincredibleni feel like you should have a reality show or a daily Vlog to inspire the masses. I agree with the breaking down of the mind. As I started getting higher in the miles for marathon training I pretty much decided that I could not do any more, then I did. It was pretty amazing.
You are so awesome. Thank you so much for saying that!
I know you can relate to this because marathon training will show you what you are really made of!! You did it once and OMG you are going to do it again 🙂
also pardon my amazing jumbled typo lol
Holy moly – these make me faint just looking at them! Especially that last one. But you’re right – it feels really great when you finish a hard workout and such a confidence booster that you can do hard things! PS that WAS my hill workout yesterday!
That makes me SOOOOO happy!!!! I guess Jess and I are on the same page 🙂 You looked so strong. Keep it up!
Every single time I do any hill, it feels like death….even just one of them….I make myself practice them at least twice a month, but still…..death every time !
I hear you. Plus, adding that LA heat and yikes! Keep doing them and they will pay off big…as I’m sure you already know.
I definitely believe in the benefits of hard workouts and easy workouts!!! I have done your second one twice. I had ended up doing it a second time during my last training cycle after bombing the first time.
I have also many times thought during a hard workout “why in the WORLD am I doing this to myself?” I remember in high school cross country thinking I can’t wait until I can just run any pace I want and never have to do speed work again :)…hehe.
Another hard one is 3 x 3 mile repeat @ a little faster than 1/2 marathon pace.
I am now out of hill country and in humidity country! I had several years of all hilly races. Now there is not a hill in sight, but oh the humidity!!!
I remember you did it and killed it the second time around.
And yes, always those thoughts of “what am I doing???” but then we go back again and again.
I cannot imagine what a transition it is to running in Florida!! I was in Miami in Nov and it was like running in soup. I was ready to pay someone $10 for a water. No joke!
Ha ha ha! “Death as the baseline.” SO TRUE. I did one of those near-death workouts yesterday on my treadmill in the hot garage. I have Pre’s quote written out on a sign in front of me, the one about the suicide pace and today is a good day to die. One of the bestest quotes everrrrrrr. Okay so I have a question: that last workout with the 4 miles at MP, 4 miles at HMP, and 4 miles at tempo… what’s the tempo pace? Like a 10k race pace?
OMG yes to the Pre quote – best ever!! I love that you have that in your face when you’re on the treadmill. Awesome.
Tempo pace – yes, like 10K but maybe a tad slower. My 10K pace is 6:50ish and I did the tempo at 7:00. Hope that helps!
I avoid hill repeats but really need to add that in every month or so… brutal! And I was just reading a recommendation to do a long run exactly like the 15 miler you shared- adding 1-2 of those into my marathon plan. I agree that there’s something about hitting that pain point in training that is so important- not just physically, but for the mental boost on race day!
Oh that is so great!! That workout was seriously so good for my marathon training. Let me know how it goes if you do it!
I’m saving this work outs for the summer half marathon training! Thanks!
We did weekly hill training for our coming marathon, and although it felt like a killer, we were grateful after our sneak peek at the Marathon course. Man, it’s a hilly one!
I know this sounds insane, but after being sick with flu like symptoms for 2 weeks, the first day I went back to Zumba, I was sure it was going to be the day it killed me! my lungs were burning, my legs were tired and I wasn’t even trying that hard!
Hills can kill but yes, you feel amazing afterward!
And coming back to almost anything after being sick can feel like death. You poor thing!!
Haha – I regulary do “I think I may die” workout. They’re the best. Build character, no? 😉
Oh hell yes!
No wonder you’re so fast! I avoid hill repeats but really need to add them in…especially since I just found a hill that may kill me right off my main trail. I should try your workout on it! I’m seriously tempted to swap out a simple marathon pace long run for your long run here, it sounds hard but fun at the same time.
LOL! You should definitely try both because I know you will just love to hate them 🙂 And yes, that long run is so hard but so do-able!!!
I avoid hills at all costs. In races, in training. I tried to be diligent about it for a while and then was like, these suckers are hard and haven’t seen a hill in a while! (minus running a race in CP recently that reminded me how much I avoid them!)
But your workouts are badass and scare me! It is no wonder you are in such phenomenal shape!
HAHAHA – I totally get it and, if I lived somewhere where avoiding hills was an option, I just might take it! Unfortunately (or fortunately?) I live in a very hilly area and they are impossible to avoid. Not to mention the mountain I live on!