On a recent podcast I listened to, Mike Smith, head coach NAU cross country program, talked about his athletes going too hard in workouts, and how he feels this is a sign of insecurity or lack of confidence. Those of you who know me well will recognize that I am always saying ‘you can’t win the workout’ and by that I mean that workouts aren’t races; they should be regarded as training. They serve a specific purpose. They should be performed at the prescribed intensity, and that often gets forgotten in group sessions. There are no medals for finishing first in the workout!
Those sexy splits or great numbers in training sessions may give us confidence in the moment, but why do we need those numbers on our strava or training peaks? Mike states it all comes back to fears and insecurities. Without hitting those splits in workouts, we somehow believe that we aren’t ready for race day, and in most instances, that just isn’t true. Races aren’t won one the back of one quick workout where we absolutely nail the splits. Consistency and quality is what wins races, or gets us to that next level performance. We have to trust that our training has prepared us for race day, and not just that last set of hill repeats.
I think that all too often, we end up leaving a great race in our training sessions, and by that I mean that we push just a bit too hard, or a little too often. Come race day, we’re a little flatter directly as a result of that late push.
I guess what I am saying is that you have to trust the process. Don’t try to win the workout. Don’t leave your race in your last few training sessions. Run to the prescribed intensity, and don’t overthink things!