One of the great things about endurance sport is that in general, the harder you push the greater the reward, whether we’re talking about the immediate session or long-term physical development.
Assuming you don’t push yourself to the point of overtraining or injury, the more you put In, the more you get out in our sport. This is what makes it so appealing to so many of us. Yes, there are some uncontrollable variables such as illness, weather conditions, family commitments, and your workload, but generally speaking – assuming you’re training smart – the more you train, the quicker you go.
In terms of the next hard session is concerned, the deeper you go, the greater the reward. One of the least appetising sessions in my weekly training is the shed-based turbo sufferfests either very early in the morning or late at night when work and family commitments dictate!! It’s cold, dark and lonely out there and you really don’t fancy it! But deep into the final reps with the music booming and the endorphins raging it becomes pretty euphoric.
Last Thursday I had a session like this. I was free period 1 (I’m a teacher) with the opportunity of getting to work late at 9.20. However, instead of the usual single turbo session, I was given a 2-hour brick. I dragged myself out of bed at 6 am, ate a banana and nailed some coffee before heading out for the first of the 2 part brick session. First up was 10miles of running with 4x6mins hard [2mins jog recovery]. My legs were sore from some tough previous days (when are we ever fresh?!) it was pitch black, cold, wet and I was on my own. Not much fun! But I dug in, got it done and headed straight to the turbo for a very tasty FTP session. After a bit of a spin, I had to to do 2 sets of: 3mins FTP / 3mins 95% FTP / 3mins FTP / 3mins 95% FTP. This was seriously tough, especially on battered legs. My heart rate was OK but the quads were screaming! With some serious mental strength, plenty of big tunes from Paul Van Dyke and aspiratory (is that actually a word?!) visions of race victories next year I got them done and hit the target numbers. Just!*
I was utterly broken after this but the satisfaction, no, elation, was immense! I wouldn’t have got that feeling if I’d trotted 3 miles to work as my usual commute!
Whilst I got a huge buzz from that session in the short-term, I know that training like that will also have long-term benefits. So, whether you’re after a mega short-term endorphin rush or long-term fitness improvement, or more often than not, both! The harder you push, the greater the result. Train hard everyone!
*For a short video of this session, see my Instagram post on November 30th
Ben Price is a duathlete who has represented GB at elite level over the past two years. He came to the sport in his late 20s and since then has progressed through the age group ranks until he was selected for the elite team in 2017. You can follow Ben’s training on Instagram through his daily posts.