Did you feel different on today’s run than yesterday’s run? Do you generally feel different today than yesterday?
If you answered no to either, I’d ask you to think more deeply about how you feel today and how you felt yesterday.
I say that not because I’m trying to be hard on you but because I want to be a realist. Our fitness is always changing. I’m not just talking about the fact that, as we train, there are slight shifts in our fitness and hopefully we’re generally getting a little more fit each day.
Fitness is an all encompassing term. It can refer to not just your VO2max or your lactate threshold. It’s also how fatigued you are, how well fueled you are, how well hydrated you are, as well as any number of other variables.
As such, fitness is also extremely dynamic. On Monday, I ran in probably a slightly dehydrated and somewhat fatigued state. I needed a very easy run. On Tuesday, I wanted to get in a workout so I made sure I went into my run more well hydrated and more rested.
As you go through your training, you will experience days when everything is right and you will experience days when everything is wrong. Much more frequently, you will experience a mixed bag.
I would like to encourage you to consider this fact and do two things with your training.
- Don’t fight the bad days. They will happen. Accept them, figure out what went wrong, know you’re just off, then live to fight another day.
- When it comes down to the important runs, especially race day, do everything you can to make sure everything you have control over is going right.
Just like you train to raise your VO2max and lactate threshold for race day, you need to prepare to ensure all other aspects of your fitness are maximized on race day and, as much as possible, on other days. These other factors are often written off as outside factors but they can have just as much of an influence on your running as the more commonly discussed fitness measures.