We always see people having a great race with great personal bests. But what we do not see is the steps before having a great race. We do not see the hard work, training and effort people put in preceding a race. There will be no good race unless there is a fair amount of suffering that precedes it. However, how much suffering is the right amount?
How Much Suffering is Enough?
This is a fine line to draw. There is of course too much suffering, and too little suffering. Opinions vary on where this sweet spot should lie and how to measure this sweet spot. Some people believe what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger! The other school of thought is that you should be feeling great every time you train. So suffering should not be too much.
Training By Feel
There is much to argue for training by feel. There is no indicator more reliable than your own body. Your body is the most simple and sensitive feedback mechanism as to how your training is going. The mind and body is deeply connected. Your mind receives a million times more information as compared to your heart rate monitor. Your mind should be able to give you a much more accurate interpretation. if you are feeling good during a tempo run, does it really matter what the number on your heart rate monitor is?
Feel Good When Training
Now this is a bit paradoxical! Of course the best way to feel good during training is to not push yourself too hard. This way with less suffering you are bound to feel good. But by feel good, we don’t mean chilling watching tv eating popcorn kind of good. We mean feeling fit kind of good. In order for us to feel fit, we do push our own limits. Feeling strong during a run is a great indicator of your fitness level.
Fatigue v Lack Of Fitness
When we do not feel strong, we must be able to tell whether it is a sign of fatigue or lack of fitness. Lack of fitness is corrected by putting in more hard work. Fatigue on the other hand is corrected by rest and recovery. So feel is really important in training. Your heart rate monitor may spew out all sorts of numbers but it is up to you to determine based on feel whether it is fatigue or lack of fitness that you are experiencing.
This is the training based on feel philosophy!