Yesterday, with no scheduled training, I decided on a whim to a) run on a morning work break instead of walk, and b) run a 5 minute all-you-can VO2max time trial before jogging back.
Every now and then I do stuff like this, and just like last time I did it to fill out my Stryd data, as my max power stats at 1-10 minutes were beginning to stale-date.
I went out hard eyeing my power data on my Garmin. If I couldn’t hold 320 W (around the range of prior max data) at any point, I would just slow down, forget about it, and jog the rest out as usual.
But I felt spry and found I could hold 320-340 W with sustainable difficulty. I kept going and was not only able to finish all 5 planned minutes before slowing down, but I might have set a kilometer PB in the process (I’d have to go back to my 2017-2018 logs though to verify that), and the overall pace was very close to my 5K PR.
Stryd, as it does, did register the relevant segments as new max power segments, but my Critical Power ended up going down. This is normal when you set new short-range high-power benchmarks, as (long story short) the algorithm tends to subsequently adjust down your estimated capacity at longer distances, programmed to presume you’re evolving into more of a short/medium distance runner than a long distance runner. If I run improved hour+ long runs in kind later, the CP will go back up.
While you don’t want to end up a slave to your app data, it can provide a useful guideline for where you need to occasionally challenge or push yourself.
One recent point of focus is an old theatre movement principle: To do your best to feel or seem relaxed when you’re doing something difficult.
This is actually an additional adjustment I made on recent treadmill training. Whenever the run starts to feel difficult, I make a point to run as relaxed as possible, which bolsters my effort going forward. Overall, I imagine this will prove very helpful on marathon day. But in the short term, it’s helped me avoid discouragement or any relevant mental need to slow or stop the workout.
This was an important general lesson from my theatre days, and I think it helped make me tougher across the board throughout my entire life in Seattle and later Chicago. I also think to some subconscious degree it helped me a lot with my everyday running, when I’d run miles home from work in all avrieties of weather. It certainly helped on my long runs.
I imagine it’s a big reason I’ve accomplished as much as I have in taking up running later in life and getting as far as I did despite no formal training or racing prior to that.
Whether or not I got away from that in recent years, consciously applying that mindset to my treadmill workouts has certainly helped. It’s just a next step on top of lots of steps I’ve taken over the years.