Lunch hour

The Pete Plan blog

The mental side of racing

Posted by thepeteplan on December 11, 2010

I started the weekend with a steady half marathon on rowpro, acting as a pace maker for someone aiming for their first ever sub 80mins. The aim was to sit on 1:53.7 average pace for the majority of the row, the pace needed for an 80min half marathon, and other than that stay just ahead of the other guy.

21097m = 1h19m47.7s / 1:53.5 / 24
Splits:
1:54.0 / 24
1:53.7 / 24
1:53.7 / 24
1:53.6 / 24
1:53.5 / 24
1:53.7 / 24
1:53.7 / 24
1:53.7 / 24
1:53.6 / 24
1:51.4 / 24

A comfortable effort overall, but good to get a good long distance piece in.

I then did my second weights session of my new training regime around 4 hours later. The same routine as last week with a slight increase in weight on the bench press and leg press.

  1. Cleans: Bar + 30kg = 3 sets of 8
  2. Bench press: Bar + 35kg = 3 / 10
  3. Squat: Bar + 30kg = 3 / 8
  4. Barbell row: Bar + 30kg = 2 / 8
  5. Leg press: 80kg = 3 / 8
  6. Cable row: 40kg = 3 / 8
  7. Bicep curls: 18kg dumbbells = 2 / 8

All with a short rest between sets. Following the advice given when I did the first routine last week I will incorporate deadlifts the first time I mix the weights up after 4 weeks. I will also increase some of the weights then.

The mental side of racing:

Thanks to Hywel Davies for pointing me towards the following pod cast:

http://www.marathontalk.com/archive/2010/12/1/episode-47-prof-tim-noakes.html

The podcast features a 40min interview with Prof. Tim Noakes. Tim is a South African sport and exercise science professor who has done a lot of research and writing on the mental side of sports performance (focussing on running) over the past 30 years or so. I recommend listening to the interview if you have time. The two key points I took away from the interview were the discussion on the mental side of racing performance, and also how athletes often peak around 3 years into high level competition, never to reach quite the same level again. Essentially it seems that your brain can make you feel “pain” that isn’t related to the actual physical effort that your body is capable of performing. The percentage of max physical effort that your brain will let you perform at (under Prof. Noakes’ theory) is determined by mental preparation, self belief, and past performance. I believe that I can pinpoint my own under performance, compared with normal training paces, in single 2k pieces to one race experience. If this is the case, then I can work through this and take away the 2k block, or rather the slight limitation that it appears by brain puts on my level of physical effort when 2000m is set on the monitor. I will discuss this another day in more detail.

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