A good friend, and former MDRA President, Rick Recker once told me “If you want to run faster, you have to run faster!”. Wise words that have been uttered by many others, but coming from Rick, this was all truth, and in it’s simplest form. The idea seems so easy, the actual act, though, is much more difficult.
When you are already pushing the limits, so to speak, in your training and racing…it is difficult to just be faster. In order to get faster you have to go faster. In short, you have to train faster and train your mind and body to withstand the punishment and pain that you acquire when upping the ante.
Not only is it important to learn to go harder, and learn how to cage that pain…it is also important to know when to hit the nitrous, pour it on, and drop the hammer. Pacing yourself throughout any race is key. You don’t want to ‘bonk’ before the finish line, but you don’t want to finish with too much left int he tank either. Training hard and training fast will help you find that threshold when it comes time to race.
Dropping the hammer is where you find yourself listening to that little whisper in the waaaaay back of your head, the one that is rarely heard over the voices saying ‘ease up, this hurts too much’….it’s where you pull more water in the swim and pick up your stroke speed. It’s the one that tells you that you can indeed mash the pedals harder and push that big ring a little more. It’s the voice that says you can do anything for 15 more minutes so turn over those feet a little faster. The voice that is your proverbial sniper, picking off objects along the way, other participants that are ahead of you, and ultimately the finish line. Learning how to stay in the pain cave for an extended period of time is, well, painful…but important if you’re trying to PR, win the age group, or take the podium.