I have been playing around with endurance athletic events for a couple of years now. I’ve run several half-marathons (Disney Princess 2014, Lighthouse Loop 2014, Reindeer Racer 2014, Melbourne Music 2015, Tomoka Half 2015), a full marathon (Space Coast 2014), a half iron-distance triathlon (Gulf Coast Triathlon 70.3 2015), and I’m about to tackle my 2nd 70.3 at Beach2Battleship in 2 weeks and then embark upon training for Ironman Florida (or other 140.6) in 2016. To prepare for these events, I’ve logged thousands of training/racing miles (to be precise: Swimming: 120.63 miles; Biking: 3,699.48 miles; Running: 1,079.74 miles) and I have come to the conclusion that there is a phenomenon in play that I have dubbed “The 75% Rule of ‘The Suck.'”
The 75% Rule states that any workout/race will feel awesome up to the 75% of total time and/or distance prescribed, at which point it will SUCK!
I have looked back over my own training logs and blog entries and this rule seems to bear out over and over again – whether it is a 2 mile training run, a 5K race, a marathon or a 70.3.
Of course, I am a completely unscientific sample size of ONE, but the rule tends to hold.
At Space Coast Marathon last year, I felt AWESOME until about the 19.5 mile mark… 75%
At GCT in May, I was golden until about mile 43 of the bike when my feet started going numb… 75% (the run sucked the entire way because of cramping – another story)
Last Wednesday, I had a 12 mile training run and everything was awesome until 9 miles – then I was pretty sure death was imminent… 75%
On Saturday, Megan and I went over to Clermont and rode 112 miles. I felt FANTASTIC through the entire first loop (56 miles) and even into the 2nd loop. The wheels started coming off at about 85 miles, when I really just wanted to throw my bike in a ditch and walk back to the car… 75%
Heck, even yesterday I had a simple 3 mile run and I swore I was going to die at the 2-1/4 mile mark… 75%
Obviously there is a major mindset thing at work here. I need to come up with a way to honestly fool myself into thinking I have to go further than I really have to go. If I could persuade my mind to believe that I have to run 10 miles when I really only have to run 7 or that I have to ride 75 miles when I really only have to go 56…
I’m usually pretty good with the mind games, but I would love to hear how you “trick” your mind during long (or short) workouts. Leave your thoughts in the “Comments” section below.
Of course, at the end of the day, I know that the point at which the workout begins to “suck” is the point at which I start improving. So, while I look for this magic mindset that will conquer the 75% Rule, I will take solace in the fact that every day, with every workout, I get just a little bit better.