Vertical KM – Mental Fortitude


Jedi Mind Tricks N°1 – Tune in with your body

The most ever important part of your whole physical training is mental fortitude. Mental muscle endurance. Being able to concentrate and not lose focus. The best way to train this part of your body is pacing and training with sustained easy, moderate and hard paces with no breaks. I find that gradual uphill and flat surfaces with no stop-lights and road crossings are the most suitable.
When I said paces, I most likely mean effort and not only perceived but relative effort too. Heart Rate ! Evenly maintained heart rate !

Your ultimate goal is to run/ride at a predetermined heart rate, without looking at your watch.

I use a round bike track and an uphill road near my house. I warm up, get on to any heart rate, like 145 – 155 – 165 – 170 (HRMAX193). I hold my HR and do not let it fluctuate. 

Jedi Mind Tricks N°2 – Timed Visualisation

Imagining crossing the finnish line first and going through race scenes while smiling and running with a perfect form is great. Doing focussed daydreaming about managing and over coming pain and hard situations is also very beneficial.

I will tell you here about a different kind of visualisation about your daily training. You need to learn a couple of things before, what you can implement. For instance breathing. Wim Hof style, box breathing, O2 or CO2 tables. I am not gonna explain them here, but you can look them up on the tube or google.

You are going to run let’s say 10 x 400m on the track at 10am. 2 hours before, you plan a visualisation session.
You lie down on the floor and close your eyes. In about 2-3 minutes you go through your 30minutes of warming up and line up for your first interval. What you will do is as you begin the first 400, you start your stopwatch and start the “hard-style” breathing practice. If you can predict each lap correctly, like your pre-planed real training effort, your mind is going to be adjusted and “strengthened” , as it will know what to expect. Do the exact same thing, with a calming breathing, like a simple deep nasal abdominal respiration or box-breathing for the recovery interval. You press your split/lap button each time you start a new section.

Goal Circuit Time 400m 1:15 – Recovery 60sec:

  • Scenario 1 : Hard Breathing 1:00 – Recovery 45sec – Hard Breathing 1:12 – Recovery 65sec – Hard Breathing 1:16 – Recovery 61sec… (!!! Must improve it !!!)
  • Scenario ideal: Hard Breathing 1:15 – Recovery 60sec – Hard Breathing 1:14 – Recovery 61sec – Hard Breathing 1:15 – Recovery 58sec – Hard Breathing 1:13 – Recovery 61sec…

You can start  out by looking at your watch for the first two/three rounds, then you take off your eyes and try guessing, imagining and predicting. The advantage of this kind of training is, that it is doable often enough to have long-lasting benefits. Going through a 21km with 70minutes of hard concentration while laying on the floor is possible, but it is hard and needs time. Breaking up your visualisation to intervals and then executing them in real-time just a couple of hours later is a lot easier !

If at least once you can do the same, like going through warming up and then increasing your breathing slowly and getting into the groove of your race and finishing your race on the time you predicted, that will be epic. It is going to cost you about 35 to 60minutes but the benefits are enormous !

Your whole goal is to be as close to the predicted times, regardless it was your shorter interval session or the whoel race time !

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