One way to know if you will hit the wall before race day rolls around
Here is an all-too-common but entirely preventable problem that I used to encounter over and over again in my training:
Missed warning signs
Now that I look at so much running data and talk to so many runners, I realize that it was not just a problem I faced.
I am sure you know the scenario.
- Training feels like it is going great.
- Expectations build and build and build.
- You begin to dream up how fast you will run on race day.
- That goal keeps getting higher and higher every day as you talk yourself into faster and faster goals.
- Race day rolls around and you walk up the start line with zeal and confidence.
- Midway through the race, you run into the wall, struggle through the back half of the race, and log one of your slowest times of the last few years.
After the race is complete, reality sets in and it is clear that your expectations were too high.
You do a mental review your training and you begin to pick out all the warning signs that you didn't see at the time.
Why are warning signs missed?
Here is the problem: most are not obvious.
If they were obvious, they would have been picked up and your training would have been adjusted before race day every rolled around.
One of the most common non-obvious warning signs that runners miss is insufficient speed-endurance.
Speed-endurance is how long you can handle to run at your target speed.
A balance must be struck.
If the speed is too high, you will hit the wall before the race is over because you won't have sufficient endurance to maintain that speed.
If the speed is too low, you will be leaving time out on the course.
Most runners have to wait to discover if they struck the right balance by racing.
There is no warning sign to tell them if their goal is too aggressive.
What if there was a way to determine the right balance before race day?
It is possible if you use two metrics that Stryd provides.
Power and Leg Spring Stiffness
You should already know what power is: the intensity you are running at.
Leg Spring Stiffness is how well you are recycling energy and can be used as an indicator for muscle fatigue. If your Leg Spring Stiffness goes down as a run goes on, that indicates you are getting tired and that you have to work harder to maintain the same power output because you are rebounding less energy from every stride.
Here is an example of how these metrics can be used together:
Let's say you are preparing for a half marathon.
You do a 6 mile effort at race power in preparation for the race and you successfully hold that power from start to finish of your training run.
You look at your data post-run and you see that Leg Spring Stiffness begins to drop at 5 miles into the workout.
That is warning sign that fatigue began to set in.
What will happen if you try to hold that same power on race day?
You will likely hit the wall midway through the race because of overwhelming muscle fatigue.
For any race-paced workouts, it is smart to monitor Leg Spring Stiffness.
If Leg Spring Stiffness begins to drop in a workout like this, that indicates that you may not have sufficient speed-endurance to run at that intensity on race day.
You can heed this warning sign by improving your endurance to run at that fast speed.
Or, you need to run a bit slower at a more manageable intensity.
Warning signs are not always obvious, but most warning signs can be caught with data.
If you would like to begin collecting data so you can catch warning signs and adjust your training before race day comes around, you should be running with Stryd.
You can get that at the link below: