I’ve finished this book, this week and considered some of the areas it discusses whilst running. The two that I have been trying to understand better are meta cognition (the idea of thinking about thinking) and perceived effort.
The first I have tried on a couple of occasions this week, when running round Regents Park. Both when relaxed and when tired, with a focus on what I should / could or am thinking about. How much of a difference it makes I’m uncertain about, however the act of observing your thoughts as you run, definitely helps, remembering to check in with different sensations, breathing patterns, foot strike, leg turnover, cadence. To do this when tired a lot more demanding and a lot harder to return to – but one worth persisting with.
This brings me to the second focus of perceived effort. It took me 3 readings of Marcora’s Physcobiological model of fatigue – the idea that tiredness is determined by our perception of effort. On Thursday, during my last set of a KM @ 5k pace, tiring badly, breathing heavily and hurting this came to mind, but I was unable to really do too much about it. A certain frustration arose in not being able to push harder through mental gymnastics or strategies – but a positive one out of curiosity as too how I could work on this to my benefit as opposed to one of anger at reaching a wall. Interestingly as soon as I stopped the 1k repeats, walked and then went into the far shorter (but faster) 200m repeats, I was smoother, more relaxed and the percieved effort far less – so fatigue was pushed back and everything went a lot smoother. Maybe the joy of finishing up soon, the chance to run loose and fast for a shot time really helped my frame of mind.
All in all this certainly informed my running on Saturday during the 14k tempo run, around 10-11km when beginning to get fatigued I started to think about perceived effort, how to make easier, think about breathing, slow down a little (as had room within the pace I was trying to hit), relax and really focus on making the last 3k as effortless as possible. This did have an initial bump, then drifted away as I floated back down to the sensations of feet, breath and running action. Clearly something to work on and utilise when running.