On this show I talk about Mental toughness during your workouts!
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In this episode you’ll learn how to have… Mental toughness during your workouts, plus…
- The process that’s going on with your energy systems.
- Why your brain wants you to slow down.
- What you can do to increase your mental toughness.
- When to hit the gas at the end of a workout.
- And much, much more.
Links from the show
Mental toughness during your workouts
Thanks to CrossFit athlete Jerry for suggesting this topic!
This is something that gets talked about a lot, but I rarely hear about someone addressing the actual point in a workout when your mind is telling you to slow down, but you need to go faster to push your limits.
High Intensity vs. Max Intensity
This is something that Ben Bergeron was talking about, and I really loved how he explained it.
When you’re training… you’re going to be doing a lot of work at a high intensity, but not a max intensity. Let’s call this 80-90% of your max effort.
When you’re competing… you’re going to be going at a max intensity. Unless you don’t need to… If you can win a workout without going to your max intensity, and save some energy for a future workout that you might not be as good at, that is a winning strategy.
Competition Mental Toughness
Let’s talk about that point in a workout when you need to push harder to get a good score or finish.
Example: CrossFit Open workout 19.1 – 15 minutes of, 19 wall balls and 19 calories on the rower.
This is a workout that you go fast at the start, fast in the middle, and faster at the end if you want to get a good score.
But, the whole time you’re in the pain cave.
Here’s how it looks in a workout…
Mins 1-5: you’re actually feeling pretty good! You’re hitting your pacing numbers, and the wall balls are feeling ok.
Mins 5-10: things are really starting to hurt. You’re having to push hard to keep your pace on the rower, and the wall balls are still going ok, but you really want to drop the ball and take a quick break.
This is where mental toughness comes into play first. Your mind starts to tell you that you don’t really need to keep that pace you wanted, and that a quick break on the wall balls will be really fast.
The truth is, you need to stick to the game plan. You have to tell yourself that your mind wants you to be comfortable and you want the opposite of that.
I think this is the hardest part of the workout, and where you’re going to make or break your chances of getting a good score.
There’s still a lot of workout left, and you’re not going to die if you keep up your pace, but your mind is really telling you that you should move back into comfort.
And now it get real
Mins 10-13: This is the point where you are looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. You’re simply holding on the best you can, and trying to get to the last 1-2 minutes where you know you can black out.
If you can hold on during this time… you are setting yourself up to crush the workout.
Mins 13-15: this is where you reach the black out phase, or the time when you know you can push your body to it’s limits, and it will be ok because you can stop for good at the end.
You should also know that your body starts out with 2-3 mins of muscle glycogen stores. It’s anyone’s guess at how much of this is left at the end of the workout, but I can usually feel how long I’m going to be able to push for.
This is the time you actually try to increase your pace to hit your final goal. This is your fastest 1-2 rounds on the rower.
Your muscles are going to burn worse than they ever have, but you laser focus on giving max effort until the buzzer sounds, and that actually makes things feel better!
And you actually don’t stop completing reps until AFTER the judge tells you to stop. NEVER STOP WHEN YOU THINK YOU’RE DONE. Always do at least 1 rep after you think you should be done.
Knowing the Facts
For me, knowing how the energy systems work helps me to know how hard I can push a workout.
Phosphocreatine – Usually 12-15 seconds of explosive work.
Glycogen – Usually from 2-3 minutes of hard’ish work. Think Fran.
Oxygen – Very long!
All three of these system are working at the same time in some respect.
Knowledge is power, and knowing the science helps, but you also have to test yourself to know what it feels like when you’re in the middle of a max effort workout.
I would recommend trying a max effort workout just once a week to get a feeling for your competitive mode.
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