Probably the most important aspect of physical training from what I have witnessed with both professional and amateur athletes is their ability to hold back the turning point. The highest possible output for the lowest possible oxygen cost.
The more efficient you are at that, the better you will race in the long run. So, the work here needs to be “on-point” because it is the “turning-point” of your basic operating efficiency and power.
You can feel this power developing when you are making sustained efforts at threshold. You hit this gripping point where the work kicks in and holds you steadfast to your form bang in the middle of your threshold zone.
Now, if you feel like your form and power are ebbing in longer threshold sets, your form is getting messy and your mental focus is scattered, it’s because you are lacking oxygen dude. So, don’t go looking at your threshold power.
That’s not your problem. You will just dig yourself into a deeper hole. Look at your underpinning aerobic threshold, tempo power and oxygen carrying capacity.
Go and work in that tempo zone, work on the highest possible output for the lowest possible oxygen cost.
Push it, don’t cook it!Keep a high degree of awareness around pace and form. If you can’t seem to be aware of both at the same time, you are going too hard regardless of what your metrics are telling you.
When they begin to truly sync, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s a seamless flow of strength, oxygen, form and speed.
It shows up at the back end of longer threshold sets where you feel the motor hit 5th gear and the power begins to flow through you. The effort settles, the oxygen is meeting the demand and awareness is giving you the embodied feedback on form. You are in physical and psychological command of the effort, you are empowered by it, rather than being a victim of it or feeling like you are at its mercy.
If you are at the mercy of your threshold sessions, you are surviving them, not training your body and mind to thrive in them. In other words, you are wasting your time and effort!
This work is basically the foundation of performance, because you are asking your intelligence to trump your ego.
This is the road to truly thriving in your racing rather than hoping for the best or wishing for good luck.
You don’t need luck.
The smarter you are, the luckier you get.