Personal bests are a funny thing…well that’s a lie they aren’t but anyone that follows my twitter feed may notice that I seem to be setting a lot of them recently!
There is no real point to this post (is there to any?) but I just wanted to note my thoughts! Its more of a rambling thought process in my head than a coherent report…..there’s a shock!
My 100m swim time has, in the last two weeks, dropped from 1.36 to 1.32 to 1.28 and now to 1.25 - I genuinely think this not because I have got 11 seconds ‘fitter’ or that my technique has got 11 seconds ‘better’ but so much of it has to do with how hard I am prepared to go…don’t get me wrong, I always go hard when trying to achieve a ‘pb’ but there is a difference between hard and really, muscle burning, lung popping, nearly dead hard! (I should note that all my 100m attempts come at the same time, in the same session – after a mile of drills and 100m splits)
There is also a lot to do with the fact that I only recently started timing myself consistently so these times will drop reasonably quickly before reaching a plateau!
Something that I am also conscious of is, as mentioned by @tomstraining in his blog – the subconscious –although I can’t check my time during a 100m swim, I always know if it’s fast or not – does my subconscious become aware of this and go in to preservation mode so that I do ‘just enough’ to beat a pb! I think this is relevant in all three sports, though certainly easier to manage with running and cycling as there is a computer in front of you giving real time pacing info – just a matter of pushing harder (!)
My running pb’s will change quickly because I am new to it – I would expect to set a new pb in most races I enter! Cycling too in a way because although I have done a lot more – these days I am always pushing harder and getting lighter – though again the subconscious comes in to play in those last few miles of hard ride…the bulk of the work is done, I can ease off at still set my pb….it happens so easily!
It’s a cliché, but imagine what pb’s we or I could achieve if I could get myself to push 100% of the time, right to the finish line….I guess that refers back to my original point before about being 11 seconds faster – so much of is the belief of how hard you can push – every time I set-out on a 100m swim pb attempt I come in breathing hard and happy with what I have achieved, as its at the end of my set I then warm down and I’m done…then next time, I get back in I know how hard I pushed last time and survived, lets go a bit harder…boom a new pb! Again…what if I could train myself to go 100% right from the start every time – to really blast myself and to know I have given anything, literally everything!
I guess that isn’t the point of training, you physically can’t go 100% all the time, you’ll burn out – that’s what we don’t set pb’s every time we go out for a session! You build your body up over a period of time so that you can set pb’s!
I suppose I’ve come full circle in what was I was saying but in effect the idea of setting a pb isn’t based purely on physical effort and body conditioning – so much of it is in the mind – so is a pb a true reflection of how fit we are and what we can achieve? No I don’t think it is (unless your crazy and go 100% all the time), there is always more it’s just a matter of convincing your mind that its there!
Maybe the few that really set the world on fire and have gone to that next level – Chrissie Wellington, Lance Armstrong, Usain Bolt, have the ability to go that extra distance…..its not doping, it’s the going beyond what your brain thinks!
Having said that, the ‘pb’ is the only measureable (unfortunately you can’t measure potential) so I suppose it is a reflection…just a slightly skewed one!
My pb’s however will continue to fall, because I will keep pushing myself and if I reach my physical limit, I know I’ve got a heap load of mental potential (it rhymes) to break through….so sorry if it seems that I post a PB every week but I’m only just breaking the iceberg!
As of today they are:-
100m swim = 1.25
400m swim = 6.16
1 mile swim = 28.17
10k run = 46.46
10 mile cycle TT = 28.27
I reckon I could beat a number of them on any given day because I know I have more mental strength than last time…its just convincing my brain that it’s the case!
this whole thing is a journey and its conquering the fear of the unknown...I just want to know it all and push myself right to that very edge...