As I’m writing this, my wonderful wifey Jodie is driving as we will be back at home tonight for the first time in about 6 weeks. As you may know, we were in S, Padre TX hanging out, kiteboarding, and working too.
The day that we headed out, I was scheduled to do my 2,000 M rowing test. Initially, I had it scheduled for the Friday before, but things got crazy with looming deadlines and I pushed it out to the morning we were leaving.
That Monday AM hit, and I was up at 530 am to get the SUV all packed up with a massage table, 4 kites, 3 kiteboards plus a surfboard, 2 kettlebells, blender, and the essentials like a stainless steel french press coffee pot. Oh, and a few t-shirts.
In addition I was working on client follow-ups and an online project.
All the time I had the 2K looming in the background.
I really did not want to do it. Not that ever want to do a 2K rowing test, I really really did not want to do this one.
My brain ran through all the reasons why I should just bag it.
I only slept 6 hours the night before.
I was stressed and only ate 1 meal that AM.
My HRV score was dog poo.
Nobody would know if I did not do it.
That last one is a lie. I would know if I did not do it. I will not be a coach/trainer who does not eat his own dog food. Be the proof (1).
The big downside was I knew I would not do it once we got to S. Padre 3+ days later and it would be many weeks before i was home again.
I ran the experiment of flashing forward to the future and asked the question “Would I regret not doing the test?”
The answer was a resounding “yes.”
That sealed it, I must do the test.
I grabbed a caffeine tablet 45 minutes before and finished my last task.
I walked out into the gym, did my RPR warm up, and then my warm up on the rower for only 4 minutes,
Cranked up some old Five Finger Death Punch “The Way of the Fist” and strapped in. I summed my inner David Goggins and it is go time! Time to Goggins this shit.
My warm-up was super short, but felt quite good.
The first 500M nasal breathing felt good and I was on pace.
The next 500M I stayed on pace with mostly nasal breathing still.
Then the next 500M hit and I was hurting. I switched to nasal in and mouth out breathing working to just keep my pace. I kept repeating “Drive, Drive, Drive” to cue myself to keep pushing with my legs to transfer that tension from my legs to the rowing handle.
The end is now in sight and only 500M to go.
My legs were starting to burn big time. It feels like someone replaced my leg muscles with concrete. It was hard to keep the nasal inhale and mouth exhale. Everything started to hurt and my lungs were burning.
I changed my cue to “Go / Smooth, Go / Smooth” to keep using my legs and not start flopping around like a hyperventilating meth monkey.
Only 200M left, time to drop the hammer more. I literally can’t see anything else in the room other than the PM5 rowing screen. I changed my breathing to mouth in and out now.
Only 100M left, PR is well within sight, just keep the same pace, smooth, go, smooth, go.
I’d love to say that I stayed on the rower and immediately switched to nasal breathing like an Arctic cucumber post-cold water immersion.
I performed a controlled fall off the rower to collapse on the floor in the fetal position breathing like a wheezing freight train for the first 2 minutes.
Soon I could sit up and then eventually stand up.
In the end, I did a 4 second PR at 7:28 despite the “poor” timing of it, short sleep, less caffeine than usual before, high stress, low food, no carb load, and rushed warm-up.
The key lesson here is that not every training session is going to be “perfect.”
In fact, few days will be perfect.
Most days will be average.
As Dan John has said (paraphrasing here) “80 % of your training will be average and just get it done, 10% will be amazing and you will feel like you are on top of the world, 10% will just utterly suck.”
When you have put in the work, finish it with the planned testing unless you are 100% convinced you will be injured and need to abort. If you are not sure, test.
The data is what the data is at the end.
It is only feedback.
Having that feedback will make you better.
Train your brain and body to do hard things.
Go forth and conquer,
1) A big phrase I learned from Dr Sachin Patel – thank you my friend for that lesson.
2) Photo Credit: By edwardolive