Competitive Outlets

Yesterday I witnessed some terrible behaviour. I dropped into a store where they had nappies extra cheap. Might as well stock up on some. Being as cheap as they were there was a bit of a crowd. A few of these people were completely obnoxious, some women were pushing each other out of the way, there was a yelling match and one rammed her trolley into another so she could get there first. They were so caught up in fighting and having to get it before anyone else they actually missed all the extra stock in piles next to the main stand.

Sometimes competition brings out the worst in people. While I enjoy competition, I prefer to keep it to appropriate outlets such as racing, or even just against myself. Used correctly it can bring out the best in you.

After being disgusted by the behaviour of some people I headed over to the athletics track to work on my own competitive nature. The session I performed I've nicknamed the Tegla. It is based on a workout I have read that Tegla Loroupe regularly performed in the lead up to her New York marathon win. My version consists of:

30min warm up of light stretching, mobility drills, progressive run with a few run throughs.
2 x 2000m @ 10km race pace (today I was in lane 3 so time were corrected for the extra distance)
3 x 1000m @ faster than 10km race pace (about 8km pace)
2 x 400m @ 1500m race pace
5 x 200m @ max effort (hopefully faster than 800m pace)
All intervals have a 60sec walk recovery between them.
At the end is a cool down of 20-30min.

This is one of my all time favourite workouts. While it is demands an already existing high level of fitness, once this is achieved it is a very doable workout that covers all bases. Specific race pace work at and a bit above 10km race pace develops efficiency at race pace, stimulates lactate turnover (anaerobic threshold) and develops aerobic capacity. The short to moderate recoveries ensure lactate and hydrogen ion build does not limit performance at this stage. The two 400m repeats develop speed endurance with the moderate increase in hydrogen ions stimulating anaerobic capacity at late race levels. The final 200m repeats are run as fast as possible. It doesn't much more race like than trying to lift that final surge to the finish line when your body is screaming at you to stop.

Yet despite the 8.8km of running at 10km race pace or faster, the session somehow works mentally. The way it is broken up somehow makes it's easier. The cool down consists of steady running over trails for 20-30 minutes. At this stage the pace generally settles to just above the aerobic threshold, also termed the first threshold. The point at which blood lactate rises slightly above baseline, or the point at which lipid metabolism is usually at its maximum. It covers all bases, takes about 1 hour and 40min to complete and with constant adjustment to 10km race pace is an excellent guide to current fitness. Based on yesterday where I hit all my paces exactly except for one 1000m repeat, my fitness is well balanced at the moment.


  1. wow...very tough workout.

    Nice job hitting your paces!


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