My own theory of competition in sports is simple.
I'm not competing against you.
I'm not competing against the Team.
I'm not competing against the person down the block.
I am, however competing against my yesterday.
Someone once said that the power of compound interest will make you better, all you need to do is keep at it.
In other words, you did it yesterday. Just do it again but apply yourself.
Sure, that's simplistic but so is much of life.
Don't get me wrong, I have a dream. Of Duluth, Minnesota. I would LOVE to go to the North Shore Marathon and skate that. But time, funds, and logistics mean that it probably won't ever happen even if I am at 600 miles on the bike this year and nearing a lifetime career 24,000 miles on skates.
On the other hand, you need to be able to measure all this "stuff" right?
You can look at your watch, skate for a longer time.
You can measure your distance, run further.
You can look at your speed, bike faster.
All that is normally done once you have your feet up and have looked at all the gear that is needed while you are doing your thing, but you have to actually finish what you are doing.
How can you tell in a very basic and concrete way that you are not "killing yourself" while you are out there doing your favorite pastime?
Sure this doesn't work in a swimming pool so you swimmers may have to wait for the end of a "lap", but here we go...
It's called "The Talk Test", and it is much simpler than you expect.
The rule is basic. You're going at your favorite exercise. Full speed. You're feeling good, spry, and worked. How do you know that you are overdoing it?
Say a sentence. Talk to someone, even yourself. If your voice seems highly labored, you've gone too far and need to dial it down, take it back a notch. Too relaxed? Speed up.
On the other hand, this is so basic that you forget you are doing it.
When I skate or bike, I have on a sport watch. It is constantly checking my heart rate. I have a rate I like to hit, the average should be above 150, and the higher the better. I have averaged over 160 and for my age bracket, that is probably higher than it should be for an endurance workout.
But like my doctor said "I'm not worried about you".
There are wrinkles to this one and I have a habit of annoying anyone around me or at least alerting them to my presence.
Not really a bad thing.
The last time I was out on the bike, I was enjoying myself. I was carving a groove in the bike lanes, even though my normal route was interrupted by a police action and I had to cycle through the neighborhood.
Minor setback for me. I was saying, "Out Loud", to anyone who might have heard that I felt bad for the "kids in the high school" that had their learning interrupted by what was going on more than my having to "bike through this hood" to get my cardio burn on.
I passed a few people on that lap and when I came back I did not realize that one specific woman was there when I said "Around-and-around-and-around".
She responded "And you eventually get some serious distance done!".
I laughed at the goodhearted comment and realized that as a big guy with a big voice, I should watch the big words in case I interrupt someone else's routing.
So while you are out there, "Under Power" consider just repeating a sentence. It could be as simple as "I'm enjoying this workout!". Listen to how you say it. It should be clear and crisp.
Oh and if that sounds to soft and forced-upbeat, remember "Mind Over Matter" works too. Your mind in a positive state will help you do more and make you feel better than saying "I hate this workout".
Trust me, I used to be extremely asthmatic, and the first actual run I ever did was less than the perimeter of my mom's house.
Now, I'm most certainly, not.