I may be on to something here. I've been complaining for a while how I've been feeling flat in my runs and rides. expecting that I should be able to do better, faster or go farther. Having taken things easier this summer after my last race in July, I think these expectations are the problem.
I recall hearing somewhere that you either train to go farther, or you train to go faster, but you should never do both at the same time. I think I'm doing just that - expecting to do what I did earlier in the year (and which has now atrophied a bit) but faster. So today, even though I really, really didn't feel like it, I went for a run and tried to put this new revelation to the test.
Last week I was doing fartleks and 1km threshold intervals over 7-9kms. Today, I warmed up for about 500m and then pushed myself at or above threshold for the rest of the run, which was no more than half of what I would usually do. Mentally I wasn't really there...until I passed someone who thought I'd make a good pace bunny. Then it became a competition. :) For nearly half of the loop, I tried to "crack the whip" and get him off my tail. He stuck with me, but he was breathing hard (so was I but he had an iPod on so he couldn't hear me). :D I crossed the Prettoria Bridge, and unfortunately he didn't follow, so I had to use my own determination to keep going. I don't think I did as well without him.
It was hard, but fun. I'll definitely do more runs like this, but I still need to change them up a bit. Rather than going +90% for one or two km's at a time, I think I need to do 400m or 800m intervals or risk burnout. I'll need to ensure that I check my ego at the door to ensure I run my run the way I should, and not based on the other runners out there whipping my butt. :)