Aug 29, 2019
Get ready for a DEEP discussion of the EAT (the Enhanced Anaerobic Threshold workout). We’re not really talking about the running this time, and we are DEFINITELY not talking about the math, either. We hope this podcast will clarify what the Enhanced Anaerobic Threshold workout REALLY Says About You and Your Race.
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Coach Sarah and Coach MK grew up with complicated relationships to athletics and sports, and they talk about the way privilege plays into that - the way it blurs our ability to gauge effort levels, in particular. The blithe assumption that running by effort is this intuitive thing is one that both coaches have found to be totally wrong, both for themselves and for the athletes they coach.
Sarah tells the story of her evolution as a rower in high school and college, and the way one coach seeing her and taking her seriously and actually TEACHING her to pace herself without expecting that she should already know how to do it was a game-changer for her. The EAT comes with that same assumption - that perhaps you have never learned how to pace yourself or felt comfortable asking for help.
MK discusses where the EAT came from and why she began having her runners do it. As her audience grew, she was shocked to discover that some runners were able to view it as helpful information while others felt like it was a test and a moral judgment of how hardworking, tenacious, and good they were (and ugh, the way “good” and “fast” are treated as synonyms in the running world - we are NOT okay with that).
Coach Sarah goes on to talk about the ways in which the EAT got HARDER mentally after that first one - both because she knew how hard it was and dreaded it, but also because of the number-crunchy way she got into it and tried to use it to predict race outcomes, which almost always led to pressure and heartbreak. It’s still really easy to create all these expectations for race day around what pace you “should” be able to run and what your heart rate “should” be and find yourself disappointed when it doesn’t line up that way. Even Coach Sarah, with the guidance of Coach MK, was totally looking at it wrong, but years of conditioning don’t fall away overnight.
What really changed was time and experience. Doing enough EATs and enough shorter races has taught Sarah a lot about how to gauge pace and effort - in a way that she would never have learned without the safe space to just DO it, a lot, and let the information be just that - information - rather than a judgment about how hard she was working and what a “good” or bad runner she was. We hope today's podcast will help you do the same.
"Doesn't he go row a boat in Gladiator?" - Coach Sarah, in the best quote of the entire podcast, In Our Humble Opinion.