Lukewarm doesn't cut it.
Once the foundations of physical conditioning are in place, the building can really begin. Whether we are building strength, endurance, or speed - the concept is the same. We want to prepare the mind and body for all of the possibilities it will encounter.
The great news is - we were designed for this. We have fat stores to go long, fast-twitch muscle fibers, to fight and sprint. We have everything in between.
It’s easy to stay in the middle of our comfort zone; working hard, ploughing away and pushing on, but expanding fitness requires stretching and it requires rest. Two questions we can always ask are; Am I rested? Am I (sometimes) going to the limit?
As it is for most animals, most of our exercise ought be gentle, easy and sustainable. We walk, stretch, breathe. Also, some of our exercise will be invigoratingly intense. The cheetah chasing its prey, the boxer going for the knock-out - or the dog who won't get go.
Moderate and consistent effort is the key to success. Once you are secure in knowing that you can go the distance, that your muscles and tendons can do the work - add some intensity to the mix. For a training session (or two) per week: do tempo (race pace) or intervals (short sprints with rest between).
During these times; I try to let go of whatever limits I think I have. I evoke of the feeling of going ‘all-out’ and I recall the words of a coach I knew who reminded me sometimes, “You want to be white-hot. Luke-warm just doesn’t cut it”.
This week; chose the days you feel rested and strong. Go faster, or longer, or deeper than you might feel comfortable with.
Stretch the limits. Feel your wildness. Go for it!