1. You can (easily) sign up for an Ironman or an ultra run; you should consider your experience and time commitment to train for that distance.
2. You can add another interval; you should stick to the workout plan, finishing with energy.
3. You can increase weekly training time; you should follow your overall training arc.
4. You can run (considerably) faster; you should focus on aerobic efficiency in zone 2.
5. You can race faster in the first half; you should pace wisely and aim for negative splits.
6. You can produce higher power than Ironman watts; you should train at Ironman watts (and distance) as you get closer to your race.
7. You can swim five minutes faster in an Ironman; you should swim with ease and comfort considering that it’s a long day.
8. You can perform a long workout with minimum food and hydration; you should have and execute a personalized and best practices nutrition plan that will carry you through race day.
9. You can add workouts to your recovery or taper week; you should recover and adapt.
10. You can eat a pan of brownies post workout; you should eat your macronutrients (and a brownie).
We have many opportunities to “can,” but disciplined athletes know how to “should.” “Can” is the easy path, while “should” trends uphill. Which road will you choose? -Jim
Bonus calibrations from Coach Katie:
You can do all of your mid-run speedwork on downhills so it feels easier; you should incorporate race pace into flat and uphill terrain to better prepare for hilly races.
You can ignore a niggle during your workout and tell yourself that you’ll deal with it when the workout is done; you should back off when your body is telling you something is wrong.