No pattern is too trivial to note. For example, in my own use of this system I discovered that I never experienced a 3 (enjoyable) run right after a 1 (bad) run. In the best case, there was always at least one 2 that served as a bridge between them. Since discovering this pattern, I have been able to adjust my expectations for the next run or two after a bad run so that I do not freak out as much when they aren’t great. Some of the most valuable patterns you will find will be on the macro level.

Pay attention to how your enjoyment level changes as the training process unfolds. After monitoring your enjoyment level through a few training cycles, you might find that your enjoyment level begins to slide after, say, 16 weeks of focused training for a peak race. If there are indications that your performance plateaus at approximately the same time, you have pretty good evidence that you need to shorten your training cycles to avoid peaking early and becoming stale before race day. Be aware that dips in enjoyment are not always bad.

A dip is bad only if it is connected to a dip in performance. While your performance will never improve according to your expectations during protracted periods of low running enjoyment, suffering through a brief period of low enjoyment now may enable you to enjoy training more later and perform better. Many competitive runners benefit from periods of overreaching, when they train a little harder than their bodies can handle but then cut back and recover just before the excessive training causes a precipitous performance decline.



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