I managed to put in ten miles on the treadmill this weekend. In a single session, minus the reset time in the middle because the machine doesn’t let you plug in more than an hour at a go. Yes, it’s as exciting as it sounds.
That said, it was interesting. My lungs held up. My legs didn’t get tired, really. I knew, going in, that I was going at a pace that I’d been able to sustain for every (lesser) distance I’d previously attempted at that speed.
It’s the other things that went wrong that fascinated me. My right calf started to seize up around mile 8. My left knee grew progressively wobblier. The basic conditioning was there, but the weaknesses in the mechanical underpinnings were starting to emerge in a way that I never could have found without a prolonged stress test like this one.
Now that it’s been a year (almost) of running my own business full time, I’m seeing parallels to that run. I know I can sustain a certain pace, with small sprints mixed in, and in theory I can do that forever. But the holes in the underlying structure start to appear after a while. You can push through most of it, but ultimately, just like with the long run, if you ignore the problems for too long, you’ll get an injury that takes you out of the game for months. In fitness, that’s a setback. In business, it can be fatal.
The end of December is a great time to notice this stuff and put plans in place to address them. Everyone else is slacking off, and of course you’ve got the choice to do the same, or you can push through and try to accelerate past them, but as a third option, I’d strongly recommend looking for those aching joints and cramping muscles, and see if you can get some basic maintenance put into play to prevent problems in the next quarter.