#ShitFit: Finding success in Failures

Last week I was introduced to the middle distance suicide workout. It’s awful. You want to barf. You want to cry. You want to fall asleep where you are standing. You have zero faith that you can actually make it through the workout.

What is this horrible monstrosity? It’s a 800m breakdown. You do a 600m at 800m pace, you take 30 seconds ‘recovery’  or ‘rest’ and then you run another 200m.

That 30 seconds is no ‘recovery’ or ‘rest.’ All that happens is that you become very aware of how fatigued you are and how sore your legs are. In that 30 seconds only your phosphagen (a-lactic) system can recover – you might get 12 seconds in that 200 where you feel ‘ok,’ after that you are keenly aware of the fatigue in your system. And really you just want to stop; your legs are screaming ‘Please stop. Please stop, NOW!’

You can imagine that finishing the workout isn’t easy, if you finish it at all.

Let me introduce you to the workout ShitFit (Quoting Rolston Miller):

A shit defined is “momentary loss of bodily control or functions due to super human physical output, followed by immediate desire to quit sport.  Condition is cured by next great workout or performance, or a very large bowl of ice cream.”

I watched as a teammate ‘hit the wall’ and was forced not to complete her last 200m. While it’s an individual effort, we work as a team, and I was hurting for her. She had all the signs of a ShitFit, she wanted to quit running, she didn’t see why it was worth, and she may have even hated the sport for a moment. She had a exercise induced ShitFit.

Sarah Brown sums it up nicely here:

in our sport there will be days when you succeed and days when you fail but the people who are ultimately successful are the ones who can learn how to maintain a level head through the good and the bad.”

To be successful, sports, academics, arts, etc you have to stumble. How you recover and learn from that stumble is what creates true champions. My teammate was back at the next workout. She ran with grace. She ran with strength. And she ran really fast! She had finally and completely recovered from her ShitFit.

You can have as many exercise induced ShitFits as you want in any season. Although I don’t recommend more than 1 or 2; after that you’re going too much into the well in too many workouts and you probably aren’t getting the gains and recovery you should be.

Oh, And it’s called the suicide workout because you don’t just have to do it once! You do it multiple times! (Although you do get much more recovery between those sets!)