Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Puke Threshold

Dr. Viper has diagnosed the problem from Saturday's 10K. It wasn't that I started too fast. Or that I pushed too hard in the end. Or that I was hexed. Or that I didn't drink enough. The problem was I barfed. Plain and simple.

Had I not upchucked, I would have surely smashed my previous 10K. Hitherto Saturday's race I have always been able to choke back any regurgitation or wait until I crossed the finish. When I stumbled to a walk at the intersection and retched in front of the the cop and race staffer, I wondered why this was happening.

After a few brainstorming Sessions last night, I finally have the answer.

This fruitful post first sprouted in May after I helped inspire Marcy to cover all the bases and write about the one bodily fluid she hadn't covered: vomit. It was in the comments of that post that I revealed for the first time ... the Puke Threshold.

We runners know about lactate threshold. And we drinkers know about puking. For both activities, there is a point at which you can no longer hold it back, and that is the Puke Threshold.

This is not a static line. Akin to all things running and drinking related, the Puke Threshold can be improved upon. Drinkers can improve their tolerance by drinking more. And likewise, runners can improve their tolerance by running more. But more specifically, by running harder and faster.

If you don't practice the ability to keep it in, you won't be able to do it come race day. And that's where I failed. Typically, during intervals and tempo workouts, I will approach my Puke Threshold, either during a repeat or as I practice my finishing kick at the end of a mid-distance run. However, except for the last-minute 800s last week, I had not done any high-intensity runs for weeks. This is no way to maintain anti-honking skills.

To improve your Puke Threshold, you must push yourself. Feel that tightening in your guts. Relish the oh lordy moment. Enjoy your ability to not disgorge on bystanders. Practice is the only way to recruit those fast-clench fibers you'll need on race day.

If running harder and faster improves your Puke Threshold, then I'm sure drinking harder and faster will do the same.

But remember, if by chance you have to spew, please do so in the proper receptacle.



Run well and drink well.

8 comments:

RazZDoodle said...

Wow. The puke threshold. Now, ALL running topics have been covered.

Hey, remember when Mike Meyers was funny?

Vanilla said...

Strangely enough I've never puked during a run, although mentioning that is probably just the same as guaranteeing that it will happen soon.

chia said...

Remind me to never get faster than you. I'm happy being 10 minutes behind the spewinator :-).

Ted said...

Ahem - lovely post ! I just lost my appetite from reading this. It's quite educational dude! I have never barfed while running and hope I won't have to deal with this in the future.

Marcy said...

I'd puke too if I were that homie in that pic. Those shorts are horrific LOL

Maybe I will have to try this. I don't know though, I'm a little on the wimpy side when it comes to pushing myself on the run.

Xenia said...

A slightly disturbing theory but it makes some sense.

So, do you generally have a not-so-strong stomach or is it just that way when you run?

Nitmos said...

I love that brief surreal moment in time when you've crossed the Puke Threshold and feel it coming up and there is nothing further that cane be done. It's liberating....until the violent heaving ensues. Until then you have a small window to contemplate taste, texture, and bystander reaction in the Puke Interim.

M2Marathon said...

LOL, I always wondered who coined the term so oft used nowadays. I have been practicing improving my puke threshold--both running and drinking--since high school. I have gotten considerably better, on both accounts.