Bertrand Baron recognized this fact. In his paper on emotions and pacing, he presented a 21-point scale of affective load in which an athlete’s current AL was calculated as the difference between his positive (pleasure) and negative (pain) affect levels. In other words, enjoyment and suffering were understood to coexist in varying degrees of intensity in different exercise circumstances. If you are experiencing maximum enjoyment and minimum suffering during a run, your AL score will be -10. If you are experiencing minimum enjoyment and maximum suffering, your score will be +10. And if you are experiencing equal amounts of suffering and enjoymenteither a little or a lot of eachyour AL will be 0. Besides a high fitness level, the other major factor that allows a runner to enjoy individual workouts and races is general enjoyment of the training process. This, too, is something that Baron recognized. In a discussion of the need for training to tolerate greater affective loads, he stated: €œHowever, training at lower levels of AL must also be performed in order to restore and to maximize not only the physiological capacities, but also the optimal AL level. If this is ignored, overload of both the physiological and cognitive mechanisms will occur, leading to underperformance. This analysis predicts that underperformance can be due to physiological but also to emotional disorders as it is often suggested by elite athletes. In this passage, Baron wrote as if taking it easy sometimes in training were the only way to keep the training process enjoyable. But as you know from reading Chapter 2, there are other ways, among them developing a customized training system that appeals to your preferences. Contrary to the CrossFit ethos, following your bliss in this manner does not constitute wimping out. In fact, it is one of the best ways to try harder and race tougher.

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