Actually there's no specific name to it. But I've been reading some quotes and blog posts and that's what they call it - fear training. What it means is that the fear of having someone overtaking you pushes you to the max - hence good solid training. Basically for me it's just another version of being competitive. When I first came across it I didn't give it much heed. I aim to have fun and sweat a little, if not a lot, and definitely not to egg on each other.
But like bad days, good days do come once in a while, and sometimes I do get caught up in the race. There's always been this person who is more or less my pace and fitness in our group, and recently I noticed that there's been a sudden competition going on between us. I didn't really notice it because I am always content with my pace when everybody else shoots off, but I realized whenever I am passing her she picks up pace and follow suit... only to pass me back, and on and on it goes. It does get awkward sometimes, especially when I was not there to 'compete'. I sometimes try to make remarks or strike up a conversation, (like, "Urgh, hate this part,") to let her know that I'm not being competitive, I'm just passing you, but she picks up her pace and leave me for another chasing game.
A few weeks back I we were out and somewhere in between after countless of her-passing-me and vice versa, I got bored. This was supposed to be fun and now it's not, I mean, I could feel her thinking, Oh gotta pass her, everytime I passed her. It felt like high school, with adrenaline. Sometimes I am hesitant to overtake her because it'll be awkward. Not fun.
My competitive juices started trickling in. I felt my heart and my chest getting warm, ready to attack. Almost immediately I saw target holes on her back. But I am no fool - she is strong. And fast. She is not some lightweight. If I want to play this game, I have to play it well.
So I began attacking, slowly, pacing pacing, and when I passed her, I went all out, out out. I could hear her picking up speed behind me, trying to catch on. My heart was pumping hard, my legs working furiously. I felt like flying, I felt good - and scared. Scared she's going to catch up, never let me go. Scared that she'll overtake me, when it's obvious just then that I overtook her on purpose.
I'm telling you the truth: I was scared. Terrified out of my mind with the thought of her on my lead, closing the gap, and passing me. My heartbeat started to calm down even when my legs maintain their pace. SCARED. Was that her at the back? Didn't even want to look, afraid of being too obvious. So I pushed harder, and harder, and harder. When will we reach the end? I thought furiously, taking care not to breathe erratically.
And at last, the place where we stop to rest. Awesome. I looked behind and she was nowhere to be seen. Hah! I thought, but only for a moment. I don't do this in sport. Fear training is ok, if you keep the game all to yourself, but this is bad. To me at least. I want to ego in this world of mine. When she came to, it was a merry ho-ho-ho affair. But I could tell she was pissed (at herself? myself?). Slacked on the rest of the remaining route. She said she was tired, but I think she was just discouraged. I've been there before, to want to beat someone so bad only to lose out - it guts your ego apart. To make it up to her, I paced with her, and striked a conversation, to keep things easy and light. To let her know that it's all about enjoying the workout, not about who's better then who.
Fear training: I love it, and hate it. Love the awesome workout, but hate the 'competitiveness' of it.