The athlete has the same sort of tendency when he's training. There is a terrific temptation to test yourself and to measure your improvement and I believe that's a weakness. I think that you have to resist that temptation and have confidence in yourself and the toughness of your training and know within yourself that it is going to produce results. I'm a great believer in resisting temptation to keep proving yourself to yourself." Quote by Herb Elliott.
Herb is correct when he says succumbing to the temptation to test oneself is a weakness. The athlete that does this may not only be exhibiting a lack of confidence in his training as Elliott states, but may also be allowing his anxiety to get the best of him.I have known many distance runners who regularly deviated from their prescribed workouts to test themselves by going all out in an effort to see if they were, "where they wanted to be". The classic example being the individual who increases the pace during the last 3 miles of his weekly 20 miler down to his 5k racing speed. Doing such things,as most of us know, has the potential to sabotage the success we seek in the future. You see other examples of anxiety getting the best of runners when they do things like: overtrain, not taper properly for big races or ignore impending injury. You can also include athletes who are changing training systems has often as they get new shoes. I recall a friend who used to periodically call and tell me excitedly how he had found THE great training system,then 6 months later he'd call with another one. Chi running,Natural running,Daniel's,Anderson,Galloway,the systems went on and on.
What can be done to avoid giving into temptation and being influenced by anxiety? First off, if you know that your training system is right for you and you have been doing the work that it requires,then write notes on every page of your training log reminding you of that fact.Make it a daily effort to read and consider those notes. Secondly,maybe you do need to do more. Perhaps a light 15 or 20 minute easy jog in the morning during the week will serve to give you the added confidence you need and stifle the anxiety.
Ultimately,it's all part of a mental,as well as a physical toughening process, that occurs when you realize that most people you will race against have not done the type of Stotan training you are doing.