My uncle Frank used to call it digging the well. Back in the 80's, when I was a teenager, uncle Frank introduced me to long distance cycling. He used the phrase to describe hard training, pushing back limits, the process of building of a deep reserve of strength and will to draw upon when things get tough, when you needed to go to the well.
The image stuck with me. I picture shoveling dirt, doing the hard work, again and again, to create a space to store that something extra to call upon in times of need. The well must be dug deep enough and big enough to meet the needs of the event. I also knew that an empty well is just a hole. To make it useful, you have to dig it far enough in advance so that, while you rest and recover, it can fill with the reserves that you may one day need. With the 768 mile Paris-Brest-Paris ride just over six weeks away, now is the time to dig the well.