Just keep swimming…

The next two weeks of my training schedule are a bit screwy, specifically with regards to swimming.  As we’re nearing the end of the summer (at least in terms of school starting back up and such), the county indoor pools, where I normally swim, are closed for maintenance, so three of the outdoor pools have opened up for early morning lap hours.

One of the outdoor pools is actually closer to my house and is a 50 meter pool, so I prefer it, but normally, they don’t have early lap hours, so early morning swims are out.

So this week, I was excited!  It was a change in my routine, and the outdoor pool doesn’t really have a locker room where I can get ready for work, so it meant going home after swim instead of straight to work, but that’s okay!

I misjudged the traffic and got to the pool about 10 minutes before the 6am opening.  Not a big deal.  But then there’s no movement inside.  6:00 hits.  Nothing.  I think maybe they’re waiting til 6:15, when the attached indoor pool opens.  Nope.  So I go venturing over to the indoor pool building.  Nothing there, just a sign saying they’re closed with an arrow pointing to the outdoor pool entrance.  So I go back over. There’s another guy waiting there too.

Then I notice something.  There are PEOPLE IN THE POOL!  How did they get in?  I am smart, I can figure this out.

Turns out that the pool is open, but rather than open any of the entrances, one of the side gates is open and you can just walk in.  Awesome.  So I get my workout started about 30 minutes late.  At least there’s a lane available to share.

Then my lane partner leaves and this guy joins me and he hits me no less than 11 times during my workout.  Because he had to do this weird backstroke the whole time.  Jerk.

Wednesday Workout Recap

Race day is coming.  Oh, it’s coming.  Thankfully, this was a step back week, so it wasn’t toooooo terrible.

Monday – Rest Day

Tuesday – Long interval swim sets.  Yay?  Actually, I really like these.  Mentally, it’s nice to break my swim into three or four long intervals rather than a bunch of shorter repeats.

Wednesday – Trainer ride plus a 3 mile run.  And I got a new baby niece today too!

Thursday – Team Fight Swim.  Oh, my legs.

Friday – Rest Day NUMBER TWO for the week. Glory of glories.  Got a massage that hurt way worse than the previous day’s swim.

Saturday – 40 mile ride on some lovely local hills.  This felt pretty fantastic.

Sunday – Unplanned rest day. My knee was giving me some trouble so I dropped the planned 6 miler for rest and stretching.  Feels much better already so who knows.  Can you sleep on your knee wrong?

Fellow Friendly Cyclists

yorgunum / Pixabay

This weekend was a step back weekend for me.  I don’t know when a 40 mile ride became an easy ride, but it was nice to only have 40 miles facing me.

For those of you who know the local area, I went out and did the Columbia tri course, looping the top of the lollipop three times to get my miles in (and plenty of hill work too).

It’s a pretty popular route to bike, and I saw plenty of people out riding.  One thing that I love about cycling is how friendly everyone is.  As I was getting my bike out of the car, there were other ladies getting ready for a ride, so we chatted for a bit and wished each other luck.  They passed me a bit later and wished me luck on my ride.

All along the route, I came upon friendly cyclists.  Lots of hellos and good mornings as we passed, often going in opposite directions.  Chatting at stop signs.  Conversations when stopped for water at a local gas station.  Just lots of nice people out there.

Of course, it’s not like it’s this 1950’s television show of friendliness.  Plenty of people pass without a word or a wave. And that’s fine too, no problems there (though everyone appreciates when cyclists call out when they pass from the rear).  But in general, it’s a very friendly community.

Obviously, not every cyclist is friendly.  But there is a somewhat popular blogger out there who talks about how every single cyclist she passes makes a negative comment or says something horrible to her.  Given my experience, I just don’t see that happening.  People are relatively friendly, and those who aren’t probably just ignore the other cyclists.  No one has time to be excessively rude.

I know some people get nervous about riding with others or riding outside because they’re worried about what other people will think.  That definitely isn’t something to worry about.  For the most part, cyclists are just happy to see other cyclists out riding.  You’ll see the hardcore riders out training intensely, you’ll see people out for a nice easy ride, and you’ll see everyone in between.

 

Wednesday Workout Recap

intographics / Pixabay

You know what?  It’s still stupidly hot.  I do not love this.

Monday – Easy 45 minute trainer ride to keep the legs loose.

Tuesday – Swim workout.  This one was tough because I was just feeling sluggish, but once I got through the drills and to the main set, I was committed to finishing.  At this point, a lot of training is mental.

Wednesday – Structured trainer workout followed by a 3 mile run.  These trainer workouts always kick my ass, but I’m definitely improving.

Thursday – Team Fight swim.  Felt like I dragged through this, but it was awesome to be in the pool with so many great people.

Friday – Glorious rest day.

Saturday – 60 mile ride followed by a 2 mile run.  I did this one on a 2+ mile loop due to the heat.  I didn’t want to be too far from water at any point.  Around mile 40, I got in my car and just sat in the AC for a few minute because I was so freaking hot.  But I forced myself through the 60 miles.  The 2 mile run was mostly a walk though, but given that the heat index was in the 110+ range by that point, I’ll take it.

Sunday – 12 mile treadmill run.  I just could not face the heat again.

Gladwell Thresholds and the Galloway Method

tpsdave / Pixabay09

Last week, I started listening to Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast, Revisionist History.  I nearly skipped episode 3, The Big Man Can’t Shoot because it was about pro-basketball players, and since I’m not into pro-basketball, I figured it wouldn’t interest me.  Oh, how wrong I was.

In a nutshell, the episode talked about a player named Rick Barry, who shot his free throws underhanded (or granny style) and had incredible success with this method.  He taught it to Wilt Chamberlain, a notoriously terrible free throw shooter, and his percentage shot way up for that season.  But the next season, he was back to overhand throws because he felt stupid shooting underhanded.  It didn’t matter to him that he was more successful, he preferred to follow the traditional style of shooting, even if it meant making fewer shots.

Gladwell links this to his threshold theory.  If you have a low threshold, you care less about what others do and do what works best.  If you have a high threshold, you are more likely to follow the crowd.  We’d all like to say we have a low threshold, but we can’t all be like Rick Barry.  He was mercilessly taunted for his free throw style, but he didn’t care, because it was the most effective way to shoot.  Wilt Chamberlain gave it a shot, but his threshold was higher.  He was more influenced by what was going on around him.

As I was listening to the podcast, I immediately started thinking about running, specifically the Galloway run/walk method.  The theory behind the Galloway method is simple – you take walk breaks throughout your run, and that little bit of energy conservation allows you to ultimately finish faster because you’re preventing fatigue.

I’m a Galloway runner.  I currently follow a 1 minute run/1 minute walk pattern, though if I find myself especially fatigued during a triathlon, I sometimes switch to a 30 second pattern.  And you know what?  Using a 1/1 pattern, I’m getting faster!  I’ve found something that works.

And yet I still sometimes feel the need to make excuses for the fact that I walk.  It helps that the Galloway method is becoming more popular, but there is still a lot of shame in a lot of people who run/walk, as if it’s any less of a successful method of getting from the start to the finish.

So often, I hear people say “I just want to be able to run the whole race.”  As if there’s shame in a walk break.  But the thing is, you may get shamed by other runners.  “Don’t walk, keep running!”  “Walkers shouldn’t start this far up in the corrals!” (Admittedly, if you are doing a run/walk, you had better stay out of the way of everyone else.)

I guess it depends on your goal.  If I can run an entire race at one pace, but finish faster doing a run/walk, I’m definitely using the run/walk.  I try to not worry about what other people think.  But it’s easier said than done.

I’ve had friends say “Oh, I’ll just stay back and run your intervals with you,” and then be unable to keep up with my intervals.  This is no stroll.  This is a run followed by a fast walk.  But it’s also not a straight run.  And I know plenty of people who refuse to try the Galloway method, even though they have seen plenty of people get faster by inserting walk breaks.  To them, it’s important to not be seen walking.

At the end of the day, we’re all hobbyists, so we should run our races in whatever method makes us happiest.  But maybe we should take a look at where our threshold lies and see if we can’t push against it a bit.  Maybe following the crowd isn’t the best way to go.