Wednesday Workout Recap

geralt / Pixabay

As I mentioned on Monday, this was a really great week workout wise.  That doesn’t mean that all the workouts felt great, but I got them done.

Monday – Rest Day.  I’m really good at these.  I wish I could get more done on rest days though.

Tuesday – Team Fight Swim.  I really enjoy being part of a group swim.  I feel like I push myself harder than I do in a solo workout – especially when I’m the slowest swimmer there.  We’ve got some beasts in the pool!

Wednesday – 60 minutes on the bike trainer

Thursday – 4 mile run.  This one was more sluggish than I like.

Friday – 45 minutes in the pool.  This one was a struggle.  I’m not sure if I was just tired (6am swims are early!) or worn out, but I had to force myself to not bail early.  I showed up, I might as well get the workout in.

Saturday – 25 mile bike followed by a 1 mile run.  I rode the Columbia Tri course for the first time this year and it was awesome.  I really love that course, even though I’ve never done the Columbia Tri.  It’s got some quality hills and is just a beautiful route.  It apparently got repaved recently as well, which made it even better than I remembered.

Sunday – 8 mile run.  Apparently, after riding all those hills, my legs were wholly uninterested in an 8 mile run, and I think it took about 6 miles to actually warm up.

 

Back to Basics

I had an awesome training weekend this weekend.  I didn’t set any new records, but I got in a 25 mile ride and an 8 mile run, and it felt good to get the mileage in.  It helped that the weather was pretty perfect for both.  Not too hot, not too cold, and the rain held off.  I feel like I’ve been biking in threatening rain a lot lately, which is much less fun than it sounds.  Running in the rain can be enjoyable, but biking in the rain? Thumbs down.

I’ll hit on this in my weekly recap, but after looking at my training on Strava, this was the first week in a while that I had 6 workout days on the schedule and actually hit them all.  Life has been busy and so my training has been less than it should be.  That could be exactly why things felt so good this weekend.  It could also be why it felt like it took me 6 miles to warm up on my run yesterday – my body just wasn’t used to this kind of work.  Or it could have been all the hills I rode on Saturday. Or a little bit of both.

Either way, it feels good to be back.  Now to just get my diet back into order and it should be smooth sailing.  Until something else crazy comes up.

What To Do When a Race Goes Wrong

Tumisu / Pixabay

Apparently, this past week has been a rough one for a number of triathletes.  I’ve seen a lot of people posting about how open water swims went poorly, bike workouts were struggled through, and runs were crushingly painful.  I’ve also talked to a number of people who had bad races over the past month and are feeling down about the rest of their race season, wondering if they should cancel races or drop down to shorter distances.

So what do you do when a race goes wrong?  You don’t give up, that’s for sure.  Just because you have one bad race doesn’t mean that all is lost.

First off, what made the race so bad?  Did you freak out on an open water swim?  Did you struggle through hills on your bike?  Was your bike or run split slower than you wanted?  Did you feel like you were struggling through your entire run?  Were there unexpected aches and pains?

Then figure out why.  And remember, sometimes, it’s just not your day.  You can do everything right and still have a rough day.  It happens to everyone.

How was your training?  And be honest with yourself.  Did you actually put in the work that you should have?  Did you let yourself slack off maybe a little bit too much?  When you skip a workout because you’re tired, are you really that tired or do you just not want to go running?  I’ve seen a lot of people skipping too many workouts because they’re worried about overtraining.  You have to learn to be honest with yourself.

And if you’re getting in those workouts, are you doing what you’re supposed to?  If your plan calls for speed work, are you really putting in the effort?  Are you choosing to ride in a flat area rather than a hilly area? (Which, of course, is a good idea if you’ve got a flat race coming up, but if your race has hills, get yourself out onto those hills.)  Are you putting in the work at the pool or just halfheartedly swimming laps until you hit the 45 minute mark and then getting out as fast as you can?

On the other hand, overtraining is real.  Are you pushing your workouts too hard?  Remember, your long runs should not be at race pace.  You should have some harder workouts and some easier workouts through the week.  If you push to your limit on each workout, you will end up injured or burnt out.

I think keeping a training log is an incredibly important tool in helping you figure out if your training has been where it should be. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy.  You can scribble down notes in a notebook, in a file on your computer, whatever works best for you.  Just something like “This was my workout and this is how I feel.”  You’ll start to see patterns in your training.

On race day, did you follow your plan or did you go out too fast?  When I run half marathons, it’s very easy to get caught up in the pack and start out too fast.  You will see a lot of runners do this.  Hold back and stick to your plan.  You don’t want to use up all of your energy at the beginning and have to slog through the last few miles.  Plus it’s fun to start passing people as they run out of energy and you’re still going strong.  Aim for a negative split (running the second half of the race faster than the first half).

Did you freak out in the water at your triathlon?  This can happen to anyone at anytime, but ask yourself – did you practice appropriately?  Did you get in open water swim practice?  Did you put in the time getting used to swimming in cloudy water where you can’t just follow a line on the bottom?  Did you do any open water swimming in a group?  Even if you’re an experienced swimmer, open water practice will help every triathlete.

Regardless of the answer to the above questions, you should also formulate a plan for how you’re going to get yourself out of an open water freak-out.  A lot of people have a mantra that they repeat over and over or they sing a song in their head.  Some people flip onto their back and float and breathe for a minute or so.  Do what you have to so that you can keep going.  Remember, you are prepared for this swim, and you will get through it.

Most importantly, don’t give up.  If your last race went poorly, that doesn’t mean your next race will.  Do some serious soul searching about what really happened and then do what you need to so you’re ready for the next race.  Everyone has a bad day.  And those bad days just make us stronger.

 

Race Report – Kinetic International Triathlon

Kinetic International Finishers Photo

Photo credit to Keely

Triathlon number one for the season complete!

This was the first year (I believe) for the Kinetic International distance.  I’ve done the sprint here before, and the course looked the same as Giant Acorn (though I think the bike course is reversed from the last time I raced it), so I had a general idea of what I was getting into.  And then the weather forecasts started to roll in.

Once again, I started the season with a cold, rainy triathlon.  But this year, I knew what I was getting myself into.  I was much more mentally prepared for a miserable experience, and I think that preparation made a world of difference.  Also, it wasn’t that miserable.  But I was prepared for this to be a slower race than normal.

Race morning, the temperatures were in the upper 40s, and it was raining.  Great.  Awesome.  At least the 60-something water would feel warm.  Gotta find the bright side, right?  I got in the water as early as I could, probably at least 45 minutes before my wave started.  That’s the great thing about races at Lake Anna – you can get in the water super early and just sort of splash around until your wave starts.  It’s perfect for people nervous about the open water.

I was in the very last wave, which didn’t worry me too much.  This was an international and a 70.3 distance raced together, so that meant I had no risk of being the last finisher.

When my wave finally started, I struggled to find my groove at first, most notably because it was impossible to see the buoys.  The rain had stopped for the most part, but it was foggy and just hard to sight.  Not a big deal all in all, but annoying.  The swim course was a big rectangle, so once I made the second turn to go back towards the shore, things were much easier, though at that point, the wind picked up and there was some significant chop to the water.  I can handle that as long as I can tell where I’m going.

And though it felt like it took forever, I was finally out of the water and on my way to T1.

Swim: 41:24

One downside to races at Lake Anna is the long distance to transition.  It’s paved, which is nice, but it’s just a long uphill run.  Barefoot.  And since it had rained so much, once I got to transition, everything was just a huge mudpit.  I bet the bike tracks were at least an inch deep, probably more.  So that was hilarious to deal with.  No running for me – I didn’t need to find out how much padding my wetsuit would give me if I fell.

I stripped out of my wetsuit, getting it super muddy in the process and tried to clean my feet off to get my socks and shoes on.  (Yes, I wear socks on the bike leg.  I get blisters otherwise and it’s worth the few seconds it takes me.) I also watched a guy cursing at his wetsuit because he was stuck in it.

I opted to not put on my arm sleeves since the rain had stopped and I would rather be cool than overheat.  Plus they’re so annoying to put on while wet.

I definitely wasn’t hurrying in transition, which is probably something I should work on for next race.

T1: 4:39

On to the bike leg.  I was worried that because my cleats were so filled with mud that I wouldn’t be able to clip in properly.  Thankfully, it wasn’t too bad, but future me had some serious shoe cleaning ahead of her.  I headed out on the bike, which starts with a lovely uphill.  Having done the course a number of times, I was ready.

The roads were still a bit wet but not too bad, though I was still glad I had slightly underinflated my tires, especially on some of the speedy downhills.  I had a goal pace in mind and found myself just below it, but I think I tend to overestimate my goal pace in general.  I was also struggling with some tightness in my quads because I was so freaking cold.

I was pretty pleased with how I hung in during the bike, though I wished I had brought some cookies for a snack.  I forgot how much I like snacks on the bike.  Snacks are one of the best parts about biking!

Bike: 1:41:59

T2 went much better, though again, no running through the mud, so it was a slower trek.

T2: 3:15

And on to the run.  This I was familiar with.  It was a two loop course (though they tacked on a tiny bit near transition – I guess the old course was just a little short) with a grand uphill on each loop.  Hooray.  I didn’t even bother to try to run it, knowing it would shoot my heart rate up way too fast, so I just power walked it.  The downside to that is that there are tons of spectators there.  So I just chatted and said I was getting my moneys worth out of the course.

At this point, my upper hips/butt muscles were very tight (actually, using the internet I think maybe it’s my gluteus minimus? Anyone?) and I hoped I wouldn’t be fighting this the entire run.  Thankfully it just bothered me on the hill and then faded.

Because it was still cool, I was able to set into a good rhythm.  Not quite as fast as my most recent half marathon, but that wasn’t done on bike legs, so I was pleased to find a good groove.  I got tons of compliments on my Coeur team kit – it will be on sale next season!   It was awesome to feel so good out there.

The volunteers were spectacular.  As I was coming through, the pizza lunch delivery had just come for them, and I kept threatening to steal their pizza.  The tables were manned by kids with adults supervising, and these kids were great.  Sometimes, kid volunteers get sullen or bored, but I loved the enthusiasm these kids had.

Finally, FINALLY, I was cruising in to the finish.

Run: 1:20:22

Total time: 3:51:38

Not my fastest, but far from my slowest. I was thinking I would be around 4 hours with the weather, so I’m quite happy with this.  And I knew I had a good shot at placing Athena this race seeing as there weren’t a ton of entrants.  I was hoping for second.  First was unexpected and a delightful way to start the season.

Now I need a trophy shelf in my pain cave!

After the race, I got back to transition to retrieve my poor, muddy bike, and noticed they had  put down straw in transition.  SUPER nice.  Of course, my bike still had chunks of mud all over it.  That was a problem for future me too.

And my new tip: Use a blue IKEA bag as your transition mat (or stick it under your mat/towel).  Then when you’re done, you can throw all your gross gear inside it and haul it back to your car and contain the crazy amounts of mud.  When you clean your gear, just hose down the bag too.

 

So Much Work, So Little Time

This is a fair approximation of how I felt at the end of last week. stux / Pixabay

It’s been an insane two weeks.  We had a big work event that involved four days of travel last week, and I’m still not sure I’m fully recovered.

It was definitely an awesome event, but the lead-up and execution was incredibly stressful and meant a lot of overtime.  That also meant a lot of missed workouts, which probably didn’t help my stress levels.

This season, I’m really working to prioritize my health.  I don’t want to risk letting myself get run down and then prone to getting sick.  So I’m making a point to try to get 8 hours of sleep a night.  I’m really getting closer to 7, but even that’s a big help.   While things were crazy, I also made a point to not push workouts.  For example, I had a trainer ride to do and it was clear that I just didn’t have the energy to get it done properly.  So rather than destroy myself, I just took it easy and tried to not worry about it.

Of course, I have a race this weekend, so I am a little worried about it, but I’ve decided it’s better to go into the race healthy and well rested and slightly undertrained than totally burned out.  At least that’s what I’m trying to tell myself.  It’s easier said than done!