Wednesday Workout Recap

Hey look, a week where I actually got stuff done!  One thing I’m realizing as I do these recaps is that I need to get more strength work built into my plan.

Monday – Sweet, sweet rest day.

Tuesday – Team Fight swim.  Lots of long distance in preparation for the weekend’s crazy swim.

Wednesday – 60 minutes on the trainer.  I don’t know how people train without a mat or towel under their trainers because this sweating is ridiculous.

Thursday – Easy 5 mile run.

Friday – Easy 60 minutes on the trainer.  With the holiday Monday, I was opting to skip my rest day and actually get in an extra day of biking over the long weekend, so I took this one easy.

Saturday – Swim Fest

Sunday – My first Princeton Sports ride of the year.  We did the old Iron Girl course, and that’s 16.5 miles of no joking.  I really like doing these group rides, and because I was putting in so much distance last year, I didn’t do a ton of them.  My plan this year is to try to do the group rides to not only get in the added push of riding in a group and trying to keep up, but also to help support the newbies that will start to show up.  I’ll just do the ride with the group, then go back out for whatever extra mileage I need.  Or maybe I’ll try to get mileage before the ride.  Whatever works for that weekend.

Race Report – 2017 Fort Ritchie Swim Fest

This weekend was the Fort Ritchie Swim Fest.  It’s a really great event and perfect open water practice.  There are three different races in the event – 750m, 1500m, and 2250m.  (Clearly, it’s a 750m loop.)  You can do one race or any combination of the races.  In previous years, I had done the 1500m and the 2250m, but after watching some friends do all three races – the 4500 – I decided that I wanted to do it this year.  That’s 2.8 miles.  That’s a lot of swimming.

My goal for the event was to just finish.  I wasn’t worried about times, because I had to save my arms to get through the final 2250.  So I knew that I would likely be slower than normal, and I was okay with that.  This was an endurance test for me.  And also some quality cold water practice, because the water was 64 degrees.

The first 750 was definitely the hardest, because when I got in, the water was so cold that it literally made my skin hurt.  It took a good five minutes for my face to stop hurting in the water.  Thankfully, the pain did stop and the second two races were much easier, even with getting out of the water and getting back in.  This is a good reminder, because my race this coming weekend is going to be stupidly cold.  At last check, the water was 59 degrees.  Maybe it will make me swim faster?

This event was definitely just a slow and steady, and I’m happy with that.  Yes, my 2250 was 9 minutes slower than last year.  But this year, I did a full 2250 before doing the second 2250, so I think that’s okay.  Leading up to the race, I thought doing all three races was crazy.  I still think it was a little crazy, but I’m pretty confident that I’m going to do it again next year.  It’s a fun challenge and it’s great practice.  If I can get through that kind of swim, my olympic distance races this year (1500m) are going to be a breeze.

Wednesday Workout Recap

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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

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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.