Weekly Workout Recap

Guys, getting back into shape is hard.

No really.  It’s hard.

But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth it.  It’s absolutely definitely worth it.  But getting back to running real distances is certainly a challenge.

On to last week’s workouts.

Monday – Pool was closed for the holiday, so I did a four mile run.

Tuesday – Choir practice started up today (normally, it’s on Mondays) so I sucked it up and got up early to ride my bike for a little over an hour.  Crushed it.  Then stiffened up as the day went on.

Wednesday – More trainer work, plus some strength work.  That I am terrible about doing.

Thursday – And the wheels fell off.  I’m not sure why, but my hip was sore today when I tried to run.  Not the pain of before, but it just didn’t feel great, so I only ran a mile and then went to foam roll.  I’m pretty sure that I was just overly tight and so my stride was off, but it’s another reminder that just getting in the workouts isn’t enough – I need to prioritize rest and recovery too.

Friday – Off to the pool.  Plus strength work with noodle arms.

Saturday – 4.8 mile run today, with none of the pain from Thursday.  All that foam rolling helped a ton.

Sunday – Thanks, rain.  Instead of riding outdoors, I did an indoor brick with 90 minutes on the trainer and a mile on the treadmill.

With a race on the horizon, I’m just about where I need to be, but still pretty far from Army Ten Miler distance, which is where I need to be in October.  I’ll get there, but it’s slow going.

And now, I’m off to foam roll again.

August Mileage Recap

A quick break from the vacation recaps (which are almost done!) for a mileage update.

While I am absolutely looking forward to fall weather, I am sad that the summer is over.  Of course, the weather doesn’t seem to know that, as it’s supposed to be in the 90’s all week, but the school busses are out, I’m back to choir practice, and the months of “summer attire” at work (read: slightly less dressy) are over.

August was an amazing month for me, with the Baltic cruise.  While on the trip, I didn’t focus on training at all.  I did hit the gym on both of our days at sea and spent some time on a recumbent bike (but didn’t bother to log the mileage).  We were also doing a ton of walking while in port.  I did make a point to get in my PT exercises most days, but that was about it.

August Totals:
Swim – 2.6 miles
Bike – 52 miles
Run – 22 miles

So yes, definitely lower totals this month, but even with two weeks off, my run numbers are nearly what they were last month.  It’s slow going, but I’m definitely getting there!

2018 Totals:
Swim – 40 miles
Bike – 1189 miles
Run – 92 miles

July Mileage Update

July.  It’s the month I’ve been aiming for since my hip injury was diagnosed.  And all the recovery time was totally worth it.  I’m still far from being back to full form, but I’m getting to race and workout without pain, and it’s been amazing.

July Totals
Swim – 8 miles
Bike – 163 miles
Run – 27 miles

Lower numbers than June, which is to be expected, with a post-race recovery week in there.  Near the end of the month, I also did something that sent my back muscles into spasm and two weeks later, I’m still feeling a bit of tightness in that spot.  Because of that, I took a few days off and even still am cutting my swims short.  Getting old, man.  It’s a beast.

Still, I’m really pleased with the direction I’m going.  I do have to start picking up my running if I want to be able to do the Army Ten Miler in October, but I’m not too worried about it.  I’ll get there.  My only goal is to beat the time cutoffs, and I should be okay there.

2018 Totals
Swim – 37.4 miles
Bike – 1137 miles
Run – 70 miles

I should probably stop planning races

I’ve been joking that in 2018, my body decided to fall apart.  Labral tear, ovarian cyst, and just lots of random aches and pains, mostly related to recovering from the tear and from surgery.  Last week, for example, my back randomly went into a spasm and it still kind of hurts over a week later.  Getting old sucks.

This weekend, I tracked a bunch of friends doing various races, from marathons to 70.3s to 140.6s, and it was just another reminder of why I love racing so much.  It was so fun to see the alerts pop up on my phone or photos from spectators showing up on social media.  I loved seeing everyone’s post-race posts.  Some people set PRs and met personal goals, others struggled, and a few ended up with DNFs.  But everyone was so very positive. Sometimes, a race goes great and sometimes, no matter how much you prepare, your race goes wrong.  I’m so proud of everyone, but especially those who chose to stop when they realized that continuing meant risking harm to themselves.

I’ve been going back and forth on whether or not I want to race a 70.3 next year.  It’s a lot of training.  I did one in 2016, and loved it, but took 2017 off because I couldn’t make things work with my schedule.  I kind of regretted that decision, which was why I was scheduled to race 70.3 Chattanooga this May.  My body falling apart took that off the table.  And I still have a ways to go to be back in the shape I was this time last year, so part of me says to take another year.

The other part of me says “GO FOR IT!”  My recovery is going well and there is no indication that I won’t be able to race long a year from now.  I’ve got multiple double-digit run races already on the calendar for this year, and it’s the run where I’ve got the most work to do.  The next couple of months will certainly give me a good idea of where I’m at recovery wise and if it’s a good idea to try to race.

Honestly, I think my body will be fine.  The big question is whether I want to put in the time.  Training for a  70.3 is no joke.  It’s especially no joke when you’re a slower racer.  It’s a lot of hours.

But I do want the camaraderie that comes with a big race.  I want the challenge and the rush of the finish.

Let’s be honest. I’m going to end up signing up for something big.  I just have to figure out what.

Another OWS Practice

This weekend, I had an opportunity for an open water swim practice, so I took it.  In general, I think every triathlete should get in as much OWS practice as possible.  Swimming in open water is incredibly different from swimming in the pool.  Obviously, pool work is important too, but I’ve seen so many triathletes end up panicking during their races because they haven’t spent much time in open water.

There are some clear differences between open water swimming and pool swimming:

  • pools have lines on the bottom to follow
  • pool water is typically much clearer
  • no plant matter attacking from the deep
  • pool lanes are short, maybe a max of 50m before you get to turn around and push off the wall

But in addition, a true open water experience also involves a big variable – other swimmers.  In the pool, you might be splitting a lane or circle swimming, but there’s generally a lot of consideration for the shared space (except for you, annoying butterfly guy).   However, in open water, it’s every man for himself.

For the most part, I don’t think the “contact” in open water is intentional.  I don’t intend to run into people while I’m swimming.  But it happens.  Someone slower ends up in front of you.  Someone faster ends up behind you.  People aren’t swimming straight lines.  Current pushes you into someone else.

If you’re freaked about contact with other swimmers, the advice is typically to swim wide.  The further you are from the straight lines between buoys, the fewer swimmers you will encounter.  Of course, you will also be making your swim that much longer.  So the best thing to do is practice.  What will you do if you find you’re running into someone?

Some people will tell you “Well, just swim over them.”  That’s not really my style, plus it’s rare that I’m coming upon someone who is that much slower than me that I’m able to pass them that quickly.  I just try to alter my course a bit to get around.  I’ve gotten stuck behind someone who is swimming in a zig-zag motion and had to really go wide to get past.  I’ve also been touched and clobbered by other swimmers.  It happens and you just deal with it.

However, the first time you encounter this, it’s definitely jarring.  So the best advice I have is to go to an open water practice.  If there isn’t an organized practice around you, get together a group of friends and get in the water.  No open water for you to practice?  Then get in a pool lane with six of your friends and get swimming.  Or find a bunch of kids who are willing to hit you with pool noodles while you swim laps.  I’m sure they’ll be happy to do so.

The more you get used to open water swimming, the easier it gets.  It’s probably the part of triathlon that gets the least amount of practice but has the best chance of derailing your race.  So get out there and practice.