I'm so excited for my last weekend build before a recovery week. The past 2 weeks have felt amazing and I respected my body on Monday and Tuesday with an "off" day on Monday and a form-focused swim on Tues morning. My typical week includes a brick on Tues and Thurs but I moved my brick to Wed and swam again on Thurs and Fri. I rested my running legs a lot this week and added in an easy spin on Thursday evening in order to clear my head and legs (my brain was fried at the hospital while working in the CCU (critical care unit)).
Although I now feel rested and continue to feel hungry for my training, come Monday I will gladly welcome my recovery week to clear my mind and rest my body. Karel has two intense IM-focused bike + run workouts planned for Saturday and Sunday and with only 7 weeks to go, I continue to focus on quality training. I have yet to do a 100 mile ride, ride over 5 1/2 hours or run more than 2 1/2 hours. Every run has been off the bike (including my long runs), almost every workout has planned intervals and my aerobic engine feels stronger than ever.
But enough about me....
I coach 7 amazing athletes, each one with his/her own story and individual goals. I care about each of my athletes in a very special way and I am inspired by their dedication and passion for triathlon training.
One of my athletes, Taryn Fimiani, shared a wonderful note on Facebook and with her permission, she is allowing me to share it with all of my fabulous blog readers. Although I have my own personal philosophy when it comes to training AND nutrition and I understand that every athlete is different and unique, there is nothing more gratifying than having my athletes believe in my philosophy and feel a sense of balance while training for a multisport event. I hope you enjoy Taryn's note and her thoughts on the less is more approach.
Your ultimate athletic development is determined by your athletic consistency, not the nature of your toughest sessions. Protect your consistency and your fitness foundation; these are the keys to reaching your fullest potential.
Today was my Wednesday bike+run. A couple of months ago my coach began scheduling all of my runs with some sort of bike beforehand. At first I resisted (I love simply heading out the door for a run), but I've grown to love her approach. Not only am I getting loads of "experience" feeling the transition from bike-to-run, but I am completely warmed up by the time it's time to run.
I think one of the toughest transitions I've had with triathlon is growing away from the simple run. I love running. It's my soul balancer. My favorite. I'll admit to some days when I miss just simply running, and wonder what I'm doing with all this multi-sport stuff. But at the end of the day, I love the triathlon lifestyle much more. Triathlon's led me to feeling the best I've ever felt. I know part of this is from the diversity of the sport (swim, bike, run, yoga, strength), but also from everything I've learned from Coach Marni along the way.
When Marni & I first started working together in January, she had me list 3 short-term & 3 long-term goals. Completing an Ironman was the long term goal. Short terms were a sub-5hr marathon & sub 2-hr half marathon. She quickly introduced me to interval training and a few weeks later I hit my sub-2 at Rock 'n' Roll Phoenix. I then clapped my hands, ready to take on the marathon.
She never came outright and said, no, you're not allowed to put a marathon on the schedule, but she had all sorts of ways to suggest around it. My goal was Ironman, not running marathon. I stuck to her schedule for a bit, but then came back with a, what about a 20mi race? Again, keep your eye on your long term goal and let's focus on the steps to get you there.
We did a lot of strength work in the first few months. Built into circuits and plyos. Did a lot of stretching and yoga. I kept chomping at the bit to increase my running, but her schedule held me to a slow build. And I finally started understanding and really appreciating her approach...
Less is more.
8 months into this, I'm feeling good. So, so thankful to be feeling strong. Healthy. Which I think is pretty incredible. I'm hitting the final builds with a relatively fresh mind. I haven't felt "burned out" at all this year. And I really think I owe it to all the time we spent focusing on strengthening my base. Strengthening me! When I was quietly wishing I could ramp up my volume, ramp up the intensity, she was having me do all kinds of stretching and new-to-me exercises. And I think I get the "why" now...
Injuries can often happen we're increasing volume and intensity too quickly. Especially when muscle groups are weak and tight. Looking back, I'm grateful that my off-season was spent focusing on strength, plyos, stretching and flexibility, and building that base. All those winter days when I just wanted to get out and run, run, run... I was doing glute, core, lower back & hip exercises. I've learned from her that this kind of strength training (and stretching) is so important in endurance training when it comes to our hip flexor strength. When our hip flexors are tight or weak, other muscles step in to help... often bringing quad, knee, & itb pain.
And pleeeease go knock on some wood, because I've got none of that going on right now.
Sitting where I am now, sure, there are days when I have mini freakouts when I see how much lower in volume my training plan is compared to other plans. But I have faith in my coach's knowledge. I know for me, for where I was athletically and where I am now, Marni's less is more approach is working. She's getting me to my goal. I know each of her workouts has a purpose and I'm still excited to do each workout. There are no miles just for the sake of miles and, because I'm not doing "too much" volume, I'm recovering well (quickly) in between workouts. For my first Ironman attempt, I couldn't ask for anything better!
So today. Bike+Run. I started out early and rode under a cloudy, sunrise pinky sky. Love those sunrise skies. One hour ride, no set, just ride. I increased my heart rate to upper Z3 (tempo, close to anaerobic) towards the end. I did a quick transition in the parking lot and decided, since it was still cloudy, to embrace the humidity and run outside. Ouch.
Once I got past the hissing passel of Canada Geese (seriously loathe those things), I was good to go on a wide open road. 1:10min run with 2x 15min of Z3 & Z4 (averaging HM pace) with 10min easy jog in between. Felt great until 40min when the clouds burned off and my heart rate refused to go down. I finished hovering the low end of Z3, walked a good cool down before heading to my car for stretching.
Another training day on the books!
Bike: 1hr, 17mi
Run: 1:10, 7.3mi