Sunday, March 27, 2016

Workout Recap: 8 Weeks out from Chattanooga Half Ironman

Trying to be better at getting these done by the week, so I will TRY and do a regular Sunday post for the next few weeks as I finalize training. I know the next 8 weeks are going to fly by and am getting excited for race day to come already!

Monday 3/21 - Rest Day

When I ran the Publix Half Marathon last Sunday, it was a mental struggle to get myself through the race and I could tell how tired my body was. One of the things I bargained with myself was, "If you finish this race, you can "sleep in" on Monday morning!" I allowed myself a rest morning, which my body needed, and told myself I would go to yoga in the evening. However, I ended up skipping that too. When I go to the yoga class I like after work, I don't get home until at least 8:00 p.m. and I just wanted to be home earlier to get other things done. My main activity this evening was getting signed up at the library and doing a bunch of food prep and laundry that I hadn't done on Sunday.

Tuesday 3/22 - Morning 3 mile run (9:40 min/mile) and upper body weight workout

I ran 3 miles on the treadmill this morning because a) it was still cold outside and I've become a baby and b) I wanted the extra time at the gym to get a weight workout in. I have been missing weight training lately, as it is always a first thing to get cut for me when things get busy. And the challenge I was doing at the gym has wrapped up, so I haven't had the discipline to focus on it yet. I am trying to get it in whenever I can because I love how I feel when I have been doing weight training regularly!

Wednesday 3/23 - AM Swim practice (2800 M) + PM 1 hour bike ride (15.5 mph average) + 2 mile run (9:01 min/mile)

This whole training cycle, Wednesdays have been my midweek heavy workout day. I decided to keep that going with a morning swim, replacing my Monday swim. The swim was a lot of fun and a lot more challenging than I thought it would be. I should have taken a picture of it because it is hard to describe.

Warmup: 4x200
25 on :25
25 on :35
2x25 on :25
25 on :40
3x25 on :25
50 easy
[Repeat the above]
150 Rest 5 seconds
2x100 R10
3x50 R20
[Repeat the whole workout... for the recovery portion, first time through pull only, second time with fins and paddles]

The workout was so much harder than I thought it was going to be when I first read it through on the board. It was a small group of swimmers this morning so the coach put together a workout he knew that we could all stay together on because we were regulars and he knew our paces. It was fun because for a portion of the workout I was the only girl and I really challenged myself to beat the boys on all of the sprint sets. I felt really strong in the water and proud of myself for how I did in the workout. After my pep talk on Tuesday, I knew that I wanted to make every workout count.

In the evening wanted to get a bike ride in. Since I decided all my bikes should be brick workouts from now on, I ran 2 miles.

How awful and heavy my legs felt on Sunday after biking on Saturday was sufficient to scare me enough into wanting to focus more on those transitions. I need my legs to be used to running after biking. So I am going to run 1-2 miles minimum following all of my bike rides. This workout of a bike followed by a run is referred to as a "brick" workout in the triathlon world.

I was really proud of how I did on the bike, knowing I wanted to do an hour ride and maintain or do better than what my overall average has been of around 15 mph. On the way out, I was a little under 7.5 miles when I got 30 minutes out on the Silver Comet Trail so I pushed myself to ride harder on the way back. There were a few guys riding up above me a bit, so I pushed myself to keep up with them. When I finished, I jumped off the bike and did a 2 mile run with an average page of 9:01 miles.

I was super proud and spotted a muscle peaking through after my workout :) I actually texted this to a friend with the question - "Is that a muscle?!"

Thursday 3/24 - AM 4 mile run (10:13 min/mile average) + weights

Thursday morning I got back out to the beltline for a 4 mile run pacing Ayanna but also letting my legs recover a bit from the day before. We talked the whole time and it was a really fun morning workout. I was proud of how my friend did and felt great myself.

When I got to the gym, I did a small weight workout before hitting the showers.

Friday 3/25 - AM Swim Workout (2200M) + PM 11 mile bike ride (14 mph average) + 1 mile run (9:01 min/mile)

I started the morning with a swim workout, which consisted of broken 200s. I forgot to write down the warm up but it was a longer warmup consisting of some pulls, some kicks, etc. The main set was a series of broken 200s, where we mimic the strategy that you would use if you were to race a 200.

50m - Build up your pace
75m - Hold on and maintain at a strong/steady pace
50m - Race hard
25m - All out sprint to the finish

I was definitely feeling tired by the end of the week and was finishing at the back of the pack for every set but I told myself to just keep at it. There was lots of rest so I knew I could get through it if I just decided to and not let my mind give up. I was tempted to use fins, but did them all on my own and felt really good at the end.

My original plan for the weekend wasn't to ride my bike until Sunday so I had planned my week to go out for a Friday evening bike ride. I still was unsure at that point if I was going to ride my bike on Saturday or on Sunday, but not wanting to skip out on the ride, I still went out for an easy paced bike ride, just committing to spending time in the saddle. I biked 11 miles at a 14 mph pace, enjoying the evening, and then since I committed to doing these bricks, jumped off the bike for a 1 mile run.

I spotted some beautiful flowers, first with my nose, while on the bike and then on the run. One of my goals every time I have been heading out on the bike has been to just enjoy my ride. Not worry about pace, not worry about time, just enjoy it and relax and have fun. The flowers were symbolic of that to me so I stopped to grab a picture.

Saturday 3/26 - 46 mile bike ride (14 mph average) + 2 mile run (8:53 min/mile)

When I originally thought about my week of training, I thought I would take Saturday off and then do a long bike immediately followed by a long run on Sunday. However, I had the opportunity to join a group ride (my first one ever) that a number of friends were doing that took place on Saturday. And I knew I had some friends running on Sunday, so I decided to split it up. I am going to write a whole post about this ride to give more detail - but I officially have a new bike PR of 46 miles. Just 10 miles under the distance I need to ride for the race. I feel like I officially have line of sight to what I am going to need to do in order to get the bike done on May 22nd and although it is super challenging and I am intimidated - I can see it in my grasps!

Sunday 3/27 - 10 mile run (9:26 min/mile)

Since I changed up my weekend to run Sunday, I had the opportunity to meet up with Ayanna and India who were both setting out to do 8 miles. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do exactly yet and when I arrived at the Silver Comet Trail, I had in my mind to run 8-10 miles.

I wore my Easter colors to celebrate the holiday, and India had the same thought as well :)

I set off running and felt good off the start, my first mile was around 9:00 minutes and I told myself many times throughout the run to pull back on pace. I knew my legs, and my whole body, were tired, and I wasn't proving anything to anybody by trying to run fast. The Silver Comet has a slight incline and decline throughout the run, but overall, it is a pretty flat course. No major hills or anything, so it isn't the best for training. I made the mental decision to do less Silver Comet training in the future. I have been spending a lot of time there and I need to switch it up to get my legs ready for the hilly course in Chattanooga.

I listened to music during this run and zoned out as much as possible. I also made the run a little bit more of a mental challenge to myself. I wasn't sure of the distance I wanted to run, but I knew in my mind it would be nice to be at the heavier end of the 8-10 miles and push myself. I also knew that I didn't want to run 5 miles out and then turn back on the trail. Why didn't I want to do that, you might ask?

Running on the trail is an out-and-back. If I were to just run out 5 miles and turn around, I would be making the decision about 1/2 way through my workout, when I wasn't yet totally fatigued, to do 10 miles. If I ran OUT 5, I would have to run BACK 5 miles. Sometimes that is a good thing, to force yourself to make that decision early.

However, to me, it is a little bit of a different mental trick I play on myself to force myself to make the decision when I get back to the start of the run. It is a tease to yourself to see your car, the finish line, your "end" point, and then force yourself to turn back out and run more. To me, it takes almost more determination and willpower to make the decision at THAT point to keep on running.

So I ran out 4.4 miles and then turned around. Pretty much the whole way back, I would pick something in the distance and tell myself, "Run to that." and focus on that tree, or portion of the trail, or sign, and then move forward. I told myself to pull back, because I know it is easy to speed up on the way back because the overall return has a slight decline.

I knew I would get back to the start at 8.8 miles and knew I would then mentally be able to get myself to 9 miles easily, so I decided to try and focus on pushing myself to 9.5 miles. I ran past the start .25 miles and returned back so I was passing my car at 9.5, which I had told myself it was okay to stop at. So I decided to try and keep moving and get myself to 10 miles, which I did.

I immediately chugged ALL MY WATER and then waited for my friends to return from their 8 miles. We talked a bit and then I was getting chilly, so we packed up and returned home.  I am seriously, really, really proud of this weekend's workouts.

In my mopey post earlier this week, I complained about how my friend said to me that a long bike and a long run was now my new "weekend normal." It frustrated me at the time, but after this weekend... I can see how that is true. I had a great weekend and I worked really hard. Despite how tired I was, I did a happy dance when I got home. For me. Solo in my apartment.

Happy Easter everyone! Hope you had an active and healthy weekend :)

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