Saturday, March 27, 2010

Week 12 Bike

Here are the Activity Details for today's bike. I'm improving. Slowly but surely it's getting there. Time for a nap.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Week 9 Rocked

It won't be possible to summarize all that was good about week 9 but it sure did end well. The weekend workouts were great and I'm personally proud of my performance.

First of all, Devra is in town for about 5 weeks which adds a little time stress but is an overall very good thing. It's great having her support around. Plus, she's not too bad on the eyes either. ;-)

Saturday I biked on the trainer for 3.5 hours and covered just over 50 miles. It was a great time. I'm glad I could go that far in HR Zone 3. It really made the evening estatic.

Yesterday was a great personal triumph too. I ran for 2 hours in HR Zone 3 and covered 15 miles! 15! Fifteen! That's just a hair quicker than an 8:00/mile pace. In the language of marathons that's a 3:28:54 marathon. I'm now less than a half hour off my target marathon time of 2:59:59. Someday...

Friday, March 5, 2010

A Great Week of Training

As a follow up to a post about training lows I have a week of training highs to report. It was a great week in training and I hope this trend continues. This may in part be due to the snow beginning to melt and the sun shining most days. But I also think it has a lot to do with taking some down time to refresh my mind.

My indoor cycles have been good. My mind has remained more focused on the task and I'm growing used to being in my saddle for long durations. As long as I can tackle the mental component I'll achieve my personal goals for the race in September. I feel I'm well on my way to meeting that goal too.

My long endurance swims have been good too. This week I had a 2500 yd swim. My swim lengths are increasing between this and next week. I'll be getting to 3500 total yards by next week. I've been feeling much more relaxed in the water and always thinking about my form, tweeking this and that to get optimal propulsion to energy output ratios. I can tell if it's working depending on how tired I am relative to how fluid I glide in the water. So far so good this week.

Yesterday I had my running victory too. It was my first speed workout of the year. I did intervals of 100 yards and 400 yards. I didn't have a track to I ran up and down the road a lot. It was kind of lame but it got the job done and in a stellar fashion for me too. The workout yesterday was as follows:

Warm up: 10 minute jog
Main Set: 4x100 dash w/ 30 sec rest between each, 8x400 run with rest equal to half the time it took to run the 400, 4x100 w/ 5 secon rest between each
Cool Down: 10 minute jog

Nothing outstanding there. But the victory lies within one of those 400's. I ran the distance in almost one minute. You heard that right folks. For 400 yards I held a 4:00/mile pace. :-D That was very exciting for me.

Let's hope this good week of training continues into the weekend. I've got a long run tomorrow and on Sunday another Brick and a 2500 yard swim. Better get to Trader Joe's and buy more pancake mix. I love my post workout multi grain pancakes.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Training trends

It seems every year I go through some sort of cycle. Typically it starts early in the year and usually in February lasting until well into March. That's just the nature of the beast though.

By the end of October I'm typically kissing my racing season goodbye and welcoming a period of much needed rest. During this period I usually take time to reflect on the seasons triumphs and tragedies while at the same time catching up on areas of life that have been put on hold for the past 8-10 months. It's a grand time of eating recklessly, throwing a life of routine out the window and welcoming sur-of-the-moment activities, whatever those activities may be.

This is also the time when I think about the upcoming year and my goals. It's my opportunity to think big and dream of the lofty goals I set for myself as the old season winds down and the new one comes to life.

But this downtime has some negative consequences. (Note: I suppose everything does but stick with me on this).

For one thing, it's tough to get back into a routine. Both my body and mind envelope the lavish experience of the period of low stress much like a kid welcomes a piece of candy. Having time to do what I want, when I want without needing to be somewhere to train or run from place to place only to get there right in the nick of time is a great thing. That alone makes the transition from down time to pre-season (Jan-March) a very difficult thing.

Another negative is the loss of my natural endorphines. Let's face it, exercising feels great. Exercising intensely feels even better. During the down time I don't my regular endorphine kick. As a result my mind and body start to look elsewhere for that natural happiness so I start doing things excessively that negatively impact my well being. One of those is drinking excess coffee. I would use the caffeine in coffee to replace the great feelings I get from endorphines. It's not something I do on a conscious level but something my body naturally gravitates to. I raelize this is getting into psychological behavior and all the intriquicies involved with it but anyone who's trained for a long period of time and then stops knows what I'm talking about. It's the behavior of an addict which, as anyone who knows me can agree, I display in textbook fashion. Hence why alcohol and nicotine are not a part of my life any more.

The last imporant side effect of the downtime I want to mention is the depression that sets in. There are a lot of contributing factors to this, some addressed in the previous paragraph. The observation I'd like to make is the transitiion from a goal-oriented lifestyle to a just-be lifestyle. For the previous 10 months I've spent so much time focusing on growing my stature that I greatly neglect growing in spirit and growing in mind. Ignorance is not bliss and when the muscle we call the brain is not exercised regularly a lot of areas of our life suffer. Our self confidence decreases, our congnitive abilities go down, our memory lapses, we become easily aggitated, self defensive and ultimately depressed. This depression doesn't usually set in for me until sometime in early January when my training is beginning again. I'm not fully sure how to explain it but it's a feeling of deep despair and a feeling that everyone on the planet is better than I am in all aspects of life. I want to crawl into a hole and disappear.

Right now I'm at what I hope is the end of this degenerative state. It's a terrible spot to be in and it takes a lot of friend power to push through it. I'm eternally indebted to the people who time and time again help me through the tough early part of the year. If history is any indication of the future (as a risk analysis specialist I know it's only partially indicitive) then I should be fully through this nonesense very soon.

I know the point of this blog is to share my trainings but hopefully this serves as a good read for people who find themselves in a similar spot. You're not alone in the cycles of training.