It has been almost two weeks since I posted my training and its not because I have been slacking off!
My training and racing have taught me a couple of things. Everytime i start out on a training run, ride or swim, inevitably something is hurting. If it isn't hurting at the start, it hurts in the middle, if not the middle, something is crying out in pain at the end. We all have heard "no pain, no gain". I don't believe that has to be the case, but I do believe that you have to sweet talk your mind through all of these hurts, which inevitably crop up when training. That is why I race.
Racing forces me to focus my energy on the clock and my competitors. My mind doesn't have the ability to talk me out of pushing harder, if I have my focus on the race. Recreating this pressure, adrenaline and competitive spirit just doesn't exist, in my view, when training. This arguably makes the whole training process that much more difficult if you want to get better without testing yourself under race conditions - unless you are just incredibly disciplined!! Of course part of the benefits of being a part of BCC, is to have others help push you to your limits - places you won't go on your own. The BCC and Darkhorse racing have been key reasons why my bike speed has gone up significantly in the last couple of years.
Training is all about you. nobody knows how hard you push yourself, how fast or slow you ran, or biked. Racing on the other hand can be googled for all the world to see. There is no hiding from your performance. When the stopwatch is on you, my experience suggests that the urge to push yourself is much stronger.
So my focus on racing is to always sharpen my performance. My goal race of ironman canada is far enough away that constant training without ever racing would never give me a sense of my progression, in my view. This week is a case of performing very strongly in training, which I will be able to test very shortly, by racing on the bike tomorrow at the cambridge masters, and then running the mississauga marathon on may 10th.
The swimming continues to be a bright spot for me, although this really is the least important element of ironman, survive the swim in order to get to the bike! This week I did a series of progressively faster and shorter sets. Doing 1x150s with pyramids within the set of 50 steady, 50 race pace and 50 fast. I was a very consistent 2:17. then I move to 8x100s done at race pace, which has now moved to 1:29s down from 1:34s. and then 10x50 fast, all done around 40 seconds. I feel my swim has come together.
Running this week was also excellent. I had one brick workout, where I ran for 20 minutes following a hard spin. As usual i put on 1.5% of incline (i think this has been magic for my running) and then pushed my speed each 2.5 minutes till i finished the session with a 6:57/mile pace. Thurs, I had a strong run of 9 miles, of which about 7.25 was done progressively faster but topping out at race pace once the warm up was done, then I ran 5x 5minute sessions at 7:30mile pace, followed by 3 minutes of 8:34 pace. I followed this up with a speed workout to get the fast twitch muscles going (ideal for bike sprints). Here I go hard for 45 secs (6:40 mile pace) then back off for 90 secs with 6 repeats.
Finally saturday rolls around and I jumped out of bed to do 20kms. With a few hills thrown in broadview (from queen to danforth) and willow (from queen to kingston) I tracked to a 7:49/mile pace or 4:52:80 /km pace. While I felt some stress, I certainly wasnt pooched by the run. The good news for me, is that Boston qualifying is a 3:30 marathon, so I have that goal time in my sights. Given I made a bet with Dave Birch, that I would qualify boston if he was able to, my work is now cut out for me.
That brings us to tomorrow. While the cambridge race is not an A or B race, it doesnt mean that I wont go hard. It just means that I havent gone through a normal taper period. Consequently, while I stressed the legs today, we will see how they perform tomorrow. As always, I will try to push through the hurt and look for the podium.