Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Transition && Threshold

As I go through my Iron(wo)man journey I am finding that there is one thing that is changing (I love oximorons....and saying the word oximoron, haha!) No I'm not talking about track workouts, although those are always a love-hate thing, but rather this whole threshold thing. Being an intelligent and educated individual, I knew what a threshold was, but in the context of say, how long I can stay up on the weekends before my body just quits on me, or how long I can sit inside on a gorgeous day. Training threshold is kind of like this....well, not really, but I still like to think of it like that because trying to wrap my head around aerobic or lactic threshold was not an easy task.

One of the top ten reasons why I love my coach is because she tracks most everything by perceived effort. So she won't throw terms like that at me, or she'll explain it to me in a different context. In the sport of triathlon it's easy to get caught up in numbers: times, PRs, heart rate peak, and so on. Steph's not all about that. She's the kind of coach that will say, "Hey if you have the money and you want to invest, go for it, but otherwise the best way to train is to do it". Simple yet the best advice.

 So two weeks ago was my "transition" week,  where I pulled back on workouts and prepared to get into Ironman specific training. What does that mean? It means rest days change from Monday to Friday, long runs are on Wednesdays, and every weekend is a double bike workout. I swim 3 times a week and open water swims are written in for me to take on when the lake warms up! The change in schedule has me stumbling around, trying to balance out "real life" and training. But half way through week 2 and I think I'm getting the hang of it. One of the challenges I am currently having is the change in my "threshold". Up until this point I built a really solid base and I gained a lot of strength & fitness since January. My long runs were getting faster because I choked down those track workouts and my shoulders didn't burn as bad during my swims. But yesterday I finished a track workout: 2 X 1600 and 2 X 800. I dominated! Held 7:19 pace for my 1600s and felt AWESOME! My legs burned but I was too far gone gloating on my accomplishments. This morning on my 12 mile long run, I thought my legs would NEVER warm up. I remember pain like this, more like fatigue, when I first starting getting back into tri-training but I thought I had broken through that barrier!

 Looking at my training plan again I noticed a note from Steph--"You are going to be tired this month, and that's ok. Stuff is about to get real!" Even when she's not there, she is. This both eased my mind some and had me thinking. The whole idea of a threshold, or at least how I have been threshold training, is by pushing my body as far and as fast as I can, but in a way that will allow me to complete the workout and not be totally maxed out that I can't get up and do it all again tomorrow. I will carry this throughout the rest of my time training and hopefully it will do good things for me when I eventually race IMOO. But for the time being at the start of this transition time, I am going need to push past my impatience.

As posted in the blog of one of my fellow triathlete friends: "“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.” –Randy Pausch

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