Monday, July 19, 2010

Ironman training update

It's been 5 weeks, I think, that I have been training in Hunt Valley, MD. I'm losing track of time.

The days just sort of run together. Each evening I check what my training plan is for the next day. Then I check the weather. I also consider my energy level and sync it with my training plan. I'm going to get it all done, but I need to figure where I will need the most energy and what will be the easiest or toughest part of my day. I consider my cycling sessions the most important. Swimming is the most fun, and my runs are on a beautiful Rails to Trails path that is mostly shaded.

The volume is picking up but is not an issue yet. Cycling the hills is the biggest challenge. That is where I need the most energy. If I'm a little bit fresh I can climb some of the easier hills a little better now. But the steep and long hills are still giving me problems.
One of the things I am learning as I ride my bike each day is where and when to shift. The trouble comes when I am in my easiest gear and not anywhere near the top.
I've been employing some simple mantras on some of these challenging hills. I say to myself, "I'm okay, I'm okay, I'm okay". My breathing is so heavy at these times I start to feel anxious. I'm trying to accept the slower cadence and harder effort.

I think I have made a discovery about myself. I don't like the slower cadence and the slower pace so I spin up the hill in an easy gear. If it's a tough hill it won't really be spinning. I'm still pushing hard on the pedals and I'm moving very slow. But there is a 'sweet spot' as my coach says where my effort is just about right for the challenge. If I'm in too easy a gear, it actually takes more energy than if I have some resistance. I'm learning to feel for that sweet spot.

We are only here for two more weeks, so I feel the need to focus hard on every single ride to get the most out of my opportunity here. When I get home there are no hills and I will be focusing on distance and time.

Swimming I love the most. We swim in Meadowbrook pool, possibly the best pool on the East coast. That's not to say the swimming is not hard work, but I love the challenge. There is an indoor and an outdoor 50 m pool. It is bulkheaded into several 25 yd lanes plus still several 50 m lanes.
Meadowbrook is a huge facility. They sponsor a great swim team (North Baltimore Swim team) with all levels of hopefuls, a summer swim camp for young kids and open areas for people who just want to have fun in the water and always open lanes for members. I can always find a lane to get in my swim workouts. One of the things I love about Meadowbrook is the number of Seniors that are good swimmers and swim regularly. Everyone I have met has been extremely friendly. I'm considering moving to Maryland just so I can swim at Meadowbrook. :)

I have done a couple 4 hr bike rides, 2000 m swims are the norm and I have to talk to myself and focus lot on the 1.5 hr runs.
I know how important all this is right now. It will increase considerably so like going to school, it's important to learn this years material because next year you will build on what you already know... assuming you know it.
Today has been a rest day. I have learned to rest on rest day. I can't do the work next week if I don't take a break one day a week.
So until next time...

1 comment:

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