Sign, Sign, Everywhere A Sign
Sign Sign everywhere a sign
Blocking out the scenery breaking my mind
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign
–5 Man Electrical Band
Saturday I went for a long bike ride and everything — excepting my bike computer which has been flukey for two weeks now — went smoothly. I was able to hold steady output, kept heart rate within a about a dozen beats of the average regardless of whether I was uphill or downhill, and generally had a good attitude for nearly four hours. I followed it with a short brick run at a blazing 7:43 pace. Two good signs.
For Sunday, I had been looking forward to a benchmark set of 4×600 r. :30. I was ready to push and see some payoff from the extra time in the pool this winter. Upside — I swam well ahead of pace and what I had quietly told myself would be a good set of splits. I finished with an 8:22, 8:23, and 8:27. But there was a countersign. Part way through the third 600, I could feel the wheels coming off. My form was going to hell. I was concentrating, pushing harder, stretching further and it was all coming undone. So, about 1,500 meters into the 2,400 meter set, I made the decision to arbitrarily shorten it to 3×600 and to hold out for another day. I didn’t want to reinforce bad habits. When tired plus fast leads to sloppy stroke, the sign is certainly counterproductive. Mixed signals that on balance pointed in the wrong direction for my training.
Late that night, still stewing on having swum to failure (too soon), I went out into a “wintery mix” and had a very slow, very uncomfortable and disheartening 56 minute run. It was the slowest pace I’ve turned in since Lake Placid training started in January. Arg! Another bad sign.
Tuesday was back on track with a solid run effort that included 3×3 minute intervals and the first core work I’ve done in a few weeks. With a medicine ball and a BOSU, stomach work was actually fun. Both workouts felt good and put my head in a better place. Then last night I had another short brick scheduled and after a forgettable but not unproductive 46 minutes on the bike I went out and had a fabulous run. Granted, it only lasted 15 minutes but there was absolutely no sensation of “dead legs” that are nearly inevitable after a ride and more than going fast, I was running without any conscious effort. Over 2.14 miles, I averaged a 7:08 pace. This is unheard of for me.
Best advice is probably to stop paying attention to all of the trees — each individual workout will be meaningless come race day — and to look a little more at the forest. The signs are too hard to interpret. To that end, I’m looking forward to taking on a new nutrition and food challenge in April. More on that in a future post.