Saturday, March 29, 2008
Starting last Sunday, I had a little twinge in my back. I didn't think much of it. Figured I had slept wrong and it would go away in a couple of days. When I went out to run that day, I sort of ran out of steam after about a mile. I wasn't tired; I didn't hurt; I just sort of . . . stopped. When I got back to my house, my dad said, "Well, there was probably a reason why you didn't want to run today." Whatever, I thought. The reason is because I suck!
The next day, I went to Pawnee Prairie Park to try that long run again. I thought that it would be more interesting and therefore more bearable to run on trails than on the long, straight, boring dirt roads. And I was correct! After the first ten minutes, I felt right as rain and at peace with the whole world, running over a soft, grassy trail and enjoying the sounds of nature.
Then, after about 20 minutes, I felt a little niggling pain in my right buttock, just to the right of my sacrum. Ooh, I thought. I don't think that's good. So I slowed to a walk, trying to determine what that pain might possibly be. After a few minutes of walking, it went away, so I tried again. Nope, there it is again. And I continued in that manner for the next 20 minutes or so, experimenting with walking and running to see what caused pain and what didn't. It was never so bad that I couldn't have run through it; I could definitely have kept going through this pain. But it was the kind of pain that made me slow down because something is definitely wrong back there.
Tuesday I managed a twenty-mile bike workout without pain, but today's spinning class brought it out. I have an appointment with a physical therapist on Tuesday, so we'll see what's up. I think that it's sciatic pain brought on by knots and tension in my piriformis, but considering the alternative possible causes (i.e. a herniated disc), I think it's best to be sure. Until then, I will not be running or cycling (except for my Monday morning spin class).
And that is the tragic tale of the pain in my ass.
6 x 100 Fast
2 x 50 Focus on technique
5 x 100 Fast
2 x 50 Technique
4 x 100 Fast
2 x 50 Technique
3 x 100 Fast
2 x 50 Technique
2 x 100 Fast
2 x 50 Technique
Robin didn't specify rest intervals, so here's what I did:
100 SKIPS (swim, kick, IM, pull, swim)
5x100 fast on 3:00 interval
2x50 for technique
4x100 fast w/ 1:00 RI (rest interval)
2x50 for technique
3x100 fast on 2:00 interval
2x50 for technique
2x100 fast w/ 1:00 RI
100 cool down
I think the 3:00 intervals were a little long; they enabled me to pretty much fully clear the lactate from my blood, starting each repeat fresh. The 1:00 rest interval was challenging; I saw my form and speed deteriorate over the course. The 2:00 intervals were frickin' hard, but I only lost :02 between the first and last repeat. I averaged about 1:38-1:39 on my splits, with the fastest being 1:35 and the slowest 1:44 (the very last 100). But the whole workout was fully awesome.
Thanks, Robin, for a wonderful workout!
Thursday, March 27, 2008
SPINNING WORKOUT 18 - ROLLERS (45 minutes)
Higher (3:55): Pre
What I'm Trying to Say (3:23): Pre
Porcelain (4:01): Pre
Rockin' the Suburbs (4:29): Warm up with one light climb; +(5), up @ 2nd chorus; -(4), down @ last chorus
Karma (4:18): Moderate to high climb; +(5) @ beginning; +(6), up @ verse, stay quick; +(7), stay quick @ “I remember when”; -(6) @ chorus; +(7) @ “I remember when”; +(8) @ 2nd time through chorus to end
Hey Baby (3:29): Descent; quick break to coast and bring resistance back down; beginning in (3), easy, quick spin; small increase every 64 counts (just enough to feel a little change); at (4)-(5) @ chorus; in (4), easy, quick spin; small increase every 64 counts; (4)-(5) @ chorus; quick in (5) at chant; add a little bit @ last chorus; pick up tempo @ 2nd time through chorus
Can't Stop (4:29): Moderate climb; intro to cruise, build to cadence; in (5) or just a little above, find climbing rhythm; add a little at 2nd half of verse; +(6), up @ 2nd verse; add a little at 2nd half of verse; down in (6) @ bridge, guitar solo; +(7), up @ last verse
Way Away (3:22): Descent; coast @ intro; begin in (3), easy, quick spin; add a little resistance @ 2nd half of verse; pick up tempo @ chorus; back off tempo at MT; +(4) @ 2nd verse; add a little at 2nd half of verse; pick up tempo @ chorus; back off @ bridge; add a little resistance every 16 counts; pick up tempo @ chorus
Satin in a Coffin (2:37): Moderate climb; ++(6), up, @ verse; +(7) @ 2nd time through verse; standing recovery @ slow bit; follow rhythm as it builds speed; back off resistance, cruise as music fades
The Machine Gun Song (2:51): Descent; in (4), match cadence; +(5), up @ chorus; -(4), down @ 2nd chorus; +(5) @ bridge; up @ next verse, stay up until end
Everlong (4:11): Descent; in (3), build to cadence; add a little at full entrance; add a little more every 32 beats during verse; don't add at MT; add every 32 beats during verse; +(5), up @ chorus; repeat sequence; rest during quiet interlude; build during song build; +(5), up @ last chorus
We're Not Gonna Take It (3:35): Moderate climb; stay in (5), down, quick; +(6), up @ chorus; down @ 2nd verse; +(7), up @ 2nd chorus; -(6) @ guitar solo; +(7) @ last chorus; -(6) @ fade
Carbon Monoxide (3:10): Moderate to hard climb; find rhythm in (6), standing; sit, maintain rhythm (adjust resistance if necessary) @ 2nd verse; +(6), up @ chorus; -(5), down, at quiet part; +(6), up @ chorus
I Ain't Saying my Goodbyes (3:43): Hard climb; cruise during intro; find rhythm in (6), up, @ full instrumental intro; add a touch @ 2nd time through verse; +(7) @ chorus; option to climb seated @ instrumental break; +(8), everyone up @ chorus; extra credit addition @ “you don't get upset,” stay consistent
Are You Gonna be my Girl (3:39): Cool down; cruise @ beginning; if you want to spin out quick on the descent, also acceptable
Somewhere Only We Know (3:57): Post
Looking for more workouts? Go here!
I had a few questions about how exactly one does the Quick Catch drill which has been so helpful for me. And what better way to demonstrate than in film? Also see Dave Scott's video, which is actually filmed on a pool deck with real swimmers (not in a bedroom with a webcam)! Any more questions about this drill (or any others), just let me know in the comments.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Friday, March 21, 2008
It seems to be a common problem, this time of year: I know I'm feeling it; several of the athletes I coach have mentioned it; I have a friend in Germany who just e-mailed me about the same thing--March Malaise; March Melancholy; March Mediocrity; March Don't-Make-Me.
Why is that? Like I said, it's the perfect time of year for training. We should all be chomping at our respective bits, rather than dreading the next workout!
I think it's because we've been training for several months, all in base training. We've worked our asses off since January, but have seen precious little result. Plus, the long steady work is starting to take its toll; after all, there are only so many times you can listen to your Long Run Ultra-Hardcore Superstar Like-Macca Playlist before you go a little nutty (and know exactly which song comes next).
If you're starting to feel a little lackluster in your training week, here are my ideas for putting some spark back into your schedule:
- Throw in some intensity. Do some fartlek work in your long workouts. Fartlek means speed play. So play! Have fun with it! Include some short intervals in your tempo workouts. Add a big kick to the end of your workouts. If you've already worked through months of base work, some high-intensity training is not going to jeopardize your path to peak fitness.
- Cross train. I know, I know; that's kind of our whole sport. I mean try something new. Find a climbing wall (or, if you are so fortunate to live in an area that has those funny things called mountains, get out and climb); take yoga or pilates; play basketball or soccer with your kids. Shake things up a little.
- Get outside! Bonus points for going with friends.
- Buy gear. You know that as soon as you pick up new equipment, you can't wait to try it out. It can be something small and simple (and cheap!) like new goggles, a running cap, or . . . okay, I can't think of anything small, simple, and cheap that you would need on your bike. What can I say? It's an expensive sport.
- Reflect on your goals. This is the one that has by far been the most helpful for me. Take some time to think about what you want from this season and what it will take to get it. If you can remind yourself why you're working so hard and keep those things in front of you all the time, your motivation will strengthen. I recently finished a book that suggested writing down your goals and using a colored dot (or gold star, or anything similar) next to each goal. Let's say I place a red dot next to each goal on my goal sheet (I actually use a pocket-sized notebook for this). Then I put red dots on my toothpaste, my phone, my watch, my computer screen . . . Everywhere I look, I'm constantly reminded of my goals. Pretty soon, I think of my goals when I see a stop sign, or a red light. Even thinking about the technique gets me excited!
- Rest. This is a big one. Don't skimp on recovery. Lack of motivation and general ennui are some of the symptoms of overtraining. Remember that it's better to be 10% undertrained than 1% overtrained, come race day. If you've been pushing hard and your body starts to say, "Hey! I don't wanna do this!" then listen! One thing I've done in my recovery weeks is replace scheduled workouts with goal sessions; two birds with one stone (I know you triathletes love that multi-tasking stuff)!
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
So I decided that guided meditation might work as a way to help us all prepare a little bit better for that next open water race.
Let me know whether or not this works for you: Is it helpful to have someone talk you through something we all should be doing anyway? What would make it more effective? More space between comments to absorb what I'm saying? Different conditions (i.e. a cold open-water swim, lake swim, river swim, swim through high surf, pool swim, etc.)? Corny Tai Chi music?
I would appreciate any feedback on this little project of mine. Let me know if you want more!
Mental Tri Training: Open Water Swim
"This audio file is a guided meditation for the use of open-water swimmers. In it, you will focus on relaxing and practicing good form. Try to visualize yourself completing each movement. The more real it is in your mind, the more beneficial the meditation will be in improving your neuromuscular performance in swimming."
Monday, March 10, 2008
I've seen a 10-20 second decrease in the pace of my 100 yard repeats in the past month. I attribute the bulk of this new speed to one drill: the quick catch drill.
I spent all of last summer working on my balance on body position. I spent the off-season focusing on my recovery, entry, and breathing. By January, I was looking pretty good in the water. But I still wasn't going anywhere (at least nowhere fast). Focusing on my catch has allowed me to apply more power to the water using my arms, shoulders, back, and core. It took about a month of doing quick catch drills constantly--the first workout I tried it, I could only do about 30 meters before my arms were exhausted--for me to work the concept into my stroke, but it was definitely worth it.
I recommend doing the following sets (maybe not all at once, though) to help you incorporate the quick catch.
Drill Set 1
25 quick catch
25 fist swim
25 quick catch
25 regular swim
4x25 as fast as possible while maintaining the feel of quick catch
Drill Set 2
8x50 drill quick catch/50 swim (if you can't do quick catch for a full 50 to begin, do alternate 25 drill by 25 swim)
4x25 as fast as possible while maintaining perfect form
Drill Set 3
8x50 fingertip drag, incorporating the feel of quick catch (I love using fingertip drag as a base for focusing on other drill points, because it forces you to swim slowly with relaxed arms)
8x25 quick catch drill with high arm turnover
Quick catch drill isn't the secret to success for all mid-level swimmers, but it is the next step for many of the athletes I'm coaching currently, so I bet that it'll also apply to some of you.
For more on why quick catch is important, read this.
Last week I absolutely nailed my swim workouts. Remember a couple weeks ago when I had to switch my workout plan from swimming 100s on a 2:00 interval to a 2:15 to give me enough time for recovery? This week I left comfortably on 2:00 for 4 repetitions, about :20 to spare between each one. I hit my 300s in 5:40, and my 25s in :19-:22. In the SwimEx this week, I swam 2.5 MPH. Also, my butterfly is starting to actually look like a swim stroke, instead of a drowning cat. I feel like a rock star.
The weather here was getting warmer and warmer, but then last week we had a ridiculous cold snap. I went out trail running on Saturday, despite the 20-degree weather (not factoring windchill). 4.2 miles in 40 minutes on the trails.
Yesterday, the cold snap broke. It was sunny and mid-50s with light wind from the north. I rocked out for 40 miles, averaging 16.9 MPH (which is only gonna go up, baby). Besides which, my ridiculous mid-arm bike jersey tan is back (whoo!).
This is exactly where I want to be, building up some solid momentum as I transition from base building to the higher-intensity, more demanding workouts of my build phase. This is the first year where I've really felt everything come together.
It's time to get excited for this season.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
GMC Workout 3/5/08 - Rollers (Zone 3 & 4)
32 Flavors (6:07) 92 BPM: Warm up (Zones 1-3)
Barely Listening (4:06) 93 BPM: Slight downhill (Zone 3)
Healer (3:51) 90 BPM: TT (High zone 3)
'Cause You Can (3:01) 171 BPM: Moderate hill (Zone 3)
Dammit (2:46) 109 BPM: Descent (Zone 4)
What I'm Trying to Say (3:22) 160 BPM: Moderate Hill (Zone 3)
Processed beats (3:07) 107 BPM: Descent (Zone 4)
Mockingbird (4:10) 85 BPM: Moderate climb (Zone 3)
No Brakes (3:03) 150 BPM: Intense climb (Zone 4)
Criminal (5:41) 91 BPM: Descent, with climb at the end (Zone 4)
Bathwater (4:02) 75 BPM: Intense climb (Zone 4)
Tiny Little Fractures (2:28) 144 BPM: Intense climb (Zone 4)
Tyrant (4:44) 99 BPM: Descent (Zone 4)
The Light of a Fading Star (3:52) 102 BPM: Descent (Zone 3-4)
Keep This Fire Burning (3:56) 100 BPM: Cool down (Zone 2-3)
Chan Chan (4:16) 84 BPM: Stretch (Zone 1-2)
I know the zones seem backwards ("Shouldn't my heart rate be higher while climbing than during descent?"); just go with me here. I want you to work on climbing efficiently. If you have trouble keeping your heart rate down at the beginning, keep working on it; eventually, your body will get the idea and it will make you a stronger climber. "Keep This Fire Burning" isn't available on iTunes, by the way, but I'm sure you can find your own favorite cool down song.
And a track workout . . .
1600, stride the straight-aways on the last 800
Dynamic warm up/drills
1 X 1600 -- 70% effort/zone 3
1 X 1200 -- 85% effort/high zone 3
1 X 800 -- 70% effort/zone 3
1 X 1200 -- 90 % effort/zone 4
200 active recovery between each interval
The 1200s are the key intervals, so work hardest on those. For all track workouts, record your times, but don't let them guide your pace; follow your heart rate.
Sunday, March 2, 2008
This kind of thing shouldn't be happening so consistently to an English major. Seriously. I was trained (hah!) to do this.
So some quick updates . . .
- I'm still working on the beginners' series; I'm just trying to decide between two topics for the next post.
- I do have another cycling workout on the table; unfortunately, my computer ate it yesterday (Audigy crashed and I had to start over).
- The weather here has been absolutely beautiful--60+ F and sunny (well, it's currently raining, but Thursday, Friday, and Saturday were gorgeous). I got a long run in Thursday of 10 miles, which unfortunately may have been too much. It had been two (maybe three) weeks since my last long run, and I think that the sudden re-establishment of heavy mileage demanded too much from my poor legs, which said, "Oh! no thank you! (link has some language)" As a result, my right foot and ankle are a little cranky--too cranky for running, which I discovered this morning when I tried to take advantage of the beautiful weather before church. So I may have to take (another!) hiatus from running. This is disappointing. But I will find a way (maybe the elliptical trainer?! noooo!).
- I'm still eating around 80% raw, 20% cooked. I am really enjoying salads, dried fruit, fresh fruit, and nuts. Without having to worry about getting 100% of my calories from raw food, I don't have to muck about with nasty things like green smoothies (my one attempt at a green smoothie was teeth-burningly disgusting, which isn't to say that they're all universally bad). I also feel like it's much easier to put calories back into my body after 10-mile runs and 30-mile bike rides (potatoes, anyone?).
- I road my bike to Lake Afton on Friday, wetsuit in tow, to see if it's warm enough yet for swimming. It's not.
- I've reached that magical point of base training where I feel frickin' slow. And I want to go fast. But I must stick with my plan and go slow for another month. Sigh . . .
A final note: Congrats to my friend Jonathan in the Distance for completing Ironman New Zealand this weekend! Fight on, Jonathan!