This morning was perfect for a run – 52 degrees, no wind, light cloud coverage as the sun peeks through. I ran five miles as an easy run. Living where I do, “easy” means running a bit slower through hills. I was happy with my easy pace but even more so with my heart rate. I was able to keep my average heart rate at 134. In September last year I started focusing on improving my aerobic zones. I had run hard for most of my run and as a result my body would quickly jump to my anaerobic zone. My assessment tests also showed I wasn’t burning much fat. In September I focused more on heart rate – back then averaging 134 meant I was running slowly at 12:45 minute miles. Today I averaged 11:50 – slow, but a faster slow.
There are so many details and technical aspects to training. One would think “just go out and do it.” After all, isn’t that what Nike says? There are, however, things that we should focus on. If we don’t, something will happen and force us to notice. Injury, plateau pace, or even worse slowing down. Even though I work on the details, I still enjoy the activities. The fresh crisp air this morning on my run, the thrill of a downhill ride on my bike as well as the feeling of accomplishment of a climb, and the beauty of an early morning swim outside. I don’t ever want to get tunnel vision. As my friend has reminded me, I race because I train. I want to enjoy the experience of training, not just the thrill of the finish line.
In addition to the details, there are a few side effects. Battle wounds or scars or triathlon. Many runners, myself included, deal with the occasional purple toe nails. Sorry guys, us ladies have the advantage of dark toe nail polish! Heck, I have even painted skin where the nail once was…. Then there is the trade mark right greased calf cyclist have. A temporary mark, but a sign of a rider. My favorite is something I have mentioned before – the smell of chlorine on my skin hours after a swim. Call us crazy, but I don’t know a swimmer who doesn’t enjoy the scent. In an instant I am transported back to the pool.
Technical details, battle marks, and the joy of training – all important and integral to triathlon. And something I would hate to give up.