Training with a sinus cold is not ideal, but after that vicious stomach virus I had earlier this year, it didn’t seem so bad. Once again, perspective is relative. My workouts since Wednesday have been interesting. Now that I know my T pace in the pool (threshold pace) I am able to set time goals depending on the workout. Wednesday was an easier pace workout to focus on form. My friend and I paced each other well and I am very happy that my “easy” pace now is what my hard pace was this summer. Thursday and Friday I swam workouts that were right at my T pace (muscle endurance) as well as some faster sets that work on my anaerobic endurance. Friday morning I swam with a group of my friends – after the main set we all swam an all out fast 100 meters. Considering my cold and all of the training I had done through the week and that morning, I was pleased with my time of 1:51. It wasn’t my very fastest – but I will see what I can do next week.
On the bike my focus is power. After my time trial on Sunday I look more at my power out put than pace sometimes. Wednesday evening I road my bike on the trainer at home and Friday morning I went to spin class before I swam. Both times I did not let myself get by with easy spinning. Today, for the first time this year, I rode my bicycle outside. What an exhilarating experience! The sun was shining is a cloudless blue sky and the temperature was right at 50 degrees. I rode the hills in my neighborhood and tackled them with a different perspective than I ever did before. Focusing on my power output I kept pushing to keep the wattage up. Climbing hills I saw how high I could push but I also didn’t ease up on the flats. In the past I would check my speed and if I was at 18 miles per hour or more I was satisfied. Today if I saw my power wattage was under 100 even though I was riding over 18 mph, I would pick up my cadence to increase my watts. For my first outside ride of the year I covered 20 miles and averaged 16.7 mph. Last year my first ride outside on the same hills was only at 15.5 mph. I have a lot of strength and speed to pick up this year, but I also have a baseline to work from now.
Thursday morning I ran a progressive run that started with a mile easy warm up and would progressively get faster until I ran an 800 meter (half mile) staying in my zone 4. My assessment on Tuesday revealed I should be running at higher heart rate levels which translates to faster paces. I started the warmup at a twelve minute pace and keep increasing – by the end of the workout I had run 4.25 miles and my average pace was 9:46 per mile. I was pushing my pace and length of time at the pace to levels I have not run before. And I did it.
I shared my run results with my running coach. I told her that my body is telling me I am improving. My mind is actually starting to believe it. She reinforced that the process to improve is not going to feel easy, but it is not going to destroy me. This is true in so many aspects of life. In my training I will have those swims that will leave me gasping for air, I will climb hills on my bike that feel like Mt. Everest, and I will run workouts that both leave me gasping and feeling like I ran up Mt. Everest. I know the things I need to do to improve. Knowing is one thing. Doing it is another. In training, in being a friend, in being a good steward – it takes putting it into practice to see the impact. Even when it is not easy.