Tag: intervals

zone 2 run aka mental intervals

Yesterday was my 3rd day back to training after being at full rest for a week with the stupid germs.

A nice, slow and easy run…zone 2 all the way is definitely what I needed. My crazy runner brain struggled. Basically, dealing with my crazy brain is a lot like negotiating with my kids for “just 5 more minutes” at bedtime. (“No? How ’bout 3?” Pahleeeeeease?!”)

The result? Intervals – in my brain.

15 min warm up with sane brain: “Oh, this feels so good just to be back running and off the couch. I feel so much better. I’m so happy there’s more pavement and it’s not too, too cold.”

Main set: mental intervals

10:00 zone 2 with sane brain / 2:00 battle with crazy brain (repeat -over and over and over…)

Set 1: 10:00: “feeling good. lungs feel good. nice & easy.” / 2:00: crazy brain: “I bet I lost fitness. I’m so glad I turned of pace for this run. Oh, I’m so slow.”

Set 2: 10:00: “No, this is good. I’m choosing this pace. I’m choosing to run slowly because I want to stay healthy.” / 2:00 crazy brain: “Is there really much of a difference between low zone 3 and zone 2? I don’t think so.” Sane Brain: “yes, there is. stop it.” CB: “I dunno, it still feels pretty easy.” “no, stop it.” CB: “fine.”

Set 3: 10:00: “It’s actually good that there’s so many icy spots, it’s keeping things at the right pace.” / 2:00 crazy brain: “If I walk across an icy spot and my HR drops into z1, it’s fine to pop it up to z3, it’ll be a z2 average.” Sane brain: “It’s not the average, the whole run is easy, not to exceed z2.” CB: “Average is fine, that’s all that shows on the workout summary.” “no, stop it.” CB: “fine.”

Set 4: 10:00: “I can do this. Just focus on being grateful to be running at all today.” / 2:00 crazy brain: “3.2… but on a hill. I’ll run in z2, except for the uphills.” Sane Brain: “no, z2 the whole run.” CB: “it’s impossible to stay in z2 uphills. SB: “so slow down more.” CB: *pouts*

Set 5: 10:00: “Almost done. I’ve got this. I think I did a pretty darn good job.” / 2:00 crazy brain: “Another runner! crap! they’re gonna think this is my pace. I’ll just pick it up a little until I get around a corner.” Sane Brain: “He’s not gonna think anything.” CB: “oh yes he will.” SB: “It’s 26 degrees and he’s running in shorts, he’s not thinking.” CB: “good point.”

A short love story

“If Trainer Intervals inTentyou’re lucky enough to have someone who will grind out a bunch of intervals on the fluid trainer with you in the dark at 5:45am,
you’re lucky enough.”

~ inTent & inLove

Letting Go of the Perfect Workout

inTent on VacationWhat’s wrong with this picture? It’s a beautiful day. No rain, no snow, mild temperatures in the mid-70s…and I’m on a fluid trainer. While I spin away at least ten other “riders” cycle past me…on my fluid trainer.

As they pass, I think about how I “should” be on the road today. I try to rework the day’s schedule in my head. I should’ve gotten up earlier so I could’ve done both my swim and my ride. I should’ve done the ride in the early morning and then squeezed the pool into the afternoon plans, somehow. I sure Kelsey would be on the road today.  Ugh, if I was really as committed to my training…

What you can’t see in this picture are my kids, but they’re there. They’re on the other side of the screen door, mostly getting along nicely. In addition to training, I have the secondary task of refereeing. Will bonked Hannah on the head. Hannah’s not letting Will see the screen and he can’t see the video. Will’s turn is longer than Hannah’s.

The whining and peace-keeping adds an interesting dimension to intervals. For sure it isn’t perfect.  It is damn good, though.

So why do I do this to myself? I was in the pool at 6:00am and had a great workout. I’m here on my trainer, working hard and focusing on my goal to improve my cycling strength. And I’m beating myself up by comparing myself to stories that I’m making up about other people. Contrary to some competitive thinking – this isn’t motivating me to dig in and train harder. I’m just feeling badly about the good work that I’m doing, right now.

No one likes feeling this way. I don’t want to ruin the workout. It’s time to “cough up that hairball” of crappy thinking and refocus.

 1. I’m an amateur athlete. I compete against other amateur athletes. We all have lives and responsibilities outside of triathlon. I like this about my fellow tri peeps.
2. I have other options. I could add more childcare, but I really don’t want to. I choose to mash-up my training with my family life. It makes me happy.
3. It’s called a PR. Personal Record. It’s not a record for training in someone else’s life or anyone else’s body. It’s doing my best with my own life, my own training, my own ability, and my own circumstances.

Hairball gone, I focus on pushing through the burning in my legs. I enjoy the view of the salt marshes across the road and the occasional cyclist and runner passing. I smile at the complaints about the slow internet and stalled videos as they sail through the screen door.  I take extra special pleasure in my 10 year old daughter’s warning that people are going look at me funny in the driveway. I’m letting go of perfect, and it’s damn good.

As a sports performance coach, I know this stuff. As a human being, I forget, I’m human.

procrastination & BTTW*

Balls to the WallArriving to the pool at 5:45 is feat in itself.  For me, it means everything has to be packed and laid out and ready to go.  Fins, goggles, cap, water, nutrition bar, inhaler, towel – everything needs to be packed and at the back door. The alarm needs to sound at 5:10 – and I need to roll out of bed and not give myself space to think about much at all.  This morning, it was like clockwork, no thinking, and I was at the pool right at 5:40.

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of arriving at the pool in the dark, only to realize that your swim bag didn’t make the trip.  It was packed. It was ready. And it was still next to the back door. ugh.  Luckily, I had been meaning to clean out my backpack since sometime in August. So procrastination saved the swim.  I had a pair of old, crappy goggles and cheap yellow race cap.  I was still in business. “Crisis averted” – my husband would say.

Leaky goggles are no fun, but I was able to do the workout. It was a heck of a workout. I was exhausted when I finished.  My legs and ankles were tired from: 8 x 25 kicks on back w/ arms in tight streamline @ :15 rest (odds = easy, evens = FAST).  I am making some progress: 1. my head wasn’t cranked up like an otter, 2. I didn’t drift into any other swimmers AND, 3. I discovered two broken ceiling tiles just before the wall, one at each end of the pool.  So, still no flags, but an effective proxy.

After fatiguing my legs, I got to practice some BTTW intervals: 12 x 50 @ 1:30 [4 x (2 x 50 easy/ 50 BTTW. Before hiring coach Kelsey, I’d never heard of BTTW.  *For anyone else who might not know, it means “balls to the wall”.  I think I may rename it, “IMP” (I might puke). With the short distance, 50 yards, I gave it everything – I felt like an arm flailing beast.   For the easy intervals my swim time was :50 & :40 for my BTTW. I’m not sure that was fast. BUT…one of the flip-turn swimmers asked if I was doing intervals.  I thought this was confirmation that I at least looked like I was trying to swim at varying speeds. Awesome.

After a few easy sets I was ready for another bttw set: 12 x 25 @ :10 rest [3 easy/ 3 bttw/ 2 easy/ 2bttw/ 1 easy/ 1 bttw]. The bttw 25’s were consistently :20, until the last one.  I think this was my true bttw level – all out.  I “beasted” out a :17/:18 (hard to see the swim clock, and I don’t want to overestimate my bttw speed).

I’ve heard from just about every flip-turn (experienced) swimmer I’ve met that runners are known for their lack of kick.  This fact and the fact that running doesn’t translate to biking power either, frustrate me endlessly.  But it is what it is.  I want to be a faster swimmer and I need a stronger kick to get there.  This is how I’ll get there, not more running.