Can you complete/compete at the 140.6 distance w/ only 10 hrs of training per week?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

When to pull the plug

Training is awesome. There are days when you can feel like a rock star and then there are days when you can simply be lacking in all departments. So, how does one react to those days that seem so 'blah'? Those days when the wheels fall off 30 min into the workout. Those days when your stroke feels like absolute garbage. Those days when your HR continues to climb when pacing continues to deviate from the norm?

Today I wanted to share my 20 mile run experience so as to provide my perspective on 'when to pull the plug'. I eluded to this a bit in an older post (July 6 - "Bad Pain / Good Pain"), but wanted to get a bit more specific in this one.

Okay, so this Wednesday I toed the line on the HCP (Highland Creek Parkway) with the intention of going the big 20. Fluids/calories were in place on the Subie (Subaru) bumper, tri kit on, game face was there, and I felt poised and ready.

Lets get right to it. The first 10 miles were right on pace. HR response and leg turnover were settled in to where I always see them; 6:45 pace @ ~150 to 160 HR. Hit the 13 mark at sub 1:29 and things were looking good. No issues. Steady eddie baby!

Fastforward to miles 16 to 18. Here is where I was forced to evaluat the OVERALL value of going to the 20 spot. HR had begun to climb to the 180s and pace began to slow. Leg turnover went from mid 80s (I need to work on this indeed) down into the gloomy place of 82. Close your eyes, think NBC Ironman coverage at 16 to 17 hs, and there I am. Yep, wheels were coming off and I had to make the hard decision.

What will I gain by going another two miles at a pace that was working toward 8 plus and a cadence of low 80s (targeting 88 to 90/min). It was officially becoming a slug fest and I was hammering home wicked poor mechanics I'd want no one to see or experience.

Man was it hard to pull the plug Wednesday. Let me leave you with a key point that I will always stress to my athletes and to you. There is a time to really hurt. There is a time when you must absolutey dig deep and work through it. As you become more and more in tune with your body you learn how to handle the good and bad days. You understand the fine line one must walk (swim, bike, run) to not overload the body excessively. If you see HR increasing, pace slowing, and run cadence dropping I don't think it is worth working through it. Some may disagree and that is fine with this dog. I coud have gone 20 on Wednesday, but my likelihood of increasing my likelihood of injury and wasting my legs for the next key workout would have increased signficantly.

Friends, study your body daily. Know your numbers and play the game well.

Seize the day,
Coach L

P.S. It would have helped to see Jackie out there getting her groove on by the way. I was looking for her all morning (see July 25 post for details).

Monday, July 25, 2011

People Along the Way - Jackie

We humans are creatures of habit. Most of us have 3 or 5 running routes that we stick to and for good reason. It can allow one to look back and compare splits, HR response, etc. from one month to another. With time an athlete can begin to see improvement and become encouraged by such trending. Of course, this can also force an athlete to make every run a race. The latter is not the best approach. This post is not about analyzing data or setting PRs.

Stop and think of those familiar faces you see on 'your routes'. I know at least 10 familiar faces come to mind when I begin to reflect on the hundreds of miles I have logged on the old HCP (Highland Creek Parkway). There is the elderly lady who walks with a cane and who appears to have suffered a stroke. She is so sweet and always gives me the same smile and nod. Then there is the lady who always says, " make me tired...". Most of the time they either look at you like you are running from the Police or don't pay much attention.

However, on this particular day I saw one of my favorites. I hope to capture her in 'action' this week when I embark on my last long run for IML. Seriously, I am bringing my flip or GoPro to capture her moves. For months now I have seen her. Every time I see her I have always wanted to stop and introduce myself. Let me explain. Jackie takes up the whole side walk. She OWNS the side walk. With headsets and shades on she clearly is in her element. She shakes her little booty, draws her heel to the opposing glute, and simultaneously slings her head back. She then quickly slides to the opposite side of the sidewalk and does several stutter steps. Oh, and she is singing all the while too. You get the picture. Actually, you don't. So, I will have to hope that I get her moves on video.

So, I did what most will not do (when trying to muscle through a run that is quickly disintegrating) and stopped dead in my tracks to introduce myself. I had to meet this person that always humors me and puts a smile on my face.

In a mere 30 seconds I flat out asked her what she was doing and what her name is. I find out this awesome lady is Jackie and she is getting her groove on to some gospel music. If she had a fanpage on FB I'd be all over it.

I told her that she is awesome and I appreciated her mojo. Each time I see her I give her an air fist/thumbs up and smile. I can't wait to see her again. Oh, I forgot to mention. I saw her at least 10 times because I was doing the 1 mile 'Aid Station' route to further fine tune sound pacing for IML with appropriate fueling needs (fluids and calories/hr).

I hope you all have a Jackie in your life. She is a gem and can definitely take an average run and make it exceptional.

Get to know "your people" friends,
Coach L

Friday, July 15, 2011

What the neighbors see...

...or don't see.

If you are reading this post you too are likley to be...different. Those who follow this blog are triathletes or endurance athletes I would assume. This group of people typically dance to a different beat and find going down the path less traveled more fun/interesting. I am one of those types for sure. I'd rather stand out then blend in.

It dawned on me this AM to capture what the neighbors see IF they are up at 4 to 5 AM and are near the Leo's homestead. Below you will see a 360 degree perspective that captures the stillness of the morning. On this particular morning porch lights, sprinklers, and the newspaper delivery person reflected life from the 'pain cave'/lab. Its funny how you get to know each neighbors rituals when you spend 95% of your bike time on the CompuTrainer. Take a look and listen to our AM existence:

Anne is executing the second disk of Ironman Louisville (Real Course Video) above as she puts the finishing touches to IML prep.

We are both putting in our last 3 week block of training that will consist of 3 to 4 hr CT (CompuTrainer) rides (Real Course Video and CS 1.6) with 30 to 60 min runs post.

In this last phase of training I will highlight some of the key workouts that I am using to prepare myself for battle at IML 2011. Stay tuned for the last 6 key workouts leading up to game day!

Stay hydrated and play smart,
Coach L

Monday, July 11, 2011

Rest Week and DQ

I have had the opportunity in my years of participating in the sport of triathlon to be ultra restrictive/focused to somewhat laid back about my 'diet' and training. I have tasted both ends of the spectrum.

Flash back to my days in Greenville, NC (~2001 to 2003) where I lived the 'hard core' and super stringent way of fueling, living, and training. All I did was work, train, eat, and sleep. I'd ingest sardines on bagels I made from scratch. No joke. My fellow co-workers at ViQuest must have thought I was a freak. I bought organic everything and thought I was doing everything right. I got 8 to 10 hrs of sleep each night. I had NO clue of how good I had it back then; the gift of sleeping with NO interruption. I rode my bike to work. I would make bread that took 48 hours to produce; seriously. Oh, and I trained 18 to 25 hours/week as the norm. I had no ladies in my life because I was too focused on completing my training hand. I had no time for anything but my bike, my speedos, and for pounding the asphalt with two feet. The funny thing is as I reflect back to those days I was about 15 to 20 lbs heavier then I am today.

Okay, so fast forward to July 2011. Last week was a rest week for me and I took 3 days of complete rest. Saturday was a day of constructing Lego creations with Lukinator (Luke) and "roughing up" on the couch. I also enjoyed the simple pleasures of Dairy Queen; Chocolate Extreme Blizzard w/ my fam. I have never felt better and stronger and find that this way of approaching life seems more sustainable. Don't get me wrong troops. I have a very serios side to me, but I find that being able to let go and enjoy the finer things in life as essential. I would never have touched DQ back in GVegas. It would have had to be soy ice cream. I am grateful the Lord gave me taste buds to fully enjoy each calorie. Anne's cooking is also a huge postive add on to my life. I give her the credit for balancing out my daily intake. I eat at Whole Foods each day per her creations.

I hope you are enjoying your DQ and allowing your body to get stronger by doing nothing.

Enjoy your ice cream tonight,
Coach L

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Bad pain / good pain

There is a difference between bad and good pain.

I am now in the critical period of IM prep where one must listen intently to the signals that the body is producing. Ignore them and you can miss the opportunity to sharpen your fitness for the big day. Refuse to listen intently and you can be hobbling to the starting line versus feeling like a rock star.

As I pursue a Kona slot at IML in August with less then 10 hrs of training per week my 'ears' are well tuned for the pain signals.

Rewind to two weeks ago and I opted to tap out of the 18 mile run I had on my calendar. At 6 miles in I began to feel twinges that were new and that did not dissipate. This run ended 3.5 miles later. I have come to find that everytime I cut workouts short I come back MUCH stronger.

This bring us to today. I opted to come back and hit this critical 18 miler and see if rest would be the best medicine. I am a big believer in creating race conditions while training. If I can create a run route (for example) that mimics IML I will. Armed with 48 oz of PowerBar PERFORM I took off to my 1 mile loop and execute 18 laps. Each lap consisted of a swig of PERFORM and pacing that mirrored tempo pace +20 seconds. Rest was the optimal medicine and allowed for a 6:45 average pacing.

Back to good pain/bad pain. Today produced a heavy dosage of 'good pain'. The kind of pain that you have to deal with that will not dleave you alone. You have the option to throw the towel in or work through it. Slight deviation here, but relevant. Take the ear phones out and stop training with music/distractions. Deal with the pain and listen to your body. Moreover, listen to heart beating in your ears. I encourage you to have to deal with the uncomfortable and not rely on externals to get you through.

Okay, back to point. Today was one of those days where the legs became heavy and the legs wanted to stop. There was no knee pain (IMF 2010) that required medical attention/surgery. There was no progressively worsening pain that said, "...Yo Lance shut er' down!...".

I love these kind of workouts because I know they will prepare the mind for battle. If I were to tap out when the body is able I would not be able to fight the good fight and get to the tape.

Listen up friends and learn to decipher between the bad and good pain signals. I promise this 'skill' will allow you to race harder and faster and spend more time training.

Train hard and smart,
Coach L