Someone asked me the other day if I was taking a break from Crushing Iron, and I suppose the answer is . . . maybe. I have been struggling with training and along with that comes an apprehension to write. But my battles with workouts aren’t so much that I “can’t” do them as much as I’m curious to know how little I can get away with.
Lately, my training has been pretty unique and someday soon I’ll fill you in on the methodology, but for now, let’s just say, “I’m kinda doing what I want.”
While training for IRONMAN Wisconsin, I worked out nearly every day for a year. I was crippled by guilt if I didn’t. For this half, it couldn’t be further from the truth. I am routinely skipping days and frankly don’t feel that bad about it.
And it’s not like I think the race will crush me, either. In fact, I’m right on the edge of believing I may actually do pretty well. I’m doing “just enough” to keep my head in the game and am very intrigued to find out if that is enough.
In some ways I’m trying to save my career as a triathlete. I did very well in my first Ironman, but it beat me up. The mental high was off the charts, but it crashed on me pretty hard. The physical remnants of exhaustion are still lingering.
But occasionally, I find a groove, like last night.
I have been going into my workouts with a different perspective. I set the bar low, then gauge how I feel after 30 minutes or so. Last night I should have probably biked, but it was nice and I felt like running. I punched my watch and started jogging into the greenway for a 5-6 mile run.
Every inch after the three mile point was pushing me over six miles, but I was feeling good and stretched my turnaround point to 3.5. Then, four, then . . . I was in no man’s land.
From my house the end of the greenway is 4.5 miles, then I can take a shorter route back home to make it a 7 mile run, but that didn’t seem like enough. I kept going into the park and added another couple miles. Around an hour and fifteen minutes into the run, my watch flipped to 9 miles. It was unbelievable.
If I had planned for 9 miles I doubt I would have made it, but I was totally going by feel. I wasn’t forcing anything and it was honestly one of the best runs I’ve had in my life. Normally I am limping at the 7-8 mile mark, but last night not a part of me was even the least bit sore. I thought about going for the half marathon, but decided to walk away on top.
How often do we do that in Ironman training? Leave the pool, climb off the bike, or walk away from a run when we feel good? For me it was rare, but I think it might be the only way I will keep training for triathlon.
So, as I close in on NOLA, let’s hope this strategy is working. I don’t expect it to be a masterpiece of a race, but have a more important goal . . . to enjoy it.