Yes! I know it will be hot, and if you have been reading, you surely understand that I will stop at nothing to figure out ways to deal with pain and difficult conditions.
Yesterday was a perfect preparation day for Louisville. Sticky humidity and temps in the mid-80s. I took full advantage.
My legs were nice and cooked after Saturday’s 77 mile bike on Natchez Trace, so Sunday was a good test. I was sorta thinking a morning run, but opted for rollerblades. It was around 10 am, sunny and heating up fast.
I rolled into the Energy Lab and did some relatively easy recovery work, then added a couple hard intervals at mile 8 and 9. I cruised back home after about an hour and 15 minutes.
But the real fun happened later that afternoon.
About six hours after my skate, I yanked on my Yankz and went out for a tempo run.
I was sweating hard at mile one and noticed a slight problem. My feet were burning up!
For some reason I wore thick, high-ankle hiking socks and stopped to take them off. But as I stood there, feet burning, I decided to indulge the suffering.
It was, after all, a training run, and here was a good chance to feel and work through the inevitable burning feet. Let me tell you, it was not easy, but about three miles in, I became “accustomed” to that pain and it no longer distracted me from the mission.
So, those three miles were a “warm up” before launching into my first 5k pace tempo mile. It lasted about 800 yards.
Combined with everything else, the heat was too much. I backed off and and tried to keep what I hope will be my race pace at Louisville for the rest of the run (9 miles total).
It was difficult to keep that pace, but it always got easier if I relaxed. You see it all the time. People breathing so damn hard, fighting their run. Pushing off with force, just trying so hard to make one more step. But like my favorite poet always said, sometimes it’s better when you “Don’t try.”
I consciously let go of resistance and focused on letting tension leave my body. I shortened my stride and controlled breath. It’s an odd juxtaposition, but if you can figure out how to relax while you’re running (or swimming or biking) it’s often easier to go faster.
This is what I call training. It’s not fun. It’s not easy. In fact, it can suck. But the whole goal of preparing for an Ironman is to be ready for these tough moments. You beat up your legs, push yourself to the edge, then see if you have what it takes to go over.
Working out on tired legs in less than optimal conditions is how you get better. It’s how you build strength, toughness and speed. It’s how you finish Ironman on your terms.
Now, I will recover for a bit and repeat.