Tag Archives: training

On Doubt

Both my sister and my husband teased me a bit after the race, just a bit of “aren’t you glad you didn’t drop out?” and “you thought you couldn’t do this!” I’m not even sure that teasing is the right word.  But I was reminded that I had major, major doubts coming into this.

I had major, major doubts during the very first portion of the open water swim.  In fact, the doubt was so severe it almost developed into a full blown anxiety attack.  The buoys looked so far away, and I started to doubt myself really hard.

The thing is though, doubt is good when it comes to racing.  My doubt that I could get through a one mile swim is what had me at the pool, swimming a mile or close to it, twice a week, from January until the week of the race.  It had me standing in a freezing cold lake the first weekend it was open for swimming, dunking my head in and out of the water to force myself to shorten my breathing so that I could force myself to take deep breaths in cold water.  I know plenty of people who do their first triathlon on minimal training, figuring that they can swim, and ride, and run, and so why would they need to do those things all at once? I have a friend who did his first International distance race to train for his first half-Iron distance race, and I did his only practice open water swim with him and we definitely did not swim a mile.  Doubt is why it took me so long to sign up for a longer distance tri, even though it’s been on the bucket list for four years.  Well, doubt, and money.  But I doubted myself so much I knew I had to really push myself in training.

For a person like me, who handles that little voice inside her that says, “you can’t do this!” by saying, “just watch me.”, racing is how I conquer doubt.  It’s also how I remind myself that I can do big, scary, hard life things.  Finals became easier for me once I started running half marathons.  One of the things I’m learning in therapy is that anxiety is not an unproductive emotion until it becomes too severe – a small amount is a good thing, it can help you be more prepared and I’m trying to channel my anxiety into going, doing, being, instead of letting my anxiety rule me and tell me that I can’t do things.

I know a lot of people who let their doubts and anxieties and issues keep them from doing awesome things.  I have known several people who have dropped out of races because they didn’t think they had trained well enough for them – even if they had completed way more training than I had for the same distance.  I know a lot of people who have talked themselves out of professional opportunities because they doubt they are qualified for a position or they doubt they will get an interview or the job.

The day I decided that I was going to do this race and get pulled out of the water if I really couldn’t handle the swim was the moment I stopped giving into my doubt.  I did it, in fact, by giving into it.  The easiest way for me to shut the voice up is to say, “I’m going to try” and recognize that failure is, in fact, possible.  Because the truth is, failure is an option.  But trying is a learning experience.  If I had DNF’d the swim, I would have learned something about it for next time and I would have eventually done it.  And I would have done the bike and the run and I would have been okay and felt okay about myself.  Obviously, one should never do something one is too horribly untrained or extremely injured to attempt, but if the only reason you are scared to go forward and do something is that you haven’t done it before? Go forth.  Be awesome.

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Unexpected Setbacks

Last Monday, on my way to court, I got rear ended. I’m fine, I went to the doctor and everything, but the accident was hard enough to cause wiplash and the doc recommended I take a week off of exercise.  I still stayed active, but I wasn’t able to get my SBR schedule from last week in. 

I have to make a decision by April 18th whether to do the race or not.  There is a $20 cost to deferring but that puts the race off until next year and I’m worried about committing to all of this training again.  I think I would probably rather risk not finishing the race in the time allotted and/or possibly having to DNF the open water swim, and hope that I’m able to pull it together and finish.  Fortunately, I anticipated the unexpected and worked hard to build up my base.  Now I have to work hard to make brick workouts happen and regular swimming on weeknights.  My husband is biking to work again, which means that I can swim before work on days I need to drive, but I think I simply need to start committing more evening time to my training. 

This morning I ran a 5k, which was two miles away.  I ran there and the race, and got a ride home with a friend, but her car was a mile away, so I did 5 miles and I am feeling generally good about the run, so I think instead of focusing on being able to run the whole 6 miles, I’m going to work on my brick workouts.  This means doing 1-2 miles on the treadmill after spin, which will be exhausting but I think will pay off in 5 weeks. 

I keep reminding myself that my friend K. barely trained at all for his olympic distance and half iron distance tris, and still survived, so since I don’t have a time goal in mind, I should be able to survive as well.  I have been having some knee problems, but I’m hoping a good tape job can help with that.  The thing I can’t keep putting off is getting back out on my road bike, which I’ve been avoiding until the spring and until my husband could ride again because I don’t like to ride it alone.  I know the more I ride it, the more comfortable I am on it, so with you all as my witness, I am committing to riding it at least once a week for the next five weeks.

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Endless Winter

It snowed today. I went to the gym and ran on the treadmill and did the stationary bike.  And felt grouchy.  I’ve been generally keeping a positive attitude regarding the snow and horrible cold weather.  Well, as positive an attitude as a cycle commuter with self-diagnosed Seasonal Affective Disorder can.  We have been extraordinarily lucky the past few weekends and I feel glad to have taken advantage of all of them to do long bike rides and a half-marathon and be outside.  This weekend was all rain, all the time.  UNTIL IT TURNED INTO MORE EFFING SNOW. 

Tomorrow, they are calling for 64 and sunny.  Wednesday is 67.  It’s mid fifties and mid sixties into the middle of next week, WHEN I’M SURE IT WILL EFFING SNOW AGAIN.  I have lost all hope that this winter will end.  And don’t even tell me that I should be grateful and at least I don’t live in South Dakota or Chicago or the North Pole, because y’know what? I DON’T LIVE THERE.  I CHOSE TO LIVE HERE.  WHERE MARCH IS SUPPOSED TO GO OUT LIKE A LAMB, NOT LIKE AN EFFING SNOWSTORM. 

I need to be able to run outside.  I need to be able to ride my bicycle outside. I need to be able to swim outside.  My tri training has slowed down, partially because I’m so sick of being indoors.  I’m sick of getting up at 5:30 to go sweat indoors in a sauna.  I can’t imagine the idea of another freezing cold run.  I am tired of adjusting my helmet around my hat and the 5 minutes it takes me to find my gloves before I can leave the house. 

This week, I’m going to pretend that spring is here and spring is staying.  Here is my plan:

Monday: AM – Run; PM – Spin class
Tuesday: AM – Swim; PM – WeightsWednesday: AM – Spin Class; PM – Run
Thursday: AM – Swim; PM – Weights
Friday: Rest (Run if it didn’t happen Wednesday.)
Saturday: Yoga. Outside.  It will be 66 and mostly sunny, goddammit.  Long bike ride.  Maybe swim. Probably nap instead of swim. 
Sunday: Swim; long run.

Are you as tired of winter as I am? Do you believe Spring is coming?

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Fail Week

This week may be the first week I can’t meet my two swims.  The gym is closed today due to the snow, and our car is under a foot and a half of snow.  So, no swimming.  Hopefully they will reopen tomorrow so that I can get in at least one mile-long swim this week.  I’m also hoping our neighbors shovel their sidewalks enough to allow for some running later today.  But for now, I’m bundled up and working from home.  

They warned us at the tri club meeting at the beginning of the season that there will be weeks that you don’t meet all of your training goals.  You will take a week off here or there, and that’s okay.  I’m already feeling like I have a really good base for this race, so I just need to keep sticking with the program and I will have a good race.  I already feel like I can survive it as long as I don’t totally choke on the swim.  Which is not a foregone conclusion.  So I will keep swim swim swimming.  If the outdoor pool at our gym opens in April like it did last year, I plan to swim at least 3 days a week to acclimate to the cold and also to make sure that I can really swim the distance – I figure since the swim is my weakest event, I should practice it the most.  

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Marathons & Halfs

My husband just registered for his very first marathon!  I also went ahead and signed up for my seventh(?) half marathon.  Which is a full six weeks before the half I was planning to do, so this is going to complicate my training schedule a bit more, but will mean that after the race is over, I still have 8 weeks to go before my tri, and can back off my long distance running and focus more on the bike and swim.  However, an accelerated training schedule means potential injury, so I have to be careful.  

In the next seven weeks, I plan to follow Hal Higdon’s basic program in a way that makes sense with my tri training, so my swim-run days can still be Tuesday and my Wednesdays cross training can still be a cycle day.  My weekend cross training will work well with swimming or cycling on Saturdays or Sundays, plus I still play hockey.  I usually train up to 11 miles before a half, so I’m planning on doing that now as well.  Right now I can already run 5 miles, so I’m planning to start at Week 5 of the 12 week program, which gives me exactly 7 weeks.  I’m hoping to build in speed work, but this is probably not the race to worry about getting a PR.  


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