In my mind, I have been rewinding and reflecting the year over and over, trying to sort out the good and bad from 2011.
It’s been a great year, where I physically took myself to places to I had never before believed possible. Here are some of things I learned.
Some Geek stuff…
In 2011, with Ironman coming in July, I really needed to focus. In Joel Friel’s book the Triatheletes Training bible, he speaks about this topic. I gave myself over to my coach early on the year ( confusing statement I understand, I’ll explain a little later ) and he had me peaking right at Ironman Lake Placid. It is truly an amazing feeling, being physically so fit, so strong and so ready for the race. Peaking for a race is different then being ready for a race. More often then not, we run races based on fitness and experience and this is especially true with Random training.
So, there is this famous guy who has something to say about your preconceived notions and abilities. What you think may be your ceiling, could actually be your bodies perception of what it views as safe. The problem is, as you train and grow stronger, this perception ( aka central governor theory ) may not adjust itself without some help. You have to go though the wall for the “reset”. I first came across this doing some interval work early on in the year. My coach had set me up to run something 6 x 1km @ 4:05/km pace. After 3 I felt tired and dizzy and quickly backed off thinking that there was no way. After speaking to my coach, he explained his thoughts on my training and how he subscribe to this theory. Interestingly enough, the next time I tried this set, I not only pushed through this I have since ran sub 4:00 min kms.
Some Mushy stuff…
Nobody does Ironman alone.
Not a lot to say, but anyone who has done an Ironman knows this to be true. Your family, friends and team mates assist you. Although you are the one physically doing it, everyone in your circle is with you through every inch of the training.
My dog was a constant companion for the last three years. Although I rarely let her run with me, she knew when I was out and would wait anxiously for me to come home. When she heard me coming down the road she would run out and greet me and walk beside me. Sadly, I lost my dog about 2 weeks after Ironman Lake Placid and I still have a hole in my heart. Every time I come in from a ride or a run, I look for her. If you have a similar pet, love them. I miss you Sissy.
You need decide between what you want to do, and what you need to do
In one of my rogue sessions, I wrecked my legs totally. I literally ran 75K ( half of which was not in my plan ) in a 7 day period and took my legs out for almost 3 weeks. Why? Well…silliness really. I love to run, and I figured that I was not getting enough mileage on my plan. Why I figured I knew better then my coach who was working a macro-cycle for me, I am not sure. When I spoke to my coach he very patiently said those words. In essence, if I wanted to train for Ironman and achieve the type of results I was looking for…I needed to smarten up. If I wanted to go “rogue”, I would need to live with the consequences and ultimately the results I ended up with. It’s a shame a 40 year old needs to be reminded of this…but we are all human.
The Marathon on an Ironman is not a normal marathon
Loved it, but there is no way you can compare that marathon to a normal marathon. It’s going to hurt and you are going to have focus to finish it. Your mental toughness and training need to be in place. On those training days, where your first inclination is to skip it….DON’T! You need to train when you really don’t feel like training as much as when it is feeling great. I rode and ran through horrible spring conditions this year, but each one helped me on race day.
Walking has its place!
It’s okay to walk sometimes. Most of us have a pre conceived notion about walking during a run. At one point, in my quest for speed, I swore I would never walk. As I learned the differences between races, I realised that at certain points and in certain races..it was okay. For example: In an Ironman marathon, it’s okay to walk though a water station because it is about the bigger picture and plan.
Keep the goals in front of you, but not defining you
We all have goals in Triathlon, that’s just how it is. But there needs to be a separation point from what we do and who we are. Do not define yourself by the races you run or the PBs you achieve or else you will get lost. Truth is, first and foremost, we’re age groupers and we’re amateurs.
Even a bad race day is a great training day
Smile and take what the day brings you. A friend of mine is a classic example of this. At Ironman Muskoka 70.3, he had tire problems. The first one cost him his air, the second forced him to ride almost 60K on less then 50 lbs of pressure. His bike ended up being > 4 hrs where he was capable of much, much less. He came in smiling..and went out on his run smiling. How and Why? Because life is great!
Over and out