Monday: Swim—Masters swim team (3000 yds)
This was the day we did our New Year’s workout. I guess the traditional New Year’s swim workout is 100 x 100, which my tri club did on December 31 (I couldn’t attend because I was working). This fact was relayed to me with absolutely no acknowledgement that it’s really weird that there is a “traditional New Year’s swim workout” at all. But I digress. Obviously, we didn’t have time for 10,000 yards in our one hour practice, so we did a (much) shorter variant.
50 x 50 @ :55
I bet you’re wondering how we kept track of those 50s. I knew what this workout would be ahead of time, so I spent some time over the weekend pondering it. Turns out, so did the coach. His idea was similar to mine, but better. We ended up doing an abacus system using a kickboard, pull buoy, and the tiles on the edge of the pool. The pull buoy was the “ones” tracker and the kickboard was the “tens” tracker. I’d move the pull buoy up one tile each time we came back to the wall. Once it moved up ten tiles, I’d move the kickboard up one tile and move the pull buoy back down to the bottom. This worked perfectly until number 45-ish when someone knocked them all askew. Anyway, the workout was tough, and when I was tired after doing ten 50s, I didn’t think I’d make it through. But the pace we were holding turned out to be comfortably hard. It was never really easy, but I never hit the point where I couldn’t keep up my pace. I hit most of the 50s in around 45 seconds with 10 seconds to rest.
Tuesday: Run—5 miles (36:49); 7-minute abs
I did my core work during lunch again because I knew I’d struggle to get it done after my workout. I was supposed to do a speed workout at the track. I thought the rain and the warmer temperatures would clear the high school tracks. I was wrong. The track was still covered with about four inches of snow. I was going to do the workout anyway, but after two laps warming up, I thought, “This is really stupid and I don’t want to be here.” So I packed up and left. Once I got home, I did a five-mile tempo instead. It was the right decision. I kind of threw the route together, so it was just three loops of a course that allowed me to not stop at any stoplights. I ran too fast the first loop, so I dialed it back a bit the second two loops. Still, I finished the run with a 7:21/mile pace, my fastest five miler yet. And despite running quite a bit faster than my plan called for, I think I ran it at proper tempo effort. It was hard, but not impossibly so. My form was staying strong, and I was able to keep my pace up with minimal concentration. I could have had short “running” conversations had I been running with someone else.
Wednesday: REST; 7-minute abs
I finally slept well and woke up feeling nice and rested on Wednesday. I was glad to have a day off working out. It was cloudy and threatening precipitation all day (not that that’s going to change anytime soon). I did do some core work. Two days of core by Wednesday… let’s see if I finish the last day before Sunday.
Thursday: Run—884m, 8 x 800, 884m
After my little snafu at the track on Tuesday, I decided to just bite the bullet and pay to run at the Olympic Oval again. I went in the morning this time which meant setting my alarm for 4:10 (but not getting up until 4:19—I always plan for one “snooze”). Too early. Anyway, I woke up and made sure to drink some water and eat a banana before heading off to the Olympic Oval. There were a few runners there and a couple of hockey teams playing a game (or practicing?). Because the track is over 400m long, I did the same routine as last time. My rest after each 800 was walking back up to the 800 start, except for after the fourth repeat where I took approximately double that. My times were as follows:
3:16.7, 3:20.8, 3:19.3, 3:17.8
3:19.3, 3:18.1, 3:18.4, 3:17.1
It took me a while to dial in on my pace, perhaps because of the longer track which is a little bit of a mental adjustment. But I held my pace better than the last time I did this workout. I think it might be because I wasn’t dying of thirst. After doing some reading and discovering that indoor tracks typically have cool (duh, especially when they are also ice skating rinks), dry air, I made sure to bring a bottle of water to drink between reps. That is now a must-have when running there. It was a hard workout, but I did a good job pushing the pace. During the last couple reps, I was feeling the leg burn before finishing the first 200, but I was able to keep the pace up and finish well.
Friday: Swim—Masters swim team (1500yds)
There was snow outside when I woke up, and I heard in the locker room at the pool that it was worse the further south you got. Considering I work “further south,” I was a little concerned about what the drive would be like. So, when the coach didn’t show up at practice, I decided to leave early to give myself some time (hence the shortened workout):
4 x 50 kick/swim
4 x 50 distance per stroke
5 x 100 @ 1:40
I was not prepared to motivate myself that early in the morning after a hard workout the day before, and I was worried about the weather and the traffic. The weather turned out to be manageable, but the traffic picks up a lot in the extra thirty minutes I would have spent in the pool, so I think it was a fine decision, especially considering it was my second swim of the week.
Saturday: Run—15 miles (1:59:13); 7-minute abs
You know you’ve joined the Dark Side when you look at the map for your 15 mile run and are excited about how short it is. Throughout the morning before my run, I drank one and a half bottles of water and fueled with a banana, a bowl of frosted flakes, some cheese and crackers, an egg with toast, and a half a glass of chocolate milk. That looks like a lot written out, but I ate it between 7:00am and 10:30am, so it was spread out. The weather was in the low/mid-30s, so it was a bit warmer than it had been, which was welcome. I noticed my knee was a bit sore within the first couple of miles, but once it warmed up, any pain went away. I hit the first pace check at a little under 8:20/mile. Because the first three miles is mostly uphill, I was very pleased and was pretty sure it would be a good run. I naturally picked it up as I descended but I was still running comfortably. I was surprised when I hit the 8 mile point at just around an 8:00/mile pace and started to wonder if I could keep that pace up and break two hours. I still felt strong, but in the later miles, when I stopped at stoplights, my knee started to stiffen up and hurt a bit for the first few steps when I started back up again. I was keeping up my pace well, and when I hit the “all downhill from here” point, I knew I could potentially break two hours. I picked up the pace a bit, but I didn’t want to push it too hard just to hit some spontaneous, arbitrary goal. And I made it! I finished in 1:59:13, with an overall pace of 7:57/mile. My knee stiffened up and was pretty sore, so I used the advice I always got in college—ice and ibuprofen. I plan on keeping my eye on it to make sure it doesn’t turn into a problem. Training for a marathon this off-season was a really good idea. I’ve gained so much confidence running that it’s hard to believe. Oh, I also did core work in the evening.
Sunday: Bike—50 minutes
My knee was still a little sore from my long run on Saturday, but luckily, I couldn’t feel it at all on the bike. The benefit of being a triathlete is that if something hurts from one discipline, you can give it a few days rest while still continuing to train. It was cold, but still warmer than it has been lately, so I went out for a little longer than my standard 30 minute Sunday ride. It was cloudy for most of the ride, but towards the end, the sun came out, and it was nice to actually spend some time in the sun. It’s been a while! I’m hoping to get out on the bike a little more next week, but the weather doesn’t look like it’s planning on making that easy for me, so we’ll see.