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Monday, March 14, 2016

Weekly Training Thoughts - The Long Swim Gets LOOONG

March 7th-13th... Another week of completely unimportant and mostly irrelevant training is in the books, and I have more thoughts to put to paper...or whatever you want to call this medium. I ran across a thought this week about training and racing and why I do all this work and spend all this time training when I'm just some schlub who's never going to be fast and never going to gain anything material out of it all.

My profession, my work feeds my stomach. But training and racing feeds my soul. After family, nothing is more rewarding and more fulfilling than hitting the trail or going for a swim. It drains me and it fills me at the same time. Heck, I don't even need the racing. The training is enough to fill the soul. The racing just offers some delicious icing, and motivation for training to be a bit more focused.

Training feeds my soul.

On to the week. There are two big observations on training this week, one running and one swimming, and one bit of exciting news...at least for me.

Running...Six Days A Week

My new running plan has me running six days per week. This is more regularly than I've ever run before, which generally included running four (sometimes five) days per week. Six days means lower volume, but more frequently. And I seem to be responding well to this. My three recovery runs per week really seem to help keep things loose and not too sore allowing me to push harder on the two high intensity days and one long day per week. So far, I'm a fan even while contemplating skipping today's recovery run due to a sore knee.

Speaking of that knee, it's not 100% yet. The long run seems to be the issue. I had no problems with the knee during my two speed workouts. And the knee was fine on my recovery runs. But after my long run Saturday morning, the knee became uncomfortable again. A couple minutes of pigeon stretch, and it felt good as new. But still, not 100%.

My workouts went great. The best example of this is my long run Saturday. I'm still keeping this long run relatively short (1 hour 35 minutes this time), but decided to really try running with more pace than I have before. While not fast, the run was fast for me. I never felt like I was working too hard, but completed 11.3 miles at an average pace of 8:23 minutes per mile and targeted two extra bridge crossings along the way. I could have held that pace for quite a bit longer and was overall very pleased. And that was indicative of pretty much the entire week.
 

Biking

What's there to report here other than it was a total failure on the bike. I got on the trainer for 1 hour on Monday, then never touched the bike again. I thought about riding Thursday, but didn't feel like it. I considered riding Sunday, but didn't want to battle the daylight savings switch. I just didn't ride. Not good...not good.

Swimming

I felt off all week on my swimming...slow, lethargic, sinky. Just not a good week in the pool. That said, I met all my goals for the week. Right around 20,000 yards (18,575 officially on Garmin Connect, but that doesn't include kick sets nor about 500 yards I lost while trying to figure out my new watch...more on that below!) And, most importantly, I finished my 7,000 yard pull endurance set on Sunday and found a pair of googles comfortable enough to wear for the length of a 10K swim! I was slow on the 7,000 yard swim, but really focused on staying long and efficient, and didn't worry about pace much.

The googles, Aqua Sphere Vista's, are so damn comfortable relative to other goggles. They feel silly large on the face. Fortunately, I have no problem with looking silly. They did, however, slowly leak a little water in. I think this only occurs when pushing off the wall and not during swimming, and is so slow I only had to clear the goggles every 1,500 yards or so. But still a minor annoyance in what would otherwise be a perfect long-distance swimming goggle for me. I think they'll do the trick for Swim Miami 10K, especially if the leak does only occur when pushing off. There'll be none of that in Miami!

Overall, I'm satisfied with the week of swimming. Finishing the 7,000 yards comfortably means I'm right on track for the race. I still think the low energy and lethargy have to do with higher swim volume plus the reintroduction of fairly intense running. I'll just keep pushing through.

Something Fun!

I'm extremely judicious about spending money on fitness equipment...a tough task in the triathlon world. Almost everything I own is used or heavily discounted. But I decided to splurge for my birthday and bought myself a new fitness GPS watch, a Garmin epix. It was, of course, heavily discounted at REI. And I've been having lots of problems with my Garmin 910XT lately including bad elevation readings, odd yardage on open water swims and battery charging difficulties. Nothing dramatic,  but annoyances. The 910XT will become my permanent bike computer, and the Garmin epix my full-time watch as a daily wear watch, an activity tracker and fitness device.

So far, I'm loving it. I haven't had occasion to head out to the Everglades and run using the built-in navigation. But soon. In addition to real navigation, the watch has excellent battery life...hopefully enough to get me through my next 100 mile ultramarathon. It feels more rugged than the 910XT, and has a variety of other upgrades. Of course, it's a total splurge and I could have been totally fine without it. But what the heck!

That's another week of training. Overall, things look to be on track both for Swim Miami and Daytona 100. Swim Miami is going to be a huge challenge for me. The distance still sounds daunting. The amount of time spent laying face first in the water is overwhelming. Even finding someone to toss me a water bottle every lap is going to be a challenge. But I think it will all come together.

Whatever you're training looks like, keep moving!

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