Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Hello Zone 2

Triathlon is hard for lots of reasons.  The most obvious ones are that is physically hard to swim, then jump on a bike, then run.  It seems straightforward, right?  Just do all of those really fast and that's how you do it.  Easy!!

That's more or less how I've approached my training.  Go as hard as I can in all sessions, and hope that it will lead to fast results.  While simultaneously cursing that I'm not able to run 7:00 miles yet.

Looking back over the year (thank you Facebook recap) I realized that I ran my first 3 miles ever, without stopping to walk, in May.  Only 6 months ago.  Only one month before doing my first sprint triathlon, and 4 months before running 7+ miles at my race pace.  Is it really any wonder that I got hurt?

I've been pretty discouraged lately - after being on crutches, then a cold I can't shake, and my family's fight with the stomach flu last week - I feel like I just can't get my mojo on.  And when I do, I'm so sore and tired afterwards I feel like I'm gonna die. How is it fair that some people are never sore after working out and I always am? Maybe because they aren't trying for PRs every single workout.  The Sheriff suggested I was over-training for the sprint distance this summer - maybe I should have listened.

Saturday I started my Total Immersion class.  First lesson - relax.  Literally - Relax your head.  Relax your shoulders, and let your head be totally supported by the water.  Go ahead and laugh... because my first reaction was "No I can't relax I won't go anywhere!!!".  Being told to relax, physically or otherwise, makes me feel more anxious.  I just am not good at it.  I'm not sure if I ever was, or if motherhood and too many responsibilities erased it from my repertoire.  Either way, it doesn't come easy.  My instructor filmed us in the water, and after lots of talking about how swim technique is all about working with the water instead of fighting it, I can easily see in the video that my terrible stroke count (30 in a 25 meter pool) is due to lots of me thrashing around and fighting the water.  Luckily my teacher says we'll work on that.

On the running side, I started a new Faster 5K running program, and was dreading running after the first workout.  So I started to look - REALLY LOOK - at how I am working out, with the help of my HRM.  I have a history of going way too hard - in the HR zones well above what the workout prescribed, because I wanted to be able to log a faster pace.  Was embarrassed to be running 12 minute miles.   Clearly this needs to change.  

After my TI class, I went upstairs and re-calibrated my Pear training system with my new heart rate zones post-injury.  Why didn't I do this earlier?  Because I am delusional stubborn.  Since then, for the last 3 runs I have faithfully tried to stay in my prescribed zone, even though my Zone 1 is walking and my Zone 2 is quite slow.  I'm learning to stuff my ego down my sports bra and just cover the treadmill screen so that the Ironman in my swim class and the mom down the street that are running 6:30s behind me just can't see.  They don't care anyway.  Seriously - get over yourself.

Some decorations on my long run - so cute!
The upside of this is that I've been way less sore and tired.  I actually enjoyed my 4 mile long run in the cold on Sunday - took in the neighborhood Christmas decorations and felt good the rest of the day instead of feeling wrecked.  Was able to actually keep up with the kids through all the weekend festivities without snapping at them.  Sore mommy = mean mommy.  Poor kids.
Letting things go, relaxing, running slow(er) - these things don't come easy.  But one of my main goals in becoming a triathlete was to use it as a tool to conquer a lot of my mental demons.  Like my ego.  Like my ability to be "just ok".  To not push myself to the edge of sanity all the time.  Triathlon teaches so much....

Do you feel self-conscious at the gym or with other athletes?
Do you vary your training, with some hard and some easy days?
How sore are you while you are training?


Stephanie said...

We could be sisters. I am around 13 minutes per mile and had a couple of TI swimming lessons and felt the same way. I would like to get down to a 10 minute mile, but that is still slow to a lot of people. Love your blog. Merry Christmas!!!

Miranda Greenhalgh said...

Yay tri sisters! Thank you so much. Merry Christmas to you too :)

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