Tuesday, July 24, 2012

stress is stress, fast slow swimmers, and less is more

So I've read a few tri-related links recently

Jesse Thomas' Rev3 Portland race report
Inside Tri's interview with the sub-9 AG guy who trains 12hrs/week
Liz Waterstraat's interview with Crowie

and noticed some common threads on balancing your training with the rest of your life. Namely, "stress is stress", whether it is training stress or family stress or work stress. Your body can't tell the difference, and thus it is definitely something to take into consideration. And recovery is very important.

From reading Chrissie's book and also advice from several good friends, I'm still learning to cut myself more slack and not be so hard on myself. A hard habit to break from being raised as a tiger child.

I got in another good 14.5-hour training week ending Sunday (no rest days) and was tired enough this morning (and behind enough on my patient notes) that instead of running, still got up early but went straight to tackling the paperwork side of work via the magical (yet heinous) Remote Desktop Connection. I said "I'll get my run in after work, gotta heat train anyway" whilst knowing I am usually drained enough mentally after work to call it a day on all fronts by 5:30pm. So no. No run. Not because I am weak sauce, but because I'm smart enough these days to better listen to my body. Since my last rest day, I trained 10 days in a row ending yesterday, so maybe it was just time for a rest day. Ok, cool. Recovery is important!

I was already cutting out most of my extra workouts that were kind of like "junk miles"--padding my training hours, for what, my ego?--and making sure that each session I did had a purpose. I don't need "active recovery" sessions any more, now that I realize that trying to make more time for more training was more stress than just skipping it and just chilling for real recovery.

I'm down to just 2 or 3 swims each week (more like 2 these days than 3) but I go really hard each time. Make it count. Then I don't dread swimming any more. (I really dreaded it when I "had to" swim 6-7x/week because I was a "bad" swimmer...and now I'm thinking all that extra swimming probably did more bad than good.) Besides, did you check out the top 3 pro women at Lake Placid? How awesomely hilarious is that for bad swimmers everywhere?? They went 1:09, 1:09, and 1:02. bwahahaha. IM Switzerland winner the previous weekend, my old friend and teammate Erika, swam a 1:02. And IM UK, the women's winner swam a 1:03.

Erika the shark. Congrats Coco!

So maybe all those swim courses were "long", (eh heh heh, that's what I always told myself after a bad swim), or maybe it's a sign that I'm not too slow of a swimmer to win an Ironman.

What, me, win an Ironman? Don't be silly, I'm retired. Of course I'm not entertaining THOSE sorts of thoughts again. (They also ran pretty fast marathons, 3:13 in Placid, 3:11 in Switzerland, and 3:18 in the UK. Which I haven't done yet--but if anything, I can much more easily/realistically take 10-20mins off my run than in my swim. And huzzah for them to prove that the race is NOT won in the swim. yeah!!!)

Anyway. Right. I don't need to swim any more than 3x/week, and 2 is fine, and that's cool.

Especially the article about the entrepreneur guy who trains 12hrs/week, got me thinking "how LITTLE can I train and still be decently good at Ironman?" And I remember after reading Macca's book how he says to build a "skeleton program" of the most minimal you can train, and build around it. So I made a nice list of my essential workouts that are the high priority ones I must get done each week.

There's the long flattish time trial on the bike, solo and 95% in the aerobars. 800's on the track and/or hill repeats (running). 100's with pull gear in the pool. I have always trained well against the clock, and this is what I've been doing.

Anyway, stress = bad. Recovery = good. Swimming lots does not = swimming faster. And rest days are nice.

1 comment:

  1. You know, I came to a similar conclusion about the swimming. I was driving myself crazy at one point trying to swim 2.4 in under 90 minutes and I realized that, in the greater scheme of things, I'd be better off trying to shave an hour off my bike time (which is totally possible) than 5 minutes off my swim time (which after a while didn't seem possible).