I feel like I'm really back into the swing of things now... feeling physically recovered, holidays are over, we're back into a regular routine, and the races are coming up on us. I'm envisioning a triathlon season that hopefully bears some resemblance to last year's very successful season.
I am confident that I've got a pretty solid understanding of what I need to do in training to get to where I want to be in racing this year. Yet at the same time, I feel like I am an "Experiment Of One" as I study myself, my training, and my heart rates as I execute my training. I guess we are all Experiments Of One... because if there was one plan that worked for everyone, every year, we would all just follow that and there would be no art to it.
Blah blah blah... essentially I am designing my training this year (as well as that of my athletes) around the principals in Brad Hudson's book, Run Faster. Those, with a little sprinkling of concepts from Matt Fitzgerald's Brain Training book mixed in. Hudson talks about developing your aerobic fitness and neuromuscular fitness in the foundation period, and then incorporating more and more race specific endurance as your races approach.
The 'aerobic fitness' thing I think we all get, but I've never previously considered neuromuscular conditioning the way Brad Hudson describes it. Read his book if you want all the details, but essentially we're talking about short fast interval repeats. Up hills. Steep hills. And on the track or road in the form of short very fast intervals faster than 5K pace. Once you establish this neuromuscular fitness you can then blend it in with the aerobic conditioning you've been working on and bring it all together to establish your race pace as the season progresses.
With that in mind, Nalani and I headed to the track this morning. Establishing neuromuscular fitness. That's what we were gonna do! Yippee! I picked some goal times for shorter repeats that I thought were reasonable... certainly not as fast as we were doing last spring, but then again, we haven't been to the track since probably, um, September, so I didn't think we should kill ourselves first time out. But of course since the interval times didn't seem unreasonably fast, I assumed (you know what they say about people who assume, right?) that we wouldn't have to kill ourselves to hit our goal times.
Well, let me just say that 5K pace is wicked hard when you haven't been running 5Ks in a while.
The short of it is that we pretty much nailed the goals throughout the workout, but we had to work much harder than I'd anticipated to do it.
Neuromuscular conditioning is not pretty. But I'm hoping it'll be effective.
The good news is that we knocked that workout out before 8:00AM so I still had the rest of the morning to play with Moana at the beach. The camera lens on my phone must have been coated with a salt water film or something- not sure why this photo is so blurry? BUT, it was just perfect down there today. We had just about the whole gorgeous beach to ourselves and we played in the sand and the water until we looked like sand monsters. That didn't take long. ;) Really, this is the best recovery.