I've been having a conversation, off and on over the last several months, with a few of the athletes I work with on the idea of going into sessions with an open mind... ie, don't decide beforehand that the session is going to suck because you feel like you're trashed. I mean, sometimes you're trashed and the session sucks.For real. But sometimes you surprise yourself... Sometimes you're capable of more than you think. But guaranteed if you go into a session with a bad attitude thinking it's going to suck, it'll suck.
I am not immune to this phenomenon. I've been teetering on the edge for at least a week now. My long run yesterday was pretty ugly- mostly just a slog. I called it a win because I didn't succumb to the desire to just walk. I got home and felt so relieved to be done with that huge week, the one that came after the other huge week I had... And I was seriously looking forward to an easy day today. I was sure I was going to have an easy day today.
So maybe you can imagine what I felt when I opened up my Training Peaks calendar to see that today called for a hard swim followed by hill repeats on the bike, then another bike with progression pieces in the afternoon. Um, WHAT?!? Has he freakin' lost his mind?!? I mean, I appreciate his belief in me and all but shit. Thus begins another one of coach's favorite 4 day blocks- this one looks like an enhanced version of what I've done in the past. The word I actually said out loud when I saw that is not appropriate to type on this blog. I thought about sending coach an email with a picture of a white flag...
So went swimming this morning. Guess what? It sucked. I couldn't hold t-pace for a 50. True story. I wasn't as pissed as I've been in the past when I've found myself in this scenario- I actually just sort of laughed and got through the set as best I could given that mindset. And then I headed off for my hill repeats. I chose my road bike primarily because I did not want to see any power data for this ride. That's what coach always recommends when I'm trashed- He would say Don't look at power just go get the session done as you feel. Nobody needs to see numbers that low, you know? So it was a moderate-at-best effort this morning and I wondered if I was wasting my time going out and doing sessions like these? Maybe better to just recover and hit up the training again when I can actually produce some quality to my workouts? Two schools of thought there and I find myself constantly going back and forth about which way is better... I know what my coach believes though and since I'm paying him to guide me I'm finding myself I'm finding myself wanting to risk it and do it his way.
Quote from my post-workout notes this morning... wondering if I keep pushing through this fatigue can I pop out the other side? Or do I fall off the cliff?
I asked that question primarily because I have a distinct memory of a huge swim block Nalani and I did a couple years ago- where just as a fun experiment we swam 50,000 meters in 8 days... and we 'tested' ourselves by swimming 5x1000's descend 1-5 on day 1 then repeated that set on day 8 at the end of the block... and as tired as we were mid-block, we both popped through the other side of that fatigue and swam better/faster on Day 8 than we did on days 1-7... So I guess I was wondering if coach knows something I don't know? About pushing through this kind of fatigue and can you pop out fitter on the other end? Is that why we keep pushing past the point the triathlon magazines and forums would say is ok?
I genuinely didn't know but I thought I'd go into my afternoon bike ride with more of an open mind. Trying to practice what I preach! I decided to use my power meter mostly out of morbid curiosity... because I wanted to answer the question How bad is it?? And you know what? It was not bad at all. My power wasn't awesome but it was pretty solid- way better than I would have guessed it would be. I was capable of holding higher than 70.3 race watts for the last 30' piece and it didn't even feel like MAX like sometimes it does... I'm not always capable of even doing that! Quote from my post-workout notes from this afternoon... Anyway, very pleasantly surprised with this one goes to show that's it's important to not go into sessions with pre-conceived notions of how it's going to go b/c sometimes even if you think you're trashed you can have a decent session?!?
So there you go. I will approach all three of my sessions tomorrow with an open mind. :)