Learning Curve

Posted in: indoor bike training, recovery, Triathlon

If I was superstitious, I would think I jinxed myself with my last blog.  But, I do not believe in superstition, or the irrational perception of causation (ie. if I wear these “lucky” socks, then I’ll have a great race).  When I was writing my last blog (almost a week ago), I felt pretty tired.  In fact, the 2 days before I wrote that blog I felt half zombie, half human.  But, I was at the end of a hard 2 weeks of training and I had been sick prior to those 2 weeks; therefore, I figured it was to be expected.  PRESS ON – SUCK IT UP – PUSH THROUGH – after all successful athletes know how to suffer and press through pain, right?  So, despite waking up on Friday morning exhausted, I pressed on with the 4 hour trainer ride and 4,000 meters in the pool – it was an awesome and great day – I loved it, loved the training and actually felt so much better after training.  So I do not regret pushing through Friday; however, I think I made an error in judgment over the weekend.  Saturday was recovery, so no need to worry there – except that I hate easy days (must be why they are often forced on me by my own body).  But, I woke up Sunday with a very tight chest, and actually some wheezing. 

Well, one thing that I have been working on is getting my speed back.  Basically, I spent the beginning of my professional triathlon career (back in 2007-2008, and for the first few months of my return to the sport in 2011) wrongly guided into doing too much long, slow stuff – I lost my speed, so despite training a lot more than I did before I turned pro, I was getting slow.  A lot of it wasn’t the volume, but just the timing of the workouts to give me enough rest before hard days to actually be able to go hard.  Ok, so back to my poor judgment.  Sunday, was lactate threshold day on the bike – a big, important day for me because that’s what I suck at.  I desperately need to increase my LT on the bike.  You would be terribly surprised to see the very small difference between my aerobic threshold power and LT power – terrible – but that’s what you get from riding AT all the time I guess.  Trust me, this doesn’t bode well trying to race the Professional Women in a half ironman!  Half Ironman speed should not equal Ironman speed – though mine has for my last 2 competitive seasons at least.

I digress AGAIN!  So, even though I literally wheezed my way through the LT intervals, I did them all at the prescribed power.  I thought everything was fine because the power was feeling much easier on my legs than it had in the past (in fact, I would have gone higher if not for my wheezing) – Improvement, Awesome, This is Great I thought.  Well, I could barely talk my chest was so tight after the workout, but it loosened up and I felt hard core and tough for having hammered out the workout despite the little discomfort.  Monday, seemed ok too; I didn’t appear any worse for pushing through on Sunday.  Maybe a little chest tightness still, but it seemed much less than the day before – no problem right?  Not so, by Monday night my throat hurt, glands were massively swollen, chest so tight it hurt – basically, I woke up at 3am in so much pain that I couldn’t sleep the rest of the night.  Needless to say, Tuesday morning was terrible – add a fever to the above complaints.  The rest of the week was a wash, just trying to get healthy again. 

So, my big lesson – not sure if I won’t have to learn this one a few more times (stubborn triathletes) – I’m not superhuman and when your body is clearly telling you it has had enough, a smart athlete (and ultimately I believe a successful athlete) will listen.  Had I postponed the Sunday LT workout one day and trained easier on Sunday perhaps I would not have lost 3 or 4 days of productive training?  I’ll never know, but seems much smarter to risk 1 day for the possibility of gaining 3 or 4.  This is really an art I think – knowing your body and how it responds and what it needs.  I am somewhere along the learning curve on this “art” – not having arrived yet at being truly enlightened in this respect.  Maybe someday God will give the wisdom to master this art – until then I live and learn and learn and learn.  I can be really stupid – and so I am humbled once again by my own stupidity.

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