These are probably the 3 biggest issues I have in my training and racing.  They are three little devils in the back of my mind that erode my ability to train consistently, smartly, and correctly – which ultimately impacts my ability to race at the level I want.

I’ve had success and failure in the past in dealing with FUD.  It’s easiest to combat FUD – when you are getting regular positive feedback on your actions.  Fast times, successful workouts, and good feelings always seem to hold FUD off.

FUD seems to creep in though when the opposite things happens – bad races, failed workouts, staleness.  In and of itself the arrival of FUD isn’t bad,when it turns bad though is when you act on that FUD.  For me, the downfall is when I start to question my training plan and my weekly routine, and spending time on the net searching out the next thing to try.

I try what I find, struggle, and struggle some more.  At some point I realize that I have succumbed to this bout of FUD, and am able to pull myself out of it.

A bit of a cryptic post today, but mostly intended as a reminder to myself (and warning to others) – FUD isn’t bad, but allowing FUD to change your day to day plan is.  When you find a formula that works for you – keep at it – until you need to make a change, rather than changing because out of FUD.

Training Update: I did the High Cliff HIM, as a relay.  I paced it a little aggressively – was at 290 some watts @ 20 minutes.  I ended up faded pretty fantastically to average 260 overall.  My time was 2:20+.  I really wanted to pull in under 2:20, but comparing my time to some of the studs in the race, I was very happy with it.  I could not have run well off the ride the way I rode, but assuming a smartly paced average power of 260 would have resulted in the same time, it probably would have been an exciting day.  I also raced the Superrun 5k last night.  Last year I finished in 18:40.  This year my time was 18:45 – the day after a 2 hour run in hot, humid weather that saw me losing 7 pounds, and was my second run of the day along with two bike rides.  So not to shabby to end up only 5 seconds slower than last year.  That said, my CTL for cycling has been flattening out the last two weeks or so – mostly due to some life scheduling things – so I need to focus a bit on the consistent to continue to drive that north for a few more weeks.

I intend to only sharply drive my CTL north for another 5 to 6 weeks, than let it flatten for a few weeks before I drop off for a taper.  That’s similar to what I did in 2008, so I intend to try to replicate it.

Untapped Wisdom

First a brief training update.  Things are continuing to progress well.  Last night was a 2 hour and change run in the rain.  My longest run in about 7 months!  It was awesome, it felt good, I enjoyed the rain, and I even had the opportunity for a brief swim when I came upon a bridge that was out due to construction and back tracking to detour wasn’t a viable option.  I figured what the heck I’m already wet because of the rain – splash!

On Sunday I did the Bong 30k TT, I was very pleased with my effort, although I did receive a sound beating from true TT monsters masters – but  things are continuing to progress well on the bike. 

The only other thing worth mentioning is my attempt to do the Doc Ride on Saturday resulted in quite a story.  I departed my house at 6am, rode to Pewaukee and then onto Dousman.  The Doc Ride was going well, until about 20 miles into it, we had to ride over a rode which was under construction.  Long story short – a rock damaged the side wall of my front tire and I flatted.  I changed it, and inflated my spare and the sidewall did the spare in too.  If I had used a 12g CO2 and settled for limp home tire pressure it might have made it.  So I ended up hitchhiking back into Dousman and buying a new tube and tire prior to riding back home.

 This weekend I am doing participating in the High Cliff Half Ironman on a relay as the biker.  I decided to do a relay instead of the full race for two reasons: Doing the bike leg supports my current priority of biking hard to increase my fitness and FTP.  And it reduces the pressure for me to rush the rebuild of my run fitness.

Onto the meaningful content for today, what is untapped wisdom.  Well it’s a lot of things really.  You can look at it from the perspective of “If I could take my current frame of mind 10 years into the past when I was swimming in college…” or “If only I had spent more time noticing the birds in the sky back then…”.  I find that I have to be careful when thinking in those terms – it’s easy to fall in the trap of wishing to relive the past with the knowledge you have today. 

But that’s not what untapped wisdom is about.  It’s easy to say – man if I could go back and apply my appreciation for hard work, my motivation, and the understanding of training I have now, and swim in college again…, but that does nothing but hold you in the past and ultimately hold you back from moving foward onto your potentional.  Untapped Wisdom is more about understanding that sometimes things are the way they are for reasons you don’t yet grasp, accepting that fact, and realizing that we can wait for time to bring us clarity – or we can take a look at the signs on the road and see if we can make sense of it now.

Albert Einstein says it best “Significant problems you face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.”

I’ve mentioned it a few times on my blog, but for me 2009 exemplifies this perfect.  Poor race performances, a major bike crash, a major injury – in the moment I found myself doing nothing more then driving myself forward.  I had two Ironmans to finish, I had Hawaii to qualify for, my bike power numbers were through the roof, I’m running my long runs like a rock star…all while I ignored little signs.  Waking up for swims was hard, getting pumped up for long runs was difficult, I couldn’t run without 4 ibuprofens per hour, I struggled to hit 6:20 mpm on tempo runs, my weight was up.  I even went so far to suggest taking a short cut on a Long Ride once.

Signs are there for a reason.  Sometimes they are there to tell us we need to stop or take a detour.  Other times they are there to tell “Bridge Out…Adventure ahead.”   Find the wisdom to read the signs and get the message before you’ve passed them by.

I ran to fast

As I’m rebuilding my run fitness now, I am finding that I am enjoying my runs more, particularly my long runs.  I think there are a few reasons for this.

1> My expectations are low – I am honest to God tickled pink to run 8:20 miles.

2> Because my expectations are low, I am able to better control my ego and run the right pace.

3> I am running the right pace.

Prior to returning to running I recalculated my VDOT, based on my presumed VDOT last year, the time I took off of running, and weight I had gained.  Daniel’s formula (reference not handy) spit out a VDOT of 45.  Pathetic, but I accepted it.  The first week of running said that VDOT was actually mighty challenging for me.  3 weeks of running confirmed this VDOT was spot on at Saint Anthony’s.  4 weeks after St. A’s, the Triple T told me I had improved to 52.

I’m getting a bit side tracked here – what’s my point.  Last year I hated my long runs.  4 pm on Tuesday would roll around and 100% of the time I would look for other things to do, and a lot of the time I’d actually find something to do.  They were hard, uncomfortable, and I didn’t have a good time; but they were fast!!!!

This year I, while I haven’t had any 2+ hour runs (next week will be my first), I’ve actually enjoyed my long runs.  As I was getting ready yesterday I felt that feeling of dread come over me, I pushed myself out the door (into the rain), and 1:49 later I walked back into my house thinking “Damn, that was actually fun.”  I was a bit sad to see the run end.

My advice – make sure you are running at the right pace for your long run, if you find yourself dreading them, slow down, run the pace you’ve earned.  Don’t run the pace you want to run.  All you’re likely to do is set yourself up for disappointment, under-performance, or injury.

When my results point me to a new VDOT level, I’ll run faster – no need to spoil the fun by forcing things.

Training Update:  I did a fun swim set on Monday: 5x(1×300 @ 4:30 + 1×100 @ 2:00).  Distances were SCM, the 300 was swum steady hard, and the 100 was all out.  I did the 300’s @ 3:55 – 3:58, and the 100’s on 1:10 to 1:13.  I was pleased not only with my performance, but that I also saw the set through – it was rather unpleasant.

Beyond that – not much notable to mention – just keepin’ on, keepin’ on.

Highway to Hell – Cont’d

So I got a couple of great comments on my last post – that got me to think a little bit.  Rather than reply as another comment, I thought I’d write another post to continue the conversation and post some thoughts.

Thus far Evan and Jeff have provided some great thoughts – here are my stream of thought responses, which I welcome additional feedback on!!!!

In no particular order my thoughts/response to the points raised:

Jeff raises a lot of valid points about developing a crazy swim/bike combination; it’s just hard because I enjoy being a balanced sort of guy.  Attractive thought though…especially since getting down to a 3:10 to 3:15 run is probably an order of magnatude easier than to a 3:05 – and I’ve got this foot to be wary of for probably ever.

I definately think 250 watts is a high number, but based on:

  •  my knowledge of the course I’m targeting (IMWI)
  •  my weight (180 pounds plus or minus)
  •  my equipment (Cervelo Dual + PX 50/50 w/ wheel cover) it seems about right.  216/230 (AP/NP) yielded me a 5:25 in a typical wind day in 2008, and 5:20 on a calm day in 2009. 
  • I was gonna toss out the SRM vs. Powertap drivetrain loss – but it looks like you run an SRM also 🙂

I’m sure if I bought a better bike and/or deeper wheels, I could shave a decent amount off the requirements, but it’s probably not in the cards before IMWI – and FTP is never bad 🙂

Evan is definitely right on run durability – when I hit it right, I don’t have any problems running the entire thing – but important this year especially with so much time off – thus far I am 3 for 7.

My feelings on intensity generally mimic Evan’s thoughts.  I think pure aerobic work will get you very far, my thoughts of tempo/intensity as it applies to Ironman triathlon = Threshold level, but not higher

Training for most weeks in the last 16 weeks or so are in the 18-22 range: 4 hrs swim, 4-5.5 run, 11-13 bike, in a perfect world I’d have 30-40 minutes cycling @ FTP, and 15-20 minutes T-pace of running each week.  The remainder of bike/run being Level 2/E-pace speed.  Although this year, I’ve been trying to include an additional 40-60 minutes of FTP/HIM riding to help build FTP.

Swimming – all over the place intensity wise.

Thanks for the feedback thus far guys – it’s sparked more thoughts…