Sunday, August 16, 2015

Victories do not have to be Epic

Hi Everyone!

Well, another week of training has gone by and I’ve lived to tell about it.  Actually, this week, all things considered, was an easy week for me.  It was a “Drop” week where my volume and intensity intentionally drops to allow my body to recover from the previous weeks’ build cycles.  This week I saw 2, yes 2, rest days!  This was a testing week for me; meaning a swim time trial and a MAF test. 

The swim TT
I was so ready for the swim TT.  It was a 1000 yard TT.  I made sure I rested a lot the day before and did really well on my eating and hydrating.  I wanted to best my previous TT and I had some goal numbers in mind.  The night before I texted Jenni with the initial goal I had in mind.  It was achievable. I’d have to work, but it was  within reach. The day of, I sent her a much more aggressive goal, along with a scribble of the that “comfort zone” graphic and arrows pointing to the magic part.  I told her I was going to go for it.   The way Coach Jenni does my TT’s, it’s never, “warm up and go”, it’s swim a ton, then finally do the TT.  So I got in the pool, and started my warm up.  Everything felt great and I was very fluid in the water.  Confidence building.  When I finally got to the TT portion of the workout (some 1800 yards in), I was ready.

Off I went. 
Leave the comfort zone. 

Fifty (50) yards in, I knew I started too hard, my breathing was crazy and I had to try to regain control to save the TT overall.  Slowed down a bit, but still a little harder than I normally swim and kept going. I looked at my watch at 400 yards and the time was :30 faster than my 400 Yard TT best.  Hang On.   Recorded my 500 split and kept going.  Still feeling steady, but it was getting harder.  The kind of harder where you look at your watch more frequently to see how many yards you have left hard.

Finished.  Looked at my time.  I did better than my last TT, but not as good as I had wanted and nowhere near the aggressive goal.  I was disappointed.  And tired.   I struggled that evening at home processing that workout.  My orders from Jenni were to snuggle with the pugs…so I did:

my sweet Dash (pug #3)

The MAF test
So, I haven’t talked about this yet, many of my readers already know that I train under the Maffetone Method.  It’s a flavor of Heart Rate training where I do almost all my bike and run training at very specific heart rate.  We gauge improvement by periodically doing “MAF tests”.  We run a specific number of miles at our MAF heart rate and compare to previous tests.  The conditions on the day of my test were sub optimal. 

Yikes...I'm going to melt

Heat and Humidity instantly raise your heart rate.  I was in for a doozy of a morning.  I don’t get hung up on my runs when I run (most of the time).  I just try to focus and enjoy the quiet time.  I don’t run with music so it’s me and the night critters (I run at 4:30 am).  This day was no different.   I also decided to have a personal goal within this test.  For as long as I can remember, I have been a run/walk person.  Currently I run a 7 minute interval with a :15 walk break.  I have been experimenting on my runs lately to run for longer time.  I think I’m trying to get to a point where I run each mile and at the mile mark, take my walk break.   So the sub goal was to do just that.  I had a 4 mile test.  For the first 3 miles, I ran the duration of the mile, then walked for a few seconds then resumed running.  I was able to do it for 3 miles, but mid 4th, my heart rate was too high and I needed to walk to get it back down to MAF.    
Finished the run/slog and actually walked my cool down back to the house.  I was struggling a bit at this point with the climate.  My numbers were not as good as my last MAF test.  Jenni told me not to fret as the temps were 10 degrees higher.  I was fine.  Really.  The conditions would not have allowed a good result and I know my fitness is improving, so I brushed the split times off.    I was more happy with the fact I ran each of the miles completely with no walk breaks.

Saturday and Sunday came with the usual long rides and runs.  The long ride was tough this week.  No set intervals, just instructions to put some work in some areas.  I was hit by very heavy rain 2 hours in and sought cover for a bit.  Once I got restarted, I was very cold and just wanted to go home.  But I had to focus and realize this could happen come race day, so best learn how to deal with this experience. 

Sunday's long run was 90 minutes.  One hour at MAF, 30 minutes at MAF + 10.  My win from the run today was my MAF pace was better than the MAF test pace and more importantly, I only took walk breaks at the mile splits and I had no problems doing it!

Which brings me to the title of this post.  Victories do not need to be Epic.  After processing both tests and the weekend's workouts, I had several small victories that will pay dividends later.   

I left the comfort zone in my swim.
I recognized I was in trouble early and made a course correction and salvaged the TT.
I still improved my overall TT time.
I ran full miles without stopping and with no collateral damage to my body.
Dealt with bad weather situations

As always, here are this week’s training stats…a new build week starts tomorrow!

Actual hours training: 8:05
Swim hours: 1:00 distance 3000 yards
Bike Hours: 4:25 distance 63.3
Run Hours: 2:55 distance 13.1

How about all of you?  Do you recognize the small victories in your training?  Do you see how they will help you in the long run?


  1. Great blog and good advice. I try to look for even small victories, or I end up feeling defeated. Some days are great with many improvements, and some days are just hard. Today's victory was showing my wife that, even with walking a bit, she is able to complete an Olympic distance triathlon. Less than 30 days to the event, and she knows she can do it. That was today's victory.

  2. As we progress in our ability, in any area of life, the room and margin for improvement gets progressively smaller. This is good, in that it means we are mastering our craft. But it also means that we can easily get discouraged when the major victories do not cone as often as they used to. The small victories along the way are the signs that we are still improving. Take those small victories and celebrate them for what they are. Proof that you are one, Bad Ass woman! -BryanB

  3. The best of life is made up of small victories. One of my favorite phrases is "life's little victories". They make life sweet :)

  4. Keeping your HR down is so hard in this humidity. Do you feel like the :15 really helps? It seems like such a tiny amount of time to really be useful, but it seems to work for you.