Friday, February 03, 2006

Training Approaches

This year, I'm doing more solo training. I found, in the past, when I joined groups, I became overly stressed with performance. I've decided to focus more on enjoying myself. Because of this perspective, my workouts have been more about having fun and getting some exercise. I've actually been working out more! I think it's because of my new outlook and also because of where I am.

When I go out, I go sans watch, heart rate monitor, or cyclo-computer. I use my perceived exertion effort as my indicator of how hard I need to push it. On a scale of 1 to 10, I try to keep it between 5-8. I think it forces me to listen to my body more and stay more in tune. That way, I can rely on my body to coach me and tell me how hard to train and not have to feel guilty on bad days or rely on a heart rate monitor. It's been working so well!

The other day, I went for a canyon trail run with Jason. It was in the a.m., a time of the day I hate to train. But I went out. For some reason, I felt like I was running through molasses the whole way. I tried to push it at first, feeling frustrated and angry with myself (typical for me). Then, I started paying attention to my breathing. I was gasping and soon developed a stitch. I realized I was going to have a hard time no matter what I did. However, as long as my heart rate was up, I was getting my work-out so it still counted. I decided to slow up and enjoy myself. I actually had to walk a few times. As soon as I felt better, I'd break into a jog. I did the best I could. For the first time, I still felt like I'd accomplished something after a bad workout. I wasn't frustrated or angry. I actually felt at peace. I had listened to my body. What else can you do?

I actually took the next day off. I was very tired and really needed to catch up on my sleep. Then, today, I biked to and from lab. It was a great workout, especially on my mountain bike. But I felt like I had more energy, and I felt stronger! Major accomplishment. I have felt SO out of shape after all the time I have taken off. After lab, I swam in the pool. Again, I felt energized and strong. It's funny how some days, your body responds so well, and you can just go while on others, you have to force yourself just to keep moving.

Tomorrow, I have a 10K. I'm excited. I'm just going to have a good time. I don't really care about time at all.

Question(s) of the Day:
What is your training philosophy?
How do you listen to your body during workouts?
When do you push yourself?
When do you hold back?
What makes you take a day off?


Cliff said...

That's a lot of questions to answer Rachel.

To me, triathlon is all comes down to are we doing this for fun or for competition? Competition can be fun too. However, for most ppl, triathlon is for health reason, for enjoyment, stress relieft and get away from it all (for fun).

The problem is we start training for competition when our goal is to train for fun. This leads to a lot of conflict with our own goals and with life.

For me, I train more on the competition side. It is fun too. Like my friend said "serious fun"

I talked a lot with Will ( and I know he trains for fun. Which is great. This is the same with my other friends as well. Which is great. As long as they are out doing some type of exercise and have good health, I am cool with that. I always make sure when I talk to him, I am not in the competitive mode.

How do you listen to your body during workouts?

When I train, biking for example, I have a list of things I check. My hydration, am I sweating enough, how I am feeling, how are my legs, how is my speed, how is my cadence, when is the next time i take my gel etc. I go through the list over and over again. I do that for run and swim as well.

When do you push yourself? When do you hold back?

When I am lazy or start making up excuses. I have learnt (and still learning) what my brain is telling me, is that an excuse or a reason. If it is an excuse, well, time to kick my own butt and get out there. If it is a reason, like I am coming down with a cold, I hold back.

What makes you take a day off?

If there is some sort of nagging injury. There are three days which I do a long swim, long run and long bike. Those days I make sure I am healthy leading up to those days. Those are three sessions I will not miss.

For the past three weeks, everyday I have some sort of exercise. So hopefully i don't need to take a day off anytime soon :)

Rachel said...

Great philosophy, Cliff! I still find a need a day off once a week to do something fun like Yoga or basketball.