Thursday, January 11, 2007

When to hold 'em/when to fold 'em

The 12 weeks of training behind me has been solid. I've been able to put in the hours and miles without injury, thanks to having the right equipment, having a good base coming into this, and knowing my body.

It's weird to feel like I'm adapting to 10-12 hours of training a week. I'm getting to the point where I feel like I could do more. That's weird. Not yet. Not yet. I want to be fresh for my workouts so they're of good quality as opposed to ramping up the volume even more and slogging through them.

It's hard to have a rest day on Monday because I feel like I'm playing catch-up the rest of the week. After my epic masters swim Tuesday morning, I was pretty beat. I decided to take the evening off. Yes, it feels like time off now when I skip an am or pm workout vs a 1-a-day workout. When did that happen? Also, it's easier to wake up by 6 or 6:30 am now, although I also like going to bed b/tw 9:30 and 10:00 pm. When did that happen? I've been a night-owl all my life.

Because of my well-timed rest, I felt fresh yesterday. We logged an early morning 10K run at a very strong pace. I was able to maintain a sub-9 min/mile pace throughout, despite the 3 mile uphill return on trails. Still, it's my favorite run. Plus, I like running in chilly weather (40s). My legs were bright red by the end.

Yesterday evening, I tried a "Turbo Session" with the tri club 2 blocks from my apartment. I hooked up my bike to a trainer and we duked it out for 80 minutes. It was great to have a tri-specific workout with a coach on the trainer. I couldn't cheat with the gears like I do on the Spinerval DVDs (they're so crazy, I always end up giving up and doing my own thing). He had us push larger gears at a slower cadence to build muscle. He also advocated doing this on the road to gain speed. I was a bit skeptical since this is completely opposite to my riding style and also what I've heard is good pedaling strategy on the race course (low gears/high cadence=fresher running legs off the bike). Although I still hold to the classical dogma of low gears/high cadence out on the road, I do agree that in order to get stronger (a.k.a. faster) on the bike, I need to push a bigger gear to build muscle (some of the time). I was actually surprised at my performance. It was tough, and my quads were screaming but I could do it. I had a great workout. I went home and finished it out with weights (for core and upper body). I didn't have to do any squats, that's for sure!

This morning, the alarm went off at 6 and we were due in the pool by 7:30. Both of us were sore and tired. We both decided to skip it. Guilt and consistent-early-rising roused me out of bed at 6:30 am. I started to get ready. I knew I could do it but I also realized I was tired. I weighed the pros and cons and went back to bed. We decided to move our swim until tomorrow morning. Hence the title: You got to know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em. This morning, I folded. I'm still going to get the workouts I need to get done for the week. However, I think I'll end up being fresher because I will have recovered better. It's hard to know when your body is being lazy and you need to push versus pulling back and resting more. I've been pushing so much lately, I decided it was time to pull back and er on the side of caution. Then why do I feel so guilty?


Lance Notstrong said...

I totally agree with the small gears and cadence between 90-95 but big gear intervals can build strength. When I was on the CTS program, they had two low cadence intervals. One where you used a moderate gear and low HR keeping the cadence between 70-75 and another where you used a huge gear, ignored the HR and kept the cadence between 50-55.

RunBubbaRun said...

Sounds you really getting your groove in training. No stopping you now. Does feel weird when you only have one workout to do. You got the OCD, not a bad thing, most of the time

Listen to your body thou and let things go. It will keep you sane.

JeffM said...

As Bubba said, it sounds like you're hitting the groove. I hadn't heard that about the low gear high cadence, last year I got faster by using harder gears on the bike in races.

Jenö said...

Good workouts! While I am with you re keeping a higher cadence for racing long, there is a great workout to be had in the lower ranges. I felt that pushing a taller gear on a fixed gear last year really helped in terms of strength and muscular endurance. This kind of set also tends to help you be more effective at a broader range of cadences which can only be good! Well done!

Paul said...

Good stuff Rachel. I totally bailed on my AM swim today. Too windy and cold from the storm last night (Sad I know, it's San Diego). I ended up doing some yoga instead.

I'm a spinner too on the bike. I usually aim for 90-110 on the cadence. But there are times when you want to do those big gear sessions to build sport specific strength. Basically weight lifting equivalent on a bike. You generally don't want to race that way because you don't need to build strength while racing. Altho there are plenty of mashers out there, which goes back to finding what works for you.

I've found I have fresher legs on the run and I avoid knee problems when I spin those higher cadences.

Bolder said...

a solid 12!

i'm envious!!

hopefully, my training will start next week!!!

The Bicoastal Boys: said...

40's in SD? Has the world gone mad?

If your stuck on the trainer, try some "Isolated Leg" exercises for strength. Nothin' beats them in the off season. But why the heck you riding a trainer in SD?

Habeela said...

I believe this is the secret meaning of life, yes? :) Glad to see you've learned it well.