I got out of the hospital in late August, spent ten days recovering from an infusion of massive antibiotics, tried to come back too quickly, spent three more weeks recovering and slowly building my fitness, and now, finally, I’m six weeks into an informal offseason program in preparation for the coming triathlon season. I still haven’t done much hard training, but after month and a half of steady work, I started feeling it this week. I kind of hit the wall. I’ve still been able to work up to a decent effort at times, but I’m starting to feel like it’s time for a Rest Week. Fact is, recovery is a necessary part of training. This being the offseason, now is hardly the time to overwork.
I swam twice this week. The first time was on Tuesday at our regularly scheduled practice, and that was when I noticed that I was getting tired. We had a new guy at practice, and I spent a lot of time working with him, but even once he got going, I just wasn’t feeling it. I wound up putting in about 1300 yards, none of it of particularly high quality, and that was when I made the decision that this next week was going to be a Rest Week.
We swam again Saturday, and I felt better. I mean, I still felt sluggish, but I did some stroke work, and we managed to work up to a couple of up-tempo 100s during which I held decent times. That was worth something. On top of that, we put in a total of 3000 yards Saturday morning. That’s not a bad total these days.
Swimming Total: 2 x swim (1300, 3000); 43 pts
I rode my regular commute three times this week, and as with everything else, I felt slow and tired all week. The hills were steep, and my backpack was heavy. What can I say? Sometimes you just don’t have your best stuff.
Cycling Total: 3 x commute ride (3 x 10.3); 30.9 pts
Between Veteran’s Day and a commitment I made to guest lecture at my daughter’s school, I had a different kind of schedule for this week’s running. That made running a little easier than normal, at least in terms of my schedule.
I did my long run on Tuesday. 5.25 miles total, of which I ran the first three with Sally. Sally was hopping mad about some crap that happened in her art class on Monday, and as she talked about it, she slowly but surely picked up the pace of our run. We did our first mile at an easy 9:45. Our next mile was about 9:10. Our last mile together was a solid 8:45, and she got so aggravated that you could almost see the steam coming out of her ears. I wore my heart rate monitor throughout, and it was lucky I did because I learned that I can hold those paces at my aerobic heart rate threshold—at least for a while—but I had to slow down massively in order to stay under that threshold later in the run. My last mile was just a touch under 10:00/mile, and if it didn’t feel like I was necessarily working super-hard, it also wasn’t the easiest mile I’ve run this year, either.
We ran together again Friday after my lecture. Time was short, so we only 3 miles, but we ran tempo, deliberately leaning into it and holding our pace just a shade under 9:00/mile. This wasn’t crushingly fast, obviously, but it was just a little faster than was comfortable, and I felt afterwards like the run itself had achieved its purpose.
My last run came Sunday, and it was my best. I’d only planned to run 3 or so miles, but once I got out there, I felt good. I wound up running a little over 4 total, averaging 9:45, 9:10, 9:22, and 9:27 per mile, all while holding my heart rate somewhere between 140 and 146 beats/minute. That’s real improvement over where I was just a few weeks ago, and it felt good.
Running Total: 3 x runs (5.25, 3, 4.33); 50.3 pts
Triathlon Training Total: 124.2 pts
In addition to simplifying my running schedule, being home two days this week also gave me a chance to do some decent-quality yoga, for once. Ideally, I like to put in a half hour or more of yoga prior to every run, but life being what it is, that’s not always possible. This week, however, I got in almost 90 minutes of yoga in total, with the result being that my back felt better than it has in a good, long while on Sunday, and this contributed to how I ran, I’m sure. I need to do more yoga, and I need to do more core work in general, but finding the time is always a challenge.
This week is a Rest Week. Emma and I are heading up to the Academy on Saturday to watch Army’s last home game of the season—against Fordham. There’s also a Benny Havens hour for the Academy’s Association of Graduates this week in Stamford, and we’re forecast for a bit of rain, so bottom line, I don’t know how much I’m going to be riding this week, even as part of my commute. I’ll still swim Tuesday, and I’m sure I’ll run on Sunday, but beyond that, my fitness goals are strictly limited.
Next week, though, I’d like to come back and hit it hard. My plan is to start trying to add in a little weight lifting/resistance training soon, hopefully starting a week from Saturday, and to start lengthening my long runs out to at least an hour. Scheduling that is not necessarily going to be easy, but I’d like to build a little more muscle mass and get a little stronger, especially now that it’s so damned dark outside all the time. I’m fighting to keep excess weight off my no-longer-skinny frame, and it has not been easy of late. I’m hoping a little weight training will help.