Saturday, June 7, 2014

Hold on, Cupcake

I don't think I'm alone when I say that sometimes in training thoughts will pop into my head to help me through the toughest parts of a workout.

I'm not talking about training mantras that we can call upon. I'm talking about the random thought that I've never in my life said, but it will infiltrate my thoughts for that particular day.

Today was one of my key workouts of the week. Recently, I've made run and bike breakthroughs.

These breakthroughs are always mental. We are as slow or as fast as we give ourselves permission to be.

I haven't had a swim breakthrough recently. I've had to go easier than I would have liked in recovery. I haven't been able to attend masters. I still love swimming, but I had to take a step back.

Back to the "key workouts".

I had an open water swim on the schedule that was broken into intervals at 1500m pace. The 1500m pace has always been a thorn in my side. I typically go too slow, afraid of blowing up.

When I set up today, I kept thinking about my strategy. I'm fast enough of a swimmer now that I need to focus on all out sprinting the first minute or 100 meters or so to gain position and avoid getting caught in the crowd. One of my challenges has been that I don't go hard at the start. I just sort of plug along and do my "too slow" pace.

I wouldn't recommend this all out sprinting strategy to anyone who is new to triathlon or who doesn't have the swim as their strength. It can cause other problems, like an anxiety attack, going WAY too hard and then dropping pace significantly. It's a great strategy, but you have to manage it correctly and feel super comfortable going all out for a short distance.

But I digress.

I start out with my sprints and settle into a hard but sustainable pace. I have no idea how fast or slow I'm going, but I suspect that I'm moving along pretty quickly.

My arms were burning a bit from the all out sprint. Out of nowhere, the thought that popped into my head was:


How awesome is that? It totally made me smile and got me to really focus on what I was doing, which, at the time was ignoring my burning arms and just pull hard.

It worked. My interval paces came in at 1:19, 1:18, 1:22. At those paces, I can not only hit my 22:00 1500m goal, but I'll also hit my sub 30, 70.3 goal. 

With that, I officially declare it as my new training mantra.

Feel free to use it yourself. 

If I see you at a race, you'll be sure to hear me yell it at you....especially, if you're a guy.