Swim: 1,500 m/83,300 m
Bike: 40.2/627.1 miles
Run: 8.7/183.9 miles
In my last post I admitted to feeling a little defeated about my training. My available hours – somewhat limited to begin with – are being constricted even further because of my family’s changing schedule during the summer. I wrote that post during a stretch of days where I wasn’t getting in much exercise and was feeling a little hopeless about making progress in my training.
But this past weekend I had a series of very positive workouts that let me know I’m still going to be OK. Here’s an update:
Weights: I’m entering the fourth week of my six-week weight program. My legs feel like noodles when I’m finished with each session, but I’ve been increasing the weights steadily and noticeably in the past three weeks. In my first session my max squat was 6 reps of 195 lbs., and today it was 6 reps of 235. I’ve added 40 pounds in three weeks. My performance in the other exercises have followed a similar pattern. I’m excited to see where I am at the end of the regimen in early July.
Cycling: I was able to fit in two 20-mile rides over the past few days. I rode both at an average speed of 19.5 mph – among my fastest rides this year. On the first ride I was unknowingly riding in the small ring for the first four miles and wondering why I wasn’t going very fast. After I figured out the problem, I rode the last 16 miles at an average of 20 mph. On the second ride I battled a strong headwind on the way out, but was cruising between 25-30 mph for much of the return. These were two pretty strong rides that let me know I’m not losing a lot of fitness even though my weekly mileage is a little smaller. I wonder – is the leg-specific weight work is already paying off? I wasn’t expecting to see any noticeable results on the bike this soon.
Swimming: I’ve only been for one swim in the past week, and it was a relatively easy one. I didn’t have a structured session – I just wanted to cover 1,500m without stopping. This is a key part of my swim plan as I look forward to races with longer swim segments this year. For this swim, I gradually got faster as I warmed up, and I threw in some faster laps for variety. I covered the distance in a modest 33 minutes.
Running: I had an amazing run this weekend that really gives me a snapshot of my fitness. For the first time this year I went downtown to run a route that has been part of my long-distance training for the past five years. I don’t like to run more than about 6-7 miles in my neighborhood because of the crazy hills and the fact that longer distances would mean lots of looping back on the same small streets. So for anything longer I head downtown where the streets are a bit flatter and changing the distance or scenery is as easy as taking the next turn.
The loop I ran this weekend is my “base” loop – an 8.7-mile circle to which I add as I increase my distance through the season. I don’t ever remember running this route at less than an 8-minute pace in my five years of running it. I knew that this year is different – I’m training harder than I ever have, even for my marathons. The running, the cross-training, the nutrition – everything is coming together for me this year in a way that it hasn’t before. I really wanted to see some proof of that improvement on this run.
To cut to the chase – I ran the route this weekend at a 7:35 pace, blowing the doors off any previous attempt. A goal I’ve mentioned before is to run this fall’s half-marathon in under 1:40, which would be a 7:37 pace. The fact that I can do 9 miles at this pace now, without having started my dedicated half-marathon training yet, shows me that sub-1:40 is definitely within my reach.
There’s still a lot of work to be done. And probably a lot of frustration on days when I’m full of energy but can’t fit in a big workout. But they key is to make the most of the workouts I do have, to train smart and make sure every session has a goal. (And I’m learning that a few days of rest/light exercise during the week might be helping more than I imagined!)