[108] Fitting it in

Swim: 3,000 m/104,745 m

Bike: 0/1,072.2 miles

Run: 17.8/355.2 miles

We’ve been packing a lot of summer vacation into August, and because of that my triathlon training has been on the back burner. We did some traveling last week and I have some adventures lined up for this week, but I’ve been able to squeeze in a few workouts:

– I broke some new ground in my last tempo run. My training plan called for a new twist on the workout – run 1 mile slow and then 2 hard, do it again, and then finish up with a mile cooldown, for 7 miles total. The 4 fast miles were supposed to be at a 7:11 pace, but I was feeling good and just wanted to go with what my body was ready to do. I was pretty surprised when I hit my watch at the end of the first 2-mile tempo and saw 13:01 – a 6:30 pace. It had felt pretty smooth and easy, and I now wondered if I would be anywhere close to that pace in the second tempo segment. So, after an 8:30 recovery mile, I took off again  and was almost speechless when I hit the watch at the end and saw 12:59. I had hit the second 2 miles faster than the first and gotten my pace into the 6:20s.

It’s getting hard to keep up with the “fastest-ever” designations this season with so many different courses and distances scattered throughout my training, but I am confident this is the fastest I have ever run any distance greater than a mile. I essentially ran 4 miles of this run at a 6:30 pace.

The Northwest Branch Trail

– While we were traveling in Maryland last weekend I had the opportunity for another “adventure run” that allowed me to explore some new territory. Our hosts live very close to an awesome paved trail that follows a small creek from the Beltway several miles south toward Washington, D.C. While it was a relatively flat run, the fact that it followed a flowing body of water meant that the trail trended downhill on the way out and was slightly – but noticeably to tired legs – uphill on the way back in. It was also very humid that morning – a departure from some of the nicer weather we’ve had in the past couple weeks. I still got in a solid 10.8-mile run at a 7:47 pace. It was a little slower than I would have been happy with at home, but since I was navigating a new course and enjoying the scenery (and making the occasional wrong turn), I let myself drift on the pace target.

– I decided to hit the pool Monday to give my legs a rest from Sunday’s long run and the other hours of standing and walking that were part of being a tourist in a new city for a weekend. I turned in another sub-30-minute 1,500m swim (just barely, at 29:58) and also swam a 5×200 speed set in addition to my usual drills. Most of the time my form feels pretty good – not great, but passable. But I can’t help but wonder what I could be doing better. My times are not particularly impressive, and they don’t seem to be getting much better. Admittedly my swim training has hit a plateau, with pool sessions only happening once a week or so.

I’ve added some new drills recently that seem to have helped, but I feel like the catch/pull portion of my stroke isn’t very clean or efficient. Some friends over at Daily Mile have given me a couple leads on drills to improve that aspect, so at least I’ll have some ways to keep my swim training fresh in the coming weeks.

– My biking has been nonexistent in the past week, and it could be several more days before I’m on the road again. There just hasn’t been the time or opportunity for me to fit in a ride. I have plans this weekend to check out the course of my upcoming Olympic triathlon, but Hurricane Irene may have something to say about that. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the storm stays away long enough for me to fit in a ride.

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