September, a month that I long anticipated, is over, and I couldn’t be happier with it. Not only did I accomplish my goal race for the year, but I had some very fulfilling training sessions along the way. After a lackluster August, I was back on the horse this month, thanks in large part to the added free time I gained from a week of vacation and my daughter’s return to preschool.
I’ve said plenty about the race (read about it here and here), so I won’t belabor that. Outside of the race I only got in two swim sessions – one honest pool workout and one short dip in the river on the day I traveled to the race site to preview the course. For much of the second part of the season I came to the conclusion that I had reached a plateau with my swimming, and since success is based more on form than fitness, I made the decision to spend my limited workout time on other pursuits since I could get away with less time in the pool without losing strength. For the past few months I was swimming only about once a week. Like I mentioned in a previous post, I don’t think my performance in last week’s race was completely a result of poor swimming, but more likely because of poor sighting.
While my cycling mileage wasn’t huge this month (in fact, it was the exact same, to the tenth of a mile, as my mileage from August), I had some quality rides. September was my month to reacquaint myself with the bike after taking much of August off, and my rides progressed from tentative to aggressive as I regained my familiarity and ease in the saddle. I enjoyed almost 70 miles of biking during my beach vacation this month, and also threw in several smaller practice sessions to become more familiar with my new cycling shoes and clipless pedals.
About the pedals – they feel great but I have yet to use them on some of my familiar home courses, so I can’t say for sure if there is a noticeable speed or performance improvement with them installed. I’m interested to get back to some of my routes to find out if the investment was worth it. Getting used to riding with the new setup was far easier than what I expected – many cyclists tell horror stories of embarrassing falls and bloody wounds that result from unfamiliarity, but my experience has been very positive so far.
My running continues to reach new levels as I train for my half-marathon in November. I’m following a specific training plan that focuses on speed and endurance, and my times all around – for speed work as well as long runs – have continued to drop. I reached new speed thresholds when I ran 4 miles of a 7-mile tempo run at close to a 6-minute pace, and when I ran a half-marathon-distance long run in an hour and 33 minutes – a 7:09 pace. Just yesterday I covered 5 miles at a 6:52 pace – my fastest time ever for the distance. I missed only one run in September – a speed session scheduled for the day after my triathlon – and still managed the most running miles of any month this year.
I don’t have any races scheduled for October, and my focus this month will be on nailing my half-marathon training. That plan calls for cross-training days, so I still plan on biking and/or swimming every week in addition to my three scheduled runs. Working in those other disciplines has helped my running so much this year, and I’m not about to abandon a formula that has gotten me this far. My long-run mileage will top out at 15 miles later this month, and then it’s time for November’s big show.
Here are this distances I covered in September:
Swim: 3,900m (2.4 miles)
Bike: 148.4 miles
Run: 93.5 miles