Cynthia, my IronMan Florida training partner, tries to get this through my hard head: one workout does not define my ability to complete the race.
This week I spent five days with my family in the hospital – nothing necessarily urgent or life threatening but something private. I didn’t hydrate well, I didn’t eat and when I tried to go out on my 15-mile long run … I couldn’t.
Regardless of how many gels I took, I was not moving forward and for the first time ever I cut a run short finishing with eight miles instead. I was mopey, down, and though my head understood sometimes you just have a bad run my head also asked me…. “what if this happens in the IronMan?”
I will have spent about a year of my life training for this thing and I am not about to give up come race day. If my body can physically move, it will be doing so. I have a million tools with me to get a grip on my thoughts, and am counting on at least one of them to work magic on November 2. Yet, a bad workout still gets me down.
I talked to my Wolfpack team alfa who told me to take it easy. Stress, whether in our training, life, or work affects our results. I was to be gentle so come Thursday I could complete the first of three massive bricks (bike and run).
And the strategy paid off.
I went to the Ultrabikex Studio and made myself comfortable. I would be riding the entire IronMan Florida bike course, all 112 miles, inside. And then I would go for a four mile run.
I was rested but unmotivated. Thankfully I had Cynthia and Gene, a fellow wolf, there with me. Gene finished his workout, another guy came in, two friends stopped by, another two did their workouts and Cynthia and I were STILL there.
Previously, I had done up to 75 miles on the trainer without stopping – with constant pedaling. On Thursday, at about mile eighty something clicked. I kept telling Andreas there must be something wrong with the sensors as I was riding faster, with more power and at a higher cadence than usual. I was sure there some equipment was off.
He checked and everything seemed okay. My legs were on autopilot; they knew what to do and had a mind of their own. I wasn’t trying to increase my cadence or my power. It felt as if my brain was not in control of my legs, instead it was reacting to what my legs were doing by telling my hands to shift bike gears accordingly.
It felt great, and strong, and I was stunned to finish the darn thing. I only stopped once to go to the bathroom for about three minutes. For the other six hours and thirty-seven minutes I pedaled.
By the time we got out to run it was midday in Miami, which translates to HOT. I went at my slow IronMan pace and struggled again. The run will be my challenge come race day; yet though slowly my legs were moving, and I finished.
So the week looked like this:
Monday: RUN. Failed 15 miles turned to 8 miserable ones.
Tuesday: SWIM. OWS for about an hour or so.
Wednesday: STRENGTH. Session at my newest sponsor: Fitness Together
Thursday: BRICK. 112 miles bike + 4 miles run
Sunday: RUN. 60 minutes tempo
I know one workout won’t define success or failure, but I needed that brick to pump my confidence a bit. I still have two 120-mile rides left and some long runs and swims so I need to maintain my discipline. Not all sessions may go smoothly but together they will make me ready.
And so we go …. 8 more Saturdays till the big day, and I will take each one at a time.
How about you? How do you handle bad workouts?