Friday, December 12, 2008

And sink like a stone

I should have known I was in for a tough day when Joleen cancelled out of our swim workout this morning. I persevered on and hit the pool with goggles in hand expecting big improvement over my rover-style technique. Who would have thought that keeping water out of the goggles was going to be harder than swimming itself?

After a lap and a half getting pissed off, I chucked the goggles and reverted back to bird dog technique - head up, gasping for breath every stroke. Despite my early frustration I realized that my goal is to get a workout and getting done faster and more efficiently wasn't going to enhance the training effect. I wore a HR monitor to see what the training effect was and I was hitting 150 which is on the level of a medium, hard run pace. I was proud of myself for hanging in there and not getting intimidated by the swells coming from the adjoining lane created by torpedoes with arms going by.

Perhaps Joleen will feel better next week or maybe my threat of wearing a Speedo created an image that will outlast her cold. I was only kidding, Joleen. Get well quick. As for today's title it was inspired by Aimee Mann's Today's the Day.

I moved on to more familiar training modes after the swim. A quick weight circuit was followed by another hour on the elliptical and 20 minutes on the treadmill uphill. I definitely was feeling the effect of past training and the swim/weights before getting onto the elliptical. The HR was a bit higher for the effort and I could tell I didn't have my usual energy. Rather than get discouraged I used it as an opportunity to practice relaxing and doing the best I could.

Unfortunately, we don't get to pick when the races occur and sometimes they happen to fall on a day you are not at your best. Dealing with tough days in training help when those days inevitably occur when you race. Today I just focused on relaxing and getting the HR to drop down a few beats when I saw it creep up. That's one good reason to use a HR monitor for training to see how you can impact the effect on your body when exercising.

When you get tired think about relaxing a bit and smooth out the breathing or tension in the arms, shoulders or jaw. I've even seen immediate impact of a 2-3 BPM when I am on the treadmill and drink water during workouts. It's so important to practice these things while training so they naturally take hold when racing. Your body will naturally revert to what you practice. If you droop your head and tighten your arms in training when tired, you'll do it in races as well.

My mantra is "run like a Kenyan". I've had many times when I felt like ass at the end of a race and people said I looked good. On the inside I was a mess but I didn't let my body make things worse by becoming even more inefficient. You need to be able to count on something when racing and staying relaxed and keeping form is always possible. How the engine will perform is always a mystery but at least keep the steering wheel pointed in a straight line.

Tomorrow I will test out the leg and see how Wednesday's massage helped. I can tell the lump is smaller and the pain is almost gone.

Fingers crossed.

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