Monday, March 12, 2012

Where I'm at... it's gotten interesting.

Woah, I've been through a rollercoaster of events lately. To sum it up: overtraining + anemia + 2 bike crashes had me out for the count for much of January and February. I gave myself a good rest and came back as if on FIRE! Before, I was hardly able to put in hard efforts and even steady efforts felt like a chore. Walking up the stairs was hard. My heart was tired. My muscles, surprisingly, were never sore from training, but during a workout, if I attempted an explosive effort, they'd near give out. So, I took my rest, and came back better than ever. I felt really really good. 

Except, when I returned to being coached, I was just SO OVER being told when to go hard and when to go easy. I didn't want a coach anymore. Despite having real faith in my coach, I just didn't want it. It's hard to explain, but all I could think about was how "un-fun" being coached now was. I was over it. So, in a rather abrupt way, I just decided to give being coached a break. It honestly felt like a break up. I'm quite certain he was hurt, because he proceeded to unfollow me on Twitter (odd?). Never mind, after the shit I'd gone through and the sadness and tiredness I'd felt in the last couple months, I just wanted control over my training. I was scared of digging myself into a pit of fatigue because, even though he is a coach and knows what he's doing, he does not feel what I feel when I'm tired, or when I'm on fire. I needed to be careful and be selective of giving myself rest when I feel I needed it, and giving myself a hard, stressing workout when I needed it. 

Of course, I knew that to develop and progress as an athlete, you need a smart, periodized plan that will have you improve the quickest, get stronger and faster, reduce junk mileage, and give you rest when you need it. 

So, for the moment I am self-coached although basing my training off a plan I got from TrainingPeaks that should get me prepped for IM 70.3 Hawaii. The plan is a bit easy, more base-building than anything, but it gives me an idea of when my long rides should be, when I should start putting in more speedwork on the bike and run, and reminds me when I should have my rest weeks. I modify the workouts to suit my strengths and weaknesses (i.e. I don't just do more of what I love doing the most). 

- I need to get faster and build my endurance for the swim, so I'm in the water ~6 times a week, 2 masters sessions, some enduro sessions (4-5k), and some loosens 30-40 mins after long runs to flush out the legs. 
- I need to really build my endurance up on the bike, and finish a long ride having neg splitted by power output, some spins, some rides where the terrain dictates my effort, some more structured rides, some rides with friends, etc. It's a huge mishmash, but I'm loosely following a plan. For me, I'm not at such a level where specificity is all-important. I know there's still at least another 2+ years of "time in the saddle" that will have me improving regardless. 
- I need more frequent runs, but less frequent high intensity sessions. Running has become a problem for me because of past injuries, but running frequently with no aim, I KNOW, creates an awesome enduro base from which I can build. I've got one high intensity speed session a week, one hills session, a long run, and some fluffing around on the various mtb tracks in town to get some strength and good form on the trails. Each run has a purpose. This is the trickiest of the 3 disciplines because I had gotten so stale and unable to hit high-intensity sessions because they were quite frequent. I think just an injection of speed work here and there will have me amped to run fast then and ONLY then that rather than the dreaded Z3 plateau, I'll be Z5B off the fucking wall, gasping for breath. 

I had been hesitant (and scared) to go without a coach as I've been with my coach for the last 2-3? years. It is a shocker, but I do need it at this time. I want to see if I can create a smart program that has me progressing, and not plateauing. Most importantly, I've come to truly value rest and recovery (having experienced overtraining, I do NOT want to experience it again). The Hawaii 70.3 race will be a test of my own coaching skills. If I beat Lance Armstrong, I know I've done well for myself (ha!). 

It's an exciting time, and I'm already starting to feel the love. I've got a slew of racing coming up, too, that should have me pumped. This includes:
Mar 24-25-26: Goldrush 375k multisport race. I'm doing all the road cycles and trail runs. My teammate is doing all the mtb and kayaking. Through the beautiful, desolate Otago countryside. 
Day 1: end of day 18km all-uphill run
Day 2: 24k road bike + 15k net-downhill trail run
Day 3: 42k road bike, a break while she kayaks, then 3k run + 53k road bike + 13k run, yeeha!!
Mar 31: Southern Lakes Half-Marathon. Time for a PB, the last time I ran a half was October 2010. 
Apr 6: Lake Hayes Easter sprint triathlon. A goodie. 3rd time around, hope to knock another 1-2 minutes off my time. Was 9th F18-39 yrs last time, including the pro chick(s?). 


  1. Well lady, I'm glad to see a post with detail FINALLY.
    I think going without a coach will definitely be a nice experience for you. And having a plan from TP will give you the flexibility to rest and recover while listening to your body.
    That multisport race sounds effing AWESOME. I don't think I'd ever do one since I prefer running to anything else. But I think the team aspect of it is really neat. I'd love to do an epic relay race someday but with only one or two other team mates.
    I'm so looking forward to hearing about your training and how it goes being self-coached!
    I think when something loses its "fun factor" it's time to take a break.
    Overtraining definitely zaps the fun out of anything. So I'm glad you're back on your feet/on the saddle/in your swimsuit and happy about it. :)
    By the way, since you're self-coached and all now, I'm sure you'll be gobbling up info even more readily than before. Have you ever read the Sweat Science blog by Alex Hutchison?
    It has now moved to the Runner's World site but it's such an interesting blog and I thought you might like reading it:

    take care!!!!!!

    1. Oh my gosh, Steph, we should do a team race together! Relay or whatever. It'd be amaaaazing! And thanks for the link, I'll definitely be checking that blog out. :)

  2. I hear ya. I just recently ended a 3 year stretch with my Coach. We are on a "Break". I needed to decompress and re-energize with my training.
    Sounds like you're coming around! Good luck with your races!

    1. Don't know what it is, but you can somehow put yourself through a whole lot more training when it's your choice to go out and do it, and you are willing to give yourself more rest when you're in command. Bizarre, when that's what a coach is for, after all... but I am liking my unstructured time! I hope you are too. :)