So last week was pretty cool. It was a "rest week" according to the ELF so I got to back off a bit from the training volume, which was nice as I've been running a little ragged of late with travel, work and trying to keep the house from falling down around me. As an added bonus however, I got to do update my swim test and my run test. Fun!
To explain, I started with my coach 7 weeks ago, and about a month ago, she had me do a baseline swim, bike and run test to see where I was from a conditioning standpoint (I could have told her where I was- middle-aged gooey guy- that's where I was). For my swim, it was 10x100 yards at max pace, and for the run it was 20 min all out. I don't remember the bike at the moment- I think I repressed that pain and she hasn't scheduled another one yet. (Shh....don't tell her- I think she forgot)
So here we are a month later and it's time for a retest. First was the swim test. Now, if you know me at all, you know the swim is my weak event- me and about 10 million other triathlets out there. That said, it's also the area that I've been focusing on lately and I was excited to see what I could do.
After the standard warmup I launched into the 100s. Last time I blew the doors off the first one and just hung on for the remaining 9 as my form got worse and worse. I was determined to be more consistent this time. Of course, I got a little excited and blew the doors off the first one AGAIN!! After that though, I was pretty consistent, with five of the next 6 intervals at the same pace. When all was said and done I was 5 seconds faster on each 100 and got my intervals down under 1:30, which I'm very happy about- I have never gone this fast in the pool! As Coach Liz tells me- Just F&*$ing Swim......
On to the run test. I did this Saturday morning before the kids really got going into there day. I try and either go early or during Kaitlyn's nap time, so Shannon's not left at home with the kids all day. I've been feeling pretty snappy on my runs lately, so I was expecting good things out of this test, plus I was still encouraged by my swim test. Riding that high, I set off on my 20 minutes of fun.
Now, I really enjoy the track. It's where I gained a lot of speed and strength in my twenties and I think it's just a whole lot of fun. You know how far you've gone, what pace you're at and it's pretty easy to plan out a run. Some people think it's boring, but I like the track so this test is tailor made for me. I started off into my warmup and was feeling ok- it's always hard for me to tell how it's going to go until I really get into my run, as my warmup is never much of an indicator.
Off I went. I remember last time I really went out to fast and suffered for it, so I was determined to hold back a little this time on the first 10 minutes and then pick it up on the back half. This is where my Garmin really helps me out. I love being able to see pace, HR and distance all in one place. I held out for a long time, but I'm appreciating the data now, especially as I'm usually going solo and it's hard to gauge pace.
Ten minutes in and i'm feeling good- time to pick up the pace. There's a point where I can really just go hard and there's a point where I've gone too hard and the trick is finding that point. I'm just now getting to the place where I can feel what that is, but again, the HR helps me a lot because now I know what's going on internally. Picking up my HR about 4 beats I really started to get into the groove and with about a lap to go, I went for it and hammered home.
When all was said and done, I took 16 seconds off my mile pace from the first test. This is huge! The good thing about starting from zero again is that you make progress really fast, and I'm happy with how things are going so far.
Now, on to a build week. Coach Liz says that the next two weeks will "challenge" me. Based on what I've seen on the schedule I believe it. Today was an our of Fartlek running, or "speed play". We'll see how the week goes as I get closer to Pacific Grove in September. So far, all is going according to plan. I'm feeling a good race coming up!