Running With Gears

Today was long run day — 10 miles this week.  Off Bryan and I went to the jungle trail, sunny today and temperatures were warming up.  I started my run slowly, as usual.  And when I say slow I mean slow — like an 11 minute mile.  Next mile was a 10:35, and as always I was thinking about my own training and my coaching.  I thought about swimming with the tempo trainer and how we are all learning to swim with gears.  How about running with gears?  I decided that I would take my 10 mile run and try to steadily descend throughout.  I was thinking 10 seconds per mile, but that was a bigger jump than I planned in the beginning.  Going from 11 to 10:35 would come back to bite me at the end.  But, I continued to think about the comparison to learning gears in swimming and learning gears in running, and how much that would pay off in running, and especially in longer distance triathlon.

So, continuing along I went from 11 to 10:30 to 10:20 to 10:10 to 10 to 9:50  and now it started getting tough!  I was barely able to hit 9:44, 9:37, 9:41 for miles 7, 8 and 9.  I was determined to make the last mile faster — and pushed through for a 9:32 mile, but I didn’t feel as good as I wanted to.  What did I learn?  If I make a plan stick to it, and it reminded me of what I always say to my athletes — if you are running long the early miles should feel easy.  All it all it was a good run though, and I’m going to continue to work on gears in all my training.

It would have been very easy to just sit and lounge for the rest of the day.  I had committed to doing a practice that Terry Laughlin, the founder or Total Immersion, had emailed out to all of the TI coaches.  And I can’t let my virtual swim team down,  so off I went to the North County Aquatics Center.  I am getting used to the spectacular facilities to swim that are available.  I paid a whole $16 for access for a month to this beautiful pool!  So far, I’ve only had to share a lane once and that for only 5 minutes.

North County Aquatics Center, so inviting!
North County Aquatics Center, so inviting!

Monday’s swim practice turned out to be a breakthrough.  I felt as though my stroke count, time and overall feel in the water was coming back.  I did cut the original practice a bit shorter though, I started getting cramps in my calves (from the long run I’m sure).  There is so much to focus on while swimming, and it is rewarding to see the instant feedback by way of improved stroke count and pace.

I never get tired of watching the sunset, no matter where I am.  Tonight there was a beautiful  sky to close out the day.  I am forever grateful and truly blessed.

Treasure Coast sunset.
Treasure Coast sunset.

My 2014 Season Starts Today

I am going to keep these posts short as I’d like to keep up with a blog on my training at least for the next two months while I am traveling.

I looked forward to swimming this morning at the North County Aquatic Center.

North County Aquatic Center, Sebastian, FL
North County Aquatic Center, Sebastian, FL

I will most likely be in the Vero Beach area for the next three weeks so it made sense to invest the $16 in a pass for the month instead of paying a whopping $3 per session (senior citizen discount LOL!)

There were long course lanes available so I took the opportunity since it is something I never get to do at home.  I’ve also decided to go back and start with the first tempo trainer practice I did in the pool a couple of weeks ago.

I realized I was very tense, maybe a result of three days driving.  So, I focused on relaxed head, relaxed arms, breathing thru my 400 tune up.  I’m slow, and seem to be taking more strokes than I remember in the past (40 +/- for each 50 meter length).  I’m hoping to see improvement over the next few weeks.

I took the easy way out and rather than write everything down I’ll rely on my Garmin 910XT file for feedback.  I did not “rush” to mark laps, I’m hoping to see myself get back closer to a 1:50 hundred with practice and focus on my form.

Healthy breakfast and off for some exploring of the area.  I hope to get in an easy run later today of about 4 miles.

UPDATE:

In spite of an afternoon of exploring and a margarita at lunch, I did come home and get that 4 mile run done.  Felt pretty good, found a hard packed dirt road through some abandoned orange groves and totally enjoyed an easy, steady build run.  

Came home and made dinner from my favorite site — 5 Ingredient Monday:  Seared Chicken Thighs over Cauliflower Puree!