I am just about finished with my 5th week of training. I have less then 300 days until Ironman 70.3 California and I started wondering today about physical and mental fatigue. 300 days is a long ways away and training 6 days a week can lead to fatigue both for the body and the mind.
The one thing that I trust the most about my training is that Coach C knows what she is doing. I have nothing but the most complete trust and faith in her methods. They have to work, just look at her accomplishments. They are amazing and something that I would love to tout in the future.
So while on some days it is harder to wake up then others I know that once I get started I am going to finish strong and that will help build my mental toughness. They call these endurance sports and really it is tough to endure physically but more then anything else you have to become mentally tough. You have to know in your mind that you can do something b/c you did it during training.
I have a long swim coming up on Sunday. I am doing several long, easy sets. I am starting out at 400 and doing a pyramid down to 100 and then back up with 1:00 RI. In the past I would have looked at that and said is Coach kidding me? Now I look at it and wonder what is the warm-up, what is the cool down. Is it only 2000 yards? I am getting more and more tough in my mind when it comes to the pool.
Today I did ILT (Isolated Leg Training) to become stronger in each leg while peddaling on the bike. I ran 4 miles in Z1, not just to help build my treshold for running but to also develop the mental toughness of having to run that slow, It is not easy to run in Z1 or Z2 but you fight through it so that you can say that you did it. When you get out on the course and hit a hill and it is difficult and you feel like you are slowing down you can tell yourself it's not a big deal as it is nothing more then Z1 that you are in and you can then push yourself once you crest.
I know along this trail of getting prepared for California I will hit bumps in the road but it is the athlete you can smooth out those peaks and valleys that will be better on race day. I started this training by saying that nobody would train harder then I do, and while I still believe that I have added that nobody will train harder or smarter then I do. When I don't want to wake up at 4:00am to go to the gym to swim 1900 yards I repeat that mantra. I know there are people out there doing it, but they don't work out at my gym and getting to be the best in this area at what I do is my goal. By notching 2nd overall at Grapevine I proved to myself that all the hours of sleep 'lost' and time at the gym and in the pool has paid off and will continue to pay off.
Also, because of beign able to work from home I have been able to find quite a few helpful techniques which will help me be more efficient and a smarter triathlete. For example I found a video that shows the proper technique for hand placement when entering the water and I can't wait to try it out. It coincides with the scull work I have been doing and beign able to add one and one together is going to help me get better and faster without really doing anything more then adjusting your hand placement. Amazing, and that is what keeps me coming back to the pool or to the gym to lift when I don't think I have anything left.
Coach told me that she has entered a 70.3 trying to win it. I am amazed by this because she decided to do it essentially at the drop of a hat. I know I have planned California in April and would love to do Buffalo Spring in June and then another at the end of the year, but I want to be in such shape that I can say I am doing this event in one month without blinking.
Getting stronger physically will allow me to make those kinds of decisions and getting stronger mentally will make it happen. I have already started to see that type of change. There is a Tri Rock series on the 12th of September, but I'm already registered for the Old College Tri on Sept 5 and then the Jailbreak on Sept 19th. But in all honesty why not do a sprint tri on the 12th with OWS to get used to the feel prior to Toyota on October 10th. Of course I have the Martindale Triathlon on the 30th of October, but that is not an important race and will be nothing but fun.
As Coach says.....these races are like a drug. Only difference is that this high leads me to a better more efficient lifestyle and hopefully the goal of living 'forever' as opposed to the other drugs that suck the life out of you.