After running the marathon on January 8th, the rest of January was about rest and recovery. I limped for 2 days afterward. I was so incredibly proud of my race and secretly scared at how close I came to injury. Completing a marathon is a very emotional and physical process. It's like any big event in life (college graduation, wedding, childbirth) that after the planning and work to have it all come together, once it is done you can feel a bit aimless and listless. Being a marathon runner has given me such a touchstone of success and pride. I loved the journey and the result. But once it was done, I wasn't ready to jump into a new training plan. But I missed having one.
The morning after the marathon, I saw runners around our hotel wearing their marathon shirts out for a run. "That's just crazy!" I told Karen. "I can barely walk. How can they run? And why would they want to?"
I still think those runners were a bit nuts but now I understand more of why they would do it. Runners lose distance endurance so quickly. I've read that you can lose your endurance within two weeks. This was certainly true of me. I had my first run 15 days after the marathon. I ran 5 miles and I felt like 5 miles was all I had in me. I came home and iced my legs. Days later I ran another 5, then another 5 and then 6.25. And on each one it felt like my speed was there but not any distance.
I went from feeling like I could run a half marathon at the drop of a hat to knowing that I couldn't possibly run an easy 10 miles. I didn't really want to go out and pound the pavement for 10 miles but it was a bummer knowing that I couldn't.
"Just be easy with yourself" was my mantra for the rest of January. "Rest. Recover."
In February, I started putting together some base training for the triathlon I hope to complete this summer. I haven't committed to a specific race but I'm thinking of competing in June. I didn't really follow any specific plan in February. I just knew that I needed to start swimming and biking again.
After careful consideration, I decided to join a YMCA that had a pool rather than continue with my private swim lessons. As such, I needed to create my own swim workouts. What is most important to me is that I know that I can swim the .25mile (440 yards) swim portion of the triathlon. At the start of February, I wasn't confident that I could swim 440 yards in a pool without stopping much less in an ocean with hundreds of other swimmers.
"Okay Wendy," I told myself. "You need to treat your swim like a Couch-to-5K run program. Each week, add just a little more. Let's just sneak up on those 450 yards."
At the start of February, after my swim warm-up, I would swim 100 yards 3 times and then swim 200 yards twice. Let's call that 2x200 yards my "main set". By mid-February, I was swimming 3x250. At the end of February I was swimming 3x300. And by the first week of March, I swam 2x300 plus 1x400.
So as you can see, I was slowly sneaking up on my goal. My swim workout may not be as exciting and fresh as a Masters Group swim where every practice is very different but this practice really worked for me in February.
I used this same creep-up-on-it plan for my cycling. My bike is set up on an indoor trainer in my living room. Sure there were some days when it was warm enough to bike outside but again I had little confidence in myself to be able to bike well. I needed to build a base and get comfortable on the bike. I started at 60 minutes on the bike and added 5 minutes each week. By end of February, I was biking 80 minutes (distance 21 miles).
And I was sprinkling in some running and some strength training. But overall the triathlon training seemed haphazard. Finally on the last week of February, I had a great week of training that really clicked.
Mondays- long swim 2500 yards. I expect that number to be 3000+ in March. 5 mile run.
Tuesdays- long bike ride. 90 minutes.
Wednesdays- long run. 8+miles.
Thursdays- short swim-2500 yards and short bike ride-45 minutes.
Fridays- strength training and 5 mile run.
This plan feels good to me. And boy, I had a heck of a time trying to find the right pattern. At one point in mid February, I was so frustrated that I told Karen that I was going to sell my bike and just give up the idea of the triathlon. I told her I was so frustrated by taking baby steps and scared so much about the ocean swim and about biking with hundreds of other people. Karen said, "Tell me how you would feel if you really gave it up." I replied, "Disappointed. Not relieved but disappointed." Karen said, "Well there you go. Just stick with it and it will happen."
I'm sticking with it.
Here's the stats for February:
5 swims: 2100 - 2500 yards each swim
6 rides on my indoor trainer. On each ride, I would do a 20-second speed burst every five minutes. On those 6 rides I had a total of 107.16 miles completed in a total of 6 hours, 55 minutes. Average mph was 15.35. Plus I took in one RPM spin class.
10 runs for a total of 60.25 miles and an average pace of 8:57.
3 hard-yet-great sessions at Atlantic Beach Performance.
Overall, I worked out 21 days and had 8 days off. And my weight stayed the same at 118.
Thanks to all of you who take the time to comment on these long triathlete posts. Comments lift me up more than you know. I leave them in my inbox so that I read them over and over.
Blog posts about my triathlon journey
August 2011 summary
July 2011 summary
June 2011 summary
May 2011 summary
April 2011 summary
March 2011 summary
February 2011 summary
January 2011 summary
December 2010 summary
Goal: Triathlon in 2012- initial post from December 2010
One Little Word: Triathlete post