I love racing. After all, this is why I do this sport. But if you race lots it tends to disrupt your training somewhat. So after two Olympic distance triathlons on consecutive weekends, I felt very ready to tackle my next big block of training towards Kona. 3 weeks of uninterrupted swimming, biking, and running until my arms and legs were ready to fall off. Then recover, and race again to test the state of affairs. I can’t even begin to explain how much I was looking forward to this.
And it’s exactly what I did. Ticking off the sessions on the plan, and ready to push my body and mind further in every session. It is only when we challenge ourselves, our current ability that we can progress. When we fall flat on our face, but get up and try again, and again. Until we succeed. There is something deeply satisfying about seeing improvement at work, and knowing that it’s all your hard work paying off.
So as an example one of my key sessions is a hard brick. It may sound boring to some but the run section is usually a set number of laps of my local park. When I’m peaking for my A race, I know I can do 10 laps as 4 easy, 3 steady, 3 hard plus run up the hill back to my house at the end of it. Of course, earlier in the season I won’t be able to pull that off. When I emerged myself into training at the beginning of August, I was obviously not starting from zero, but I was still 2 months away from Ironman Hawaii. So the first week in I targeted 8 laps as 3 easy, 3 steady, 2 hard. I didn’t make it. Lap 8 I just couldn’t maintain the pace, struggled to the end, and walked of shame it up the hill. But I didn’t mind failing. I knew I had tried my best, and next week would be better. The following week I got half way up the hill until my legs gave in. And so it continued.
The choice of repeating the same session over and over again shows one of its obvious advantages here. I can measure progress easily. It’s not only proof to me that my training is working, it also makes me hungry for more. It motivates me, and I can’t wait to try again next week.