Saturday, February 14, 2009

125 Days and Counting...

-Breakfast: Peanut Butter Granola Bar, fruit leather, 2 cups of coffee.
-Lunch: 10oz Steak, scrambled eggs, and fruit plate.
-Dinner: 2 pieces of cheesecake; berry swirl and key lime!!! (Todd and Mike must be so proud)
-Snacks: One bowl of granola, with almonds and raisins, 2 strips of fruit leather.

Some of you may be asking a question at this point about my diet. That question might be "WTF?!" I know, admittedly, I have not been AS focused on that as I was in the last 2 years. Couple reasons for that: 1). I don't have weight to lose, I'm were I want to be, and 2.) I have realized that it's okay to relax. I actually read an article that talked about periodizing your beer selection throughout the season! It isn't a green light to eat ice cream 3 meals a day and wash it down with Bud Light, but more of a reminder about balance... I can't train all day every day, I have other obligations; I don't need to eat soy, granola and broccoli every day, other things taste good too.

-Training: 40 minutes continuous swim.
Felt good throughout, and got in about 10 minutes of speed work (swim 25 @ RPE 7, 25 RPE 3). Otherwise, at race pace (RPE 5).

A kind of funny question I have gotten before that I was thinking about on the swim today; "What do you THINK about during all this training? Don't you get bored?"

Honestly, I don't get bored at all. I'm pretty good at letting my mind wander (um, it took me 11 years to graduate from college), and putting the physical exertion on auto-pilot. An interesting twist this year is I think about what to write here!

But to be perfectly honest, I do a ton of what can only be called "mental imagery." I think a LOT about having good form (efficiency is important, but that is another post). I think about feeling good on the course, cheering crowds at the race, setting a personal best on the bike, crossing the finish line, all sorts of good thoughts. I know, this is a post where a lot of people are going to call me silly, and make fun of me and my ooey gooey sports psychology; before you do, digest this little tidbit.

I also think about things that make me ANGRY. Social injustice, someone being mean to my wife, etc, etc, etc. Today, I measured my pace at 100 meters 20 minutes into the workout. I did 100 meters in 1:40. Then, I gave myself a couple minutes to think ANGRY thoughts. My 100 pace after that? 1:26. 14 seconds difference, in the same workout.

Imagine how fast I could be if I raced the whole Ironman pissed off?!

But in all seriousness, visualize yourself swimming 100 meters (4 lenghts of the pool).... Then look at a watch, and wait 14 seconds. It is a statistically significant difference.

What is the point of all this? Ironman is a mental challenge, not just a physical challenge. The physical part is a straightforward physiological process; eat well, put in the mileage, and your body will adapt and be able to carry you to the finish. The hard part, is convincing yourself to keep going, to not stop, to continue moving forward. It may seem simple, but it really isn't. Everyone who's ever done an endurance race of ANY kind, knows the mental process of convincing yourself to keep going; it happens in a 5k, 10k, half marathon, any race. We convince ourselves to just put one foot in front of the other until we cross the finish line ending our silly, but sentimentally important, quest for some arbitrary title.

In the Ironman, you have to do that for a LONG time (upwards of 14 hours for me). How long before you think you'd run out of persistence, or material, to convince yourself that the pain and discomfort is worth it? The importance of mental training cannot be dismissed at any level, but especially in triathlon. A common sentiment among the triathlon community, is that your body is capable of MUCH more than your mind will give it credit for. So the question becomes, when you're at mile 18 of the marathon, your legs are dead, your body is absolutely exhausted and you've used up all sources of energy to fuel muscle contractions; what will your mind tell your body to do? It will say whatever you trained it to say, and if it says "keep on trucking, your reasons for doing this are good, and valid", your body will oblige.

If you think I'm crazy, look at this you tube video:

Once you've watched it, would you have gotten up?

No comments:

Post a Comment