I am pleased to say that when I look at my data concerning volume of training, and recall the intensity that much of it was held had, it appears that my fitness is far superior to where it was this time in the season compared to previous years. Thankfully, also, I have remained relatively injury free, suffering only some debilitating lethargy and some slow moving mornings.
The first week was a shock to my system. Often I was in a stupor during work. More than once I wanted to pull to the side of the road and just sleep away the evening instead of making my rounds. I was able, however, to rediscover my love for music, and in particular, that of Taking Back Sunday, whose albums kept my rearview window vibrating to each full volume bass drum. The benefit to living out of your car, I am discovering, is that you’re always surrounded by speakers.
By the final week I had noticed huge dividends in my performance related to two aspects of training that I have previously not devoted adequate time to: swimming technique and weight lifting.
In the pool I’ve had the benefit of two swimming mentors who were granted many a great laughs at my expense. It was a great test in my humility. I’m a bad ass Ironman already, right? I don’t need to piddle around with dumb swimming drills. I’m a bitching 4000 meter free-stylist! Well, I went back to square one. This is an understatement. I’m working back to square one as I undo three years of horrific technique. The upside? I’m faster and swimming is easier, and, dare I say, fun? As my hydrostatic awareness greatens so does my enjoyment of being in the water. I’m no longer flailing through a workout hoping for the ungodly suffering to end. I’m gaining confidence that not only will I get out of the water in a reasonable time, but also, much, much fresher. I am hugely indebted to Erica Smith for her help. (You can find her open water swimming blog under the blogs that I follow.)
In the weight room I have braved the surrounding hoards of bench pressers and bicep curling creatures who can’t help but look at themselves in the mirrors and flex when they think no one is looking. At least in a packed weight room, the leg machines and squat racks are empty. Welcome to Jersey. By increasing my power output from my legs I’m allowing my aerobic capabilities to produce speed without increasing my heart rate. More gets done for less because I’m stronger. The only draw back from the weight room is that it interferes with my running. These last three weeks I’ve had low run mileage because running post lifting leaves me with dead legs. It’s terrible. As lifting becomes less crucial I hope to up my run miles.
Anyway, I’m looking forward to this week of recovery. I’ll half my workout output to let my body recover from the shock and overcompensate leaving me stronger for the next three week training bender.