Sometimes we suck. Our heart rates are through the roof and we aren't moving. We hate life, exercise, etc.
Today was one such day. I didn't hit my pace marks during my speed work at the track.
But circumspection is needed when trying to gage one's fitness by using speed/time over a period of months. There are a great deal of variables to be taken into account at any given moment.
So before you go hurling yourself over the nearest cliff when the slow bug gnaws off your legs, take a second and look around. Maybe things aren't so bad
Topography: In March I was consistently averaging 20mph on my 100 mile + training rides. This August, I was averaging 18mph. Did I suddenly start to suck at cycling? I hope not. I hope the drop in speed has something to do with the fact that in March I was in Florida and now I'm in North Jersey.
A quick call to my training partner in Florida and a check on mapmyride.com showed me something startling: in Florida a 100 mile ride had about 600ft of total climbing. My last 100 mile ride in NJ had 6000 ft of climbing.
(This is the perfect case for using a power tap, which would, in fact, give me objective data all the time, but, alas, I can't afford one right now. Oh well.)
Temperature and Humidity: You are not going to run PR times when in a sauna. Just look at professional marathon times when compared to the temperature. Every Boston Marathon they always put that graphic up on the television telling the average times based on how hot it was.
So in the August death trap, don't be surprised if your speed work turns into a death march.
My coach, Ryan Grote, is very big on making sure I 'don't get to high, get too low'. He makes sure I move on after a bad day and don't dwell. This advise is easy to understand yet hard to employ. We love to self loath. But sometimes circumstances trump your speed/time expectations.
Get over it. Try again next time.