Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wednesday Is "Gain" Day

Awhile back I was at Jack and Adams talking to Zane Castro about training. He was telling me about some conversations he was sharing with some coaches in the sport. Basically what I walked away from our conversation with where these four words:

"Did you make the gain?"

The work I do on Wednesday has been relatively the same for the past 2 and 1/2 months. I get up and ride my bike then I hang out at the house taking it easy getting ready to go to the track and test my MAF. I told myself this year if there was one workout I was going show up for week in and week out it would be my MAF test at the track. And I must say I've done a pretty good job of this only missing when the weather wouldn't allow going outside.

But today I got started late and even though the day started out cloudy, it was sunny and a full on 93 degrees about half way through my workout on the bike. I needed/wanted 2 hours which is about 3 laps and some piddling around on my modified South Mopac loop. I modify the loop so I can add milage, stay out of traffic, and climb more.

The break down of the loops looked like this:
  1. First Loop - 35:00.4 Ave HR 120 Max HR 135
  2. Second Loop - 35:07.8 Ave HR 124 Max HR 137
  3. Third Loop - 31:57 Ave HR 124 Max HR 135
So after the third loop I just rode around and cooled down. But I have no idea where that third lap came from. And I sat at a signal light for a bit during it. Long enough, I might add for me to roll up onto the sidewalk and push the crossing button. I thought it was some sort of fluke. Then I went to the track.

I won't belabor this, but the same thing happened on the track. Now I will freely admit the temperature dropped while I was on the track from 94 degrees down to about 74 while I was running, but even so I started doing these workouts in February (when the average temperature was consistently in the 50's) and the fastest I could run then at a HR less than 150 was a 10:35 pace which is about 2:39 per 400. Today my slowest lap (while it was still over 90 degrees was a 2:25. My fastest lap today was my last at 2:09 (it was very windy by the way as the front that ended my workout at 3 miles was coming in fast) and my pace for the workout was a 9:13. Average HR 148.

But the thing is that last lap, even with wind was so like the last loop on the bike earlier. It was soooo easy, like I was just going with it and I wasn't putting in any effort at all. For me, as I write about it now, the gain isn't as much in the numbers as it is in the sense of ease needed to produce them. That is where the gain is. It reminds me of the feeling I had last October when I could literally "feel" body say "I can do and Ironman now." But this time the feeling is coming in June. How cool is that???

At any rate the point of making the gain and realizing you have made it is knowing when to shift training focus so that progress remains steady and does not plateau. So now I may rethink my training for the next several weeks to introduce new stimuli. Things appear to be shaping up nicely.

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