The first full week of half ironman training is in the bag, and I survived handsomely. I closed out this week with a few lessons, both good and bad, to carry forward in my training.
1. I love my bike, I love my bike, I love my bike.
I have always enjoyed being on my bike, but now it’s time to buck up and really embrace the bike. Last week was over 80 miles in the saddle, by far the most volume I have ever had. I held up well, but I know that I still have a lot of room for improvement. My focus needs to be on keeping my heart rate in zone 2 when I ride. If I can do that, I will finish with enough in the tank to run.
2. Swimming is cool, literally
When the temperature is up over 85 degrees and equally humid, those long open water swims (OWS) are a godsend. This week I had three different OWS, and I was thankful for each and every one. On Thursday, I did 1.2 miles which gives me a huge confidence boost. Now knowing that I can cover that distance and get out of the water feeling strong, I need to focus on my swim efficiency and conserving as much energy as possible.
3. If it’s hot, I’m screwed
The past two weeks have been brutally hot and humid. I swear that in other years it hasn’t been this bad for this long. But, the weather is one thing I cannot control and I need to learn to deal with it. For me, the hardest part is accepting that I need to slow down my runs to account for heat. Conventional wisdom states that heat and humidity levels like we have seen in the northeast would translate to at least 1 min / mile slower pace. While I know that this is true, I still can’t bring myself to accept this fact. If I am running and I don’t see my Garmin flashing back the same numbers that I am accustomed to seeing on cooler days I mentally quit. No Bueno.
4. Nutritional no no’s
Sunday’s long ride was focused on nutrition and practicing what I will eat during the race. One of my nutrition items was a PB&J at the half way point. When my watched beeped that it was time to eat, I dutifully shoved the sandwich in my mouth and bent down to take a drink, only to realize my aero bottle was empty. I reached around behind me for a refil, and jammed it into the aero bottle. And this is where I mis-calculated. Mouth full of PB&J, water bottle upside down emptying into my aero bottle, and in the biggest gear, I rounded the corner and hit a small climb. Doh!
Lesson learned: make sure you have a chance to empty your mouth, finish filling your bottle and gear down. Otherwise you will feel like this:
Only 8 more weeks to go, and as of today I am feeling confident in my ability to be ready for this race.
How was your week?
Did you learn anything new in your training?