Thursday, 3 July 2008

Peak or valley?

Who knew that Week 19 would be the hardest of the training plan? This is truly a surprise for me, especially since I was expecting the start of a "half-taper" (that's what the plan calls it).

Even being short a swim and a bike this week, I'm completely wiped. It feels like there's not much left inside, and every muscle aches when I try to use it. I did hold up well on Tuesday's tempo-run-in-the-form-of-a-race workout, but it wasn't the easiest thing either. And ever since then, I've been running "on fumes" to get through the rest of the week to date.

Yesterday was no exception. The swim should have been 2100m, but after 1900m of it I was done - physically and mentally. Thankfully Peter called me out for the run, which was a full hour, but it was a complete struggle with legs that felt like lead. If it weren't for Peter's insistance, I would have been taking walk breaks throughout. I was able to muster the will to get through, and actually finish the last kilometer in under 6min (which is normally very easy for me).

And today, the combination of all this at 4.30am made the blankets on me feel like a tonne. That's my wimpy way of saying that I skipped my bike this morning. Good or bad, I did miss the torrential downpour outside because of that wimpiness. But since Peter and my wife have asked me how my ride went today (>oops<), I've committed to doing it tonight, which will lead to a very sleepy 2100m "flop" and a 65min run tomorrow.

Because of this weariness, I'm feeling very mixed and confused about the upcoming race on July 13. If I'm feeling this way right now, how in God's name will I make it through 6-7hrs of activity? I'm really second-guessing myself and my training, and I keep reminding myself to "put faith in the plan" as everyone tells me. But it's damn hard.

Every week, my training plan provides me with a short tidbit of wisdom and/or goals for the training. Here's what it says for Week 19:
This week's goal: Gain confidence for next weekend's race by feeling your fitness begin to peak during this week's workouts.
Peak? Right now, it feels more like a chasm. 

But perhaps, just perhaps, this is what a peak feels like. Maybe a peak isn't supposed to be when you feel the best and strongest - you want that on race day, not two weeks before. Maybe this peak is supposed to be your hardest week, the one where your body's begging you to quit, the one where you're testing that physical and mental threshold to squeeze every last drop of potential from your veins. And then, after that threshold has been tested, you rest and recover in a taper that brings on more strength and endurance than you've previously known.

If that is what's going on, and I'm hoping like hell that it is, then maybe I really am ready for this.  That would be very cool.

And with that perspective, stress and anxiety change into excitement and enthusiasm. And impatience. I want this race, and I want it now...

...because I want to know the end result. Unfortunately (for me, at least) I'm in the same boat as the rest of you who are reading this: I, also, need to stay tuned.


Cliff said...

I can't offer you as to how to perfect a peak for races as I am still learning that myself.

I do learn to listen to my body. If you body is asking you to take it easy, then it is better to take it easy.

At times, there are doubts whether one can accomplish the longer distance. The most important bit is knowing that you have done everything in the past 19-20 weeks you can to get ready for this race.

Angela Naeth said...

Hey! I really like your blog. How did you make the things at the top ie. BLog roll etc?