Friday, January 11, 2008

On Chanting & Hills: Workout Wrap-Up

When every physical and mental resource is focused, one's power to solve a problem multiplies tremendously.” - Norman Vincent Peale

The first three weeks of base training and my first rest week of the year are officially behind me. With some added volume and intensity, this week of training raised several opportunities to think about FOCUS -- am I focused? on what am I focused? how can I re-focus?

Here's what I've been up to:

Monday: Welcome back t-pace! After threshold tests last week in both swimming and running, this's week's workouts put those test results into action. I was pleased to see that my swim times have remained steady since the height of last season and that my 3-mile test time was the fastest ever. A very nice way to start the year.

Monday's swim involved lots of 100 yd repeats at my current t-pace. Breath and form, breath and form, breath and form....and can I get another cup of coffee....and breath and form.... don't forget to stop your watch....and form....That's pretty much all that went through my mind during Monday's swim.

Yoga on Monday evening brought the return of Sage's lessons on the yamas and niyamas. I love this part of our yoga year. Every class has so many practical applications to my training.

Tuesday & Thursday: Runs and weights both days. Thursday's hill repeats were especially fun - in that I love this, I hate this, It's gonna feel so good when it's done, It's gonna feel so good come race day kind of way.

About 3/4 of the way up the hill, I found myself wanting to give up. I've noticed this 3/4 mental block in each tri sport over the last year. I can now see that this is something to really pay attention to and plan for. What 3/4 strategies work best? On Thursday, I overcame the 3/4 block with form and visualization: really pumping my arms and imagining myself being pulled up a ski slope by the tow-line.

Wednesday: A breakthrough day! After a quick swim in the morning and a long day at work, I was dreading Wednesday's bike workout: sustained heartrate work on my trainer. No way around it, keeping my heartrate up on my trainer is just hard. BUT! Instead of mentally giving up and giving in, I decided to try out a few of the strategies my coach recommends in her new book : I chose a gazing point on which to focus; I counted pedal strokes; and for the last five minutes, when it got really tough, I chanted - yes, Sanskrit....out loud. And you know what? All of those mental strategies really worked. My heartrate stayed where I need it, my cadence stayed high, my spirit stayed strong.

So it seems that the big question of the week was: What do I do when I want to give up? It's the same question the staff at Genesis Home challenge the residents to ask of themselves when they feel the urge to return to unhealthy patterns. I intend to spend this year - not to mention tonight's swim and tomorrow's brick - exploring my own answers.