Things are going very smoothly right now. Although I nearly burned my house down the other night, I'm happy to report that in training, and soon to discover in racing, I feel very well, and confident. Fast is a by-product and one that comes from enjoying what I'm doing, seeing improvement with a modest schedule, and maintaining a positive attitude.
A few of my favorites/things that are going well right now:
1. Every Tuesday I have been doing the same workout. I trainer it for 15' warmup, then 5' at 80% of my 20minute watts. I follow that up with 2' easy, then 4x1' all out with 4' rest. Follow that with 2-4x30sec full throttle and you step off the bike with a pretty good sense of concrete legs. Interestingly, if you follow that with a 5mi run (1 smooth, 2 race pace, 2 steady state), the race pace miles just seem to flow from the tap. Each week for the last 3 weeks I've done this and had PR watts, and PR race pace miles. Around 530w 1minutes and 650w 30 seconds on average. Race pace miles fall in the 6:15 and lower range. Done on any other day than the day after my rest day and I think this would be counterproductive. It really takes a lot of concentration. That, and a cup of coffee.
2. Coffee has been my source of life lately. I don't drink it in the mornings as I would still like to wake on my own, but a half cup or a few sips before a workout and my CNS is stimulated just enough to wake up and charge up my brain to call on the extra motivation I might need. I'm caffeine naive, though, so too much throws my HR off, but a little goes a long way, and I'm beginning to keep the doses more regular, yet still small.
3. Body maintenance - Ever since the snafu last fall with my hamstring, I have done everything in my power to warmup properly and stretch for at least 5 minutes after each workout. I always reflect on the day with "have I put this joint thru maximum range of motion, i.e. sitting on my heels, doing leg swings, stretching hip flexors (mostly front) and opening up the shoulders." If not, I do so, and it has proven very useful in conjuction with rolling (via, the STICK) to keep me on the wagon and injury free. I still get tweaks everynow and then but it has become much less common and now more manageable.
4. Bike commuting - these are thoughtless miles that get added to my legs. Often this involves short sprints, track stands for balance at stop lights and bike handling while navigating pedestrians and other nonsense. I often wonder how many watts I'm pushing while booking it up the hill in my neighborhood as I'm becoming more and more late to work.
5. A longer, sustained, semi-maximal effort on the bike. Time trialing once a week lately with John Gleason has gone really well. We did 20 miles two weeks ago and the forest 10 mile TT last week. I like this because its a test, something I didn't used to do a whole lot of, and also because I know that it keeps me honest with where I am on TT like rides. This rest week will bring me not only into a race this sunday but the Monrovia 40k TT next week, and I'm looking forward to seeing the benefit of these efforts at these events.
6. High rest, low stress. Having one means having the other. I, now more than ever, begin to realize symptoms of over doing it. Feeling constantly hungry, poor sleep, feeling puffy and inflammed and being hot and then cold from one day to the next are all indicators. I've become more sensitive to them, and by doing so, I allow myself to save up and pound out more productive efforts on the bike, namely.
7. Once a week training with Scott. Words cannot describe what this does for my esteem. I appreciate this sport, and him as a brother more than ever when we are riding or running together. Most of the time its a brutal tough session, but then this last Sunday was an easier 8miles on the B-line easter morning. Pleasant weather, excellent conversation, and all of the sudden, 8 mins a mile when I'm super sore ain't so bad. There is nobody I would rather train with!
Please, find things that you love about this sport and do them at all costs. If you can learn to love what you're doing more than you learn to love the result, I believe you'll find the real reasons you repeatedly test and challenge yourself. Adventure and challenge is the essence of the human spirit. Not results to races. Be good, be careful, be proud of who you are.