Is it still an adventure if you bike 100 miles…in your family room?
We had the best of intentions as we wrapped up week 2 of our most intense training phase yet. Our nutrition and hydration had been on point all week, and we had a fantastic route planned in Leesburg, Virginia. Unfortunately, Mother Nature didn’t get the memo that we had a big day planned, and we awoke on Friday morning to pouring rain and thunder.
If we were true bad-asses maybe we would have gone outside anyway. However, I’ve never claimed to be one and I wasn’t thrilled at the idea of spending the day cold, drenched, and paranoid about skidding into a ditch. Does that make this Unwillingness to Suffer Training?
It may not have been the most epic adventure, but spending 5.5 hours on our bike trainers staring at the same little spot on the wall (“Is that a bug or a blemish?”) definitely tested our willpower. When it comes down to it, that’s what Willingness to Suffer Training is all about, right? I’ve heard tales of great triathlon coaches sending their athletes into small, dark rooms to run or bike for hours on end with no stimulation. I like to think we were replicating this method in our own way.
I also had the opportunity to strengthen my Good Judgment Muscles. (If you’re not familiar with the four major muscle groups – including Good Judgment Muscles – you can read about them here.)
I’ve been blessed with minimal injuries through the years, but across the last week my plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the tissue that connects your heel bone to your toes) progressed from being slightly irritating to burning and stabbing with a vengeance. Walking was painful, and it was throwing off my running stride (which subsequently affected my ankle, knee and hip on that side.)
As much as I despise deviating from a training plan (or any plan, for that matter), I skipped our 15-mile run on Sunday. Am I still bitter about it? Yes. Will I need to skip more runs until my foot is better? Yes. Will skipping a few runs kill me or crush my chances of completing the Ironman? Probably not. Good Judgment Muscles, ENGAGED!
So, without further ado, here’s what Willingness to Suffer/Good Judgment Training Part II looked like:
- Training plan: 2.4-mile swim + 100-mile bike ride
- Lesson learned: Want to pass the time during an indoor bike ride? There are tons of free training apps and videos, and Global Cycling Network has some of the best, in my opinion. We did the Power + Endurance session twice and Race Winning Intervals once, then kept a steady cadence of 80-90 rpm for the rest of the ride.
- Training plan: 1.25-mile swim + 40-mile bike ride
- Lesson learned: Getting back on the bike after a long ride can do a number on your butt. To reduce the discomfort, first apply plenty of anti-chafing cream. Then, accept the fact that it won’t get better until the ride is over (at least not for me); no need to waste energy waiting for the pain to go away. “Embrace the suck,” as they say in the military.
- Training plan: 40-mile bike ride (for me) and 15-mile run (for Tyler)
- Lesson learned: Resilience and adaptability are as important as strict preparation when you’re working towards a goal. Even if you’re obsessed with following training plans to a “T” like me, it’s better to sacrifice a few training sessions to heal an injury rather than forge ahead and pay for it down the line. Trust your gut if something goes wrong, adapt, and don’t look back.