Week 19 – Down Weeks and Time Trials

First him

and now me…

I broke 8 minutes over a mile. I did a mile in  7:44.

Fine, it’s not quite the first man to break the 4 minute mile, but hey… it’s my personal record.

My best recollection of my best time ever was when I was 17. I think it was over 8 minutes. So at 40, I have run my best mile ever. Man was I out-of-shape for most of my life…

After two up weeks, this week was a down week.

Down weeks, when you’re training for a triathlon are ridiculous. You back off your usual 8-10 hours of exercise per week to a more sedate 5-6 hours of exercise.

The down week was nice, however. At the end of my second up-week, I was ready to crash and burn. My body was exhausted, my brain was exhausted, and my family was exhausted. So thank you down week.

During this down week, my coach asked me to do some time trials. The first was a swimming time trial and the second was a running time trial.

What is interesting is that although I have lost weight and improved my technique, my times didn’t improve that much. Weird.

But it was still a fun check in.

My first swim time trial, I felt like I was barely able to avoid drowning as my technique completely failed me. In my second time trial I was able to keep my technique through the entire 500 yards. In fact, in my second time trial, I wonder if my obsession with technique got in the way of going faster. I was so determined to swim properly that I forgot that the point of the activity was to go fast.

What is interesting is that I went crazy fast in my first 100 yards in the second time trial before I settled into a similar pace as my first time trial. Basically I shaved off 19 seconds from the first 100 yards. And then because we care about efficiency, I was about 10% more efficient in my strokes during the entire interval.

Similar story in my run time trial, covered the same distance, at the same heart rate, but the first mile was 20 seconds faster. Not quite as ridiculously faster as in swimming but my technique and fitness have not improved as much.

Sigh. Tomorrow, the pain and suffering continues.


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