About two weeks ago, I had a huge “A-HA!” moment in my training. I love it when that happens!
I was analyzing my performance at my last race and working on my training schedule for the next two duathlons in this series, when I came to the conclusion that the only way to meet my lofty time goal would be to speed up on the bike portion. “But how can I do that?” I whined to myself (and maybe just a little bit to IronHubs), “I’m already going as fast as I can!” There may have been a tiny bit more whining, but I’ll spare you from it. “I work hard. Why can’t I go any faster?” I asked IronHubs. He replied, “I don’t know. Why can’t you?”
Like so many of his little Zen nuggets, I didn’t appreciate this one right away. I let it simmer in my mind for a bit and continued working on my training schedule. In the past, I’ve stuck to a relatively moderate training plan, with two or three days of biking, two or three days of swimming and three days of running, one of which was a brick. But this time, while I was filling in everybody else’s race days and figuring out how to accommodate my work schedule, I had a little lightbulb go on over my head: The only way I’m going to get better is to get better. (Yeah, I know. Thank you, Captain Obvious.)
The training schedule I ended up posting on the refrigerator is pretty aggressive: nearly every day is a twofer (bike + swim, run + core work, swim + run, etc.), and every week includes a long run, a long bike and at least two bricks, usually on back-to-back days. I’ve never included this much biking before. It’s challenging, but I’m loving it!
I’ve also armed myself with a secret weapon – a new mantra. That first day on the bike after putting up this training schedule, I went out for a ride with IronHubs’ koan in my head, “Why can’t I go faster?” (It’s hard to translate the nuance of this question in writing, but I didn’t mean it in a whining or questioning way. More in a “challenge myself and encourage myself” way. I can do anything, why wouldn’t I go faster?) While I was riding, I pushed myself harder on the bike than I’ve ever pushed before. When I wanted to back off and slow down, I told myself, “Don’t be afraid.”
What am I afraid of? Ugh, that list is pretty long, but somewhere in there is this strange fear of succeeding. And the flipside, a fear of trying my very, very best and still failing. I have always held something back in fear, with the “what-ifs” in the back of my mind.
That day on the bike, I wasn’t afraid. I didn’t worry that I wouldn’t have enough left for my run, I didn’t worry that my best wasn’t good enough, I just pushed and gave it everything I had to give. And it was AWESOME!
To put it into numbers for you: my average speed on the bike
is was somewhere in the 17 mph range. On shorter rides, I could push it almost to 18 mph and on longer or hillier rides, I usually averaged in the high 16’s. That glorious day, I cranked out an 18.8 mph ride, just because I told myself I could. Monday’s brick and yesterday’s brick both averaged 19.7 mph! Crazy speed. I was thrilled to discover that pushing harder on the bike didn’t leave me any more or less exhausted on my run. 17 mph or 19 mph, I still have to grind through that first mile of jelly-legs getting off the bike, so why not go 19 mph?
Have you pushed yourself to new limits?
Don’t be afraid.