After Louisville last year, I made a list of the things I felt I needed to get to the finish line of an ironman. Coach agreed with some and disagreed with others. One we somewhat disagreed on was the need to do more/longer running off the bike and to put in more running miles. The reason I failed in running off the bike was not my inability to run, it was my nutrition/hydration or lack thereof during Louisville. We are working on the nutrition, but to heal my mental shortcomings we ARE doing more running off the bike.
Today's workout: a somewhat short trainer bike ride followed by a 16 mile run.
Did you read that correctly? SIXTEEN MILES OFF THE BIKE!!!
I started preparing for this workout yesterday. I hydrated all day, ate clean and well (mostly), checked water sources and port-a-johns throughout town, and got all my nutrition together. Then I was in bed by 9:30. Yep, the sun had barely set and I was already in bed. The alarm went off at 5:00 and I got up at 5:45. I struggle with early mornings. :) I was on the bike by 6:20. The bike went well. I kept my heart rate right where it was supposed to be and followed my ironman nutrition plan. Then it was time for the run.
Even after starting this workout I was still nervous about the run. As I was gathering my stuff for the run I was kinda gagging. I was scared about what lay ahead. I kept telling myself, "calm down. It's only a run." Soon I was out the door.
I've mentioned it a hundred times before; I liked to run by feel. Coach allows me to do this and encourages it by giving me runs that descend based on feeling and not what my Garmin says. So, I put a sticker over the Garmin and began the run. Last week had beautiful weather for my long run. It was barely 60 degrees. Today was over 70 degrees at the start of it with 100% humidity. Breathing was a little more labored, so I held back and just kept things comfortable. After 8 miles it was time to check the Garmin and begin the descending portion of my run. I had nailed those first 8 miles at a 9:09 pace. Around 8 miles is where I really feel the mojo set in and I was hitting my paces perfectly. I was following my nutrition plan and really doing well. Soon I was 12 miles in and shifting gears once again. I was on my way home and doing terrific. I don't know why I had been so scared about this workout. I was killing it! Finally I hit mile 16. I looked at the final time - 2:22 and change for a total pace of sub-9:00.
Things are really on track for a great race in a few months. I've just got to continue to keep my head in the game, attack my workouts, and follow the plan.