Monday, February 23, 2009

I'm Back

It has been a while since I posted anything. Mainly because I have had very little time to even think about writing. It is hard enough to train when family and job get in the mix, but recently I have been trying to get the house ready to put on the market and this is an added stress that I am ready to be done with. Such is life, right?

The pool is empty these days. I wonder why? In the past there are mornings when one cannot find an open lane and that's at 5 AM. Now I show up and sometimes I am the only one in the pool. I know this will change. It is getting close to the time when all the people who made a New Year's resolution to run a triathlon will start training for the local sprint. Even then I usually find several people at the pool. I will admit that this year I have made a concerted effort to keep my swim volume down. For one I want to keep the shoulder from getting worse, its too early to have it hurting all season. I have also been consciously heeding the advice of many and concentrating on my bike and run.

I have read it or heard it said many times that swimming is the one leg that the least gains can be made (for the average swimmer or above). It has also been said that you don't win triathlons in the water. An average swimmer can kill on the bike and run and win a race. A great swimmer can lose a race by being caught on the bike or run. So because of this I am keeping my volume moderate right now and spending more time elsewhere. during the winter I even dropped my swim days down to two a week and sometimes only one. Every four weeks I would do a 1000 yard TT and what I found was that there was no loss of speed (no gain either but I am OK with that). It is hard to stay out of the pool when it is one of your strengths and you are part fish like me.

So what is the moral of this story. Mental toughness is not only about sitting on a bike for 4 hours (although it is all mental when you try it while sitting in one place) or keeping your mind focused on running for 2+ hours. It is also about reprogramming your brain to say, "its OK not to swim today", or keep the big picture in mind by saying "I have to run today even though I want to swim because it will make me a stronger triathlete overall".

Keeping the big picture in front of you is mentally tough. This is why people stress, "run your own race". It takes mental toughness to keep pace when someone comes screaming past you on the bike. You naturally want to pursue but you know that the pace will beat you down and the run will be all survival. So you make a mental note of the guys number and vow to hunt him down on the run.

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