Here we are less than six weeks from the big day. Time to check where I’m at and start planning for the big day. Overall I am feeling okay and sort of confident. I’ve lost 1.5 kg since I started the program and don’t have any serious injuries. It is scary as hell, but in a good way. Back when I was racing MTB I tried to scare myself a little bit each session. You know, not too much but enough to keep you on your toes and maintain a feel for your boundaries. This is different, not a single training session is scary or even very difficult. Sometimes it is a grind but it doesn’t send shivers down my spine. Thinking about the big day however currently still escapes my imagination. I don’t know what to make of it, other than be really really nervous about it. So for the final 6 weeks I’ll try to do a weekly check in to reflect on my state of mind and body.
In general I am feeling good. Earlier in this training block the weekends wore me down to a point where I had to sneak in naps on Monday and Tuesday afternoon. Not anymore, I just knocked out a 25k run on Friday, attended a wedding on Saturday and a 120k ride on Sunday, all with a cold, without being moody or unreasonably fatigued. That is progress!
My swim is coming along nicely. I am a bit hesitant to be too confident, because I did not swim as much as my plan prescribed and my longest session so far was around 3k. Seems like too little on the paper, but in the recent half distance I swam faster than ever and felt great coming out of the water. However, I must admit that in the two weeks leading up to that race I swam more than usual, which is why I am aiming to add a third session each week until Hamburg and get my volume up a bit more. Regarding my technique it is still ugly to watch, but I can sight and I can breathe bilaterally at least for a while. My focus will be on distance and endurance but there are a few mistakes my coach pointed out recently that I’ll be keeping in mind.
The bike is having me confused. I spend the most time and the most heart training for the bike. And regarding the distance I’ve come a long way, I can knock out 4 – 5 hour rides comfortably without much trouble, even with a lot of time in aero and a fair bit of climbing. I’ve got my position dialed and really enjoy the long rides on my titty bike. But it seems I’m not getting faster anymore. My FTP has hit a plateau and I rarely hit a power PR. Could it be that on limited time you can only improve distance or power, but not both in a meaningful way? I’m not sure, I’m following the TR protocol with plenty of high intensity stuff, but that might not be enough. Or it could all be in my head, I am so focused on learning to pace by power that I didn’t allow myself a lot of actual riding outdoors, it was more staring at my head unit and figuring out how to pace a 1.02 VI. Anyway, now that I’ve got the confidence in my pacing abilities and am assured that I can handle the distance I might let loose a bit more and allow myself some fun out there.
Finally, the run. I’ve struggled a lot with finding good shoes, it seems impossible to get a pair that doesn’t eat my feet when I’m hitting it really hard. Takes the fun out of the interval sessions. But at least I’ve now found a pair that I’ll be happy to run a marathon in. Apart from that my run seems to be stuck on a plateau as well. Apparently I have hit a wall with my current protocol. The speed work I am doing is not intense enough to lift my threshold pace any further. The long runs are becoming easier and longer, I’ll do a 30k easy on Friday, but the pace remains on a geological scale. Again, maybe with my limited volume I can’t have my pie and eat it, but have to settle for either distance or pace improvements. In which case I’ll stick with making the distance more comfortable and then gut it out come race day.