Monday, April 23, 2012
Here's the plan:
Tuesday: 4 mile recovery walk and speed endurance cycling workout
Wednesday: Recovery bike ride
Thursday: 2.7 mile jog and strength cycling workout
Friday: Recovery bike ride
Sunday: 12.1 mile jog/walk--goal = 02:25:15 or less
The point: continued prep for half marathon on May 12--can't wait!
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Just returned from an 11.2 mile effort. I finished in 2:10:15 which means I averaged 11:36-7 miles. I was shooting for 12:00 min miles so I'm very happy with this, which is why I proudly brandish the name, The Blazing Turtle!
He breaks only those records he himself has set! He impresses absolutely no one but his wife! He doesn't care that people giggle at him as he passes by! He's happy! He's The Blazing Turtle!!!
Really was a great workout today, here are my splits. Notice that they're pretty much all in that 11:30-12:00 range, regardless of terrain or what have you, which probably pleases me more than anything: 11:39/11:30/11:27/11:54/11:30/11:25/11:55/
11:29/11:43/11:50/11:41/2:11 (final 0.2).
So, with this behind me, I've only got one more long workout next week followed by two weeks of shorter recovery and technique workouts, and then the big day--May 12! Can't wait! Hope you have a great day.
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Well, I'm getting closer--much closer! The half marathon is on May 12, and in preparation I have only two more long jog/walks to take--11.2 miles this week and 12.1 miles next week. Then I take a week for recovery, with two shorter jog/walks, followed by the week of the event.
I'm excited for tomorrow and eager to see how my endurance has grown. Last week, at the end of the ten miles, I felt that I could not go another mile. That probably wasn't true but I did feel at the end of my rope, so we'll see how things go tomorrow. I have a different plan for approaching the jog/walk intervals which I think will help me maintain energy for that extra 1.2 miles. One way or the other, I will finish the workout, even if I have to sacrifice my goal time.
Hope you all have a great day!
Friday, April 20, 2012
I love sprinting on my bike. It's such a rush. The speed, the adrenaline, the comments from neighbors as I wizz by their houses, the somewhat objective measure that helps me gauge how good a shape I'm in. I just love it.
But it does strike a measure of fear in me and for today the question is this: why? Two answers.
First, when I was a kid, I loved riding my bike--BMX--and had several pretty bad wrecks. One time I was flying down this series of 10-12 foot drops offs, there were probably 4 or 5 of them in a row interrupted by 100 yards or so of level ground (dirt). One of the drop offs took me by surprise and I ended up unintentionally doing the "superman" which didn't end well when I hit the next drop off! In this awkward position, I couldn't reach my brakes and thus hit the next drop off at full speed with no control and--ouch! I ripped the skin entirely off my upper right forearm. Oh I can still feel the months of "itchy scab" to this day.
On another occasion, I was jumping my bike over some concrete medians in our neighborhood. The curbs sloped upward in a diagonal fashion making for a perfect launching pad, and to make it even more enticing there were two of them in a row. So you'd jump the first one, land and pedal hard so that you could clear the second one, and jump again. One day, things didn't go according to the plan. After the first jump, I pedaled hard, the chain broke, and I flipped over the handle bars at full speed. I hit the back of my head on the second curb which knocked me out. When I came to, I got up and started pedaling home--boy did I feel woozy!
Someone stopped to help me, they seemed almost panicked. I didn't understand. It turned out that I was bleeding pretty badly, in fact, the entire back of my shirt was covered with blood. They got me home, my dad giggled and so did I, my mom nearly passed out--literally! Went to the hospital, got some stitches, I was just fine.
I could tell other stories but I'll stop there. The point is that I have memories from my childhood--10-16 years old--of some pretty bad crashes and to this day it makes me gun shy when I stand to crank the pedals as hard as I can at full speed. I can still feel the feeling of flipping over my handle bars, and now that I'm 45 rather than 12, I'm thinking it wouldn't turn out quite as well for me! So the first source of my fear is past experience.
Second, I'm a logical person and I can see the variety of circumstances which would land me on the pavement as I enter into a full out sprint. It's probably only a 5% possibility but I have so much responsibility in my life--I live to serve others to the glory of God--that I sometimes wonder as I begin to sprint, "Is this smart? Is the price of a crash really worth paying at this time of my life?" But the adrenaline junkie in me says, "Deal with it!"
I've been thinking a lot about this over the last few days, and I think these two things summarize well the sources of my fear. So what to do? Three thoughts:
First, care well for the bike so that I can trust the equipment I'm using. Of course, a chain can break on a fluke but that's exceedingly rare. More often than not, they break because of neglect. So if I care well for my equipment, and replace it when I should, then I can relax and put that out of my mind.
Second, I need to keep completing the form sprints workout every week so that I get more and more comfortable with body positioning and technique. Practice makes perfect. Repeated efforts produce muscle memory and instinct so that we think less and act more naturally, and aggressively.
Third, I need to spend more time visualizing, dealing with my fear, imagining wrecks--the worst case scenario--and imaging success--the best case scenarios. That is, I need to deal with the psychology of this off the bike more than on, I think. I've spent lots of time visualizing in the past, and found it very fruitful, but that's had more to do with producing speed or whatever, not dealing with fears. So I'm going to try visualization as a means of dealing with this fear and we'll see what happens.
Right now, I'm focused on completing a half marathon in three weeks (May 12 in Maple Grove, Minnesota), after which I'll focus more intensely on cycling. I hope to hit 30 mph in a sprint by the end of May and then reach my goal of 32-35 mph sprint by the end of June. Thanks for reading this long psycho-blog! I'd love to hear any feedback.
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Yesterday I blogged about my early season sprinting level and season goals. Today I want to say a word about why sprinting at 30+ mph scares me more than descending at 50 mph.
First of all, I have hit and exceeded 50 mph on my bicycle many times, mostly when I lived in California and 3-4 times since I've lived in Minnesota. Most of the hills here just aren't long or steep enough to produce those kinds of speeds, but every once in while I come across one that is and go for it! There are, however, many descents near to my home where I can hit 35-40 mph and I do so on a regular basis.
When I hit these speeds on a descent, I rarely feel any fear at all. Why? (1) Road bikes are built for speed and seem to ride smoother as the speed increases. My bike never shakes or feels unstable, rather, it feels very comfortable and controllable. (2) Once I get into my tuck and settle in for the descent, there's little to no body movement involved and thus, again, the ride is very stable and controlled, even if fast.
Sprinting, however, is an entirely different thing. While the bike itself is indeed designed for such speeds and efforts, there is much body and bike movement involved in sprinting at max effort, whatever the start speed. If I'm traveling at 20-25 mph and feel like getting out of the saddle and pedaling at a mellow and controlled cadence, I feel very relaxed and fear-free. But when I'm traveling at 20-25 mph and decide, for whatever reason, to get out of the saddle and crank the pedals as hard and fast as I can, I must confess that I deal with a certain amount of fear, probably because I'm a rational person and realize the danger inherent in this activity!
So, last year, I got in good enough shape that I was able to hit 30 mph sprinting on flat ground with no wind at my back. I know that I can eclipse that speed this year, but I have to put the possibilities of crashing out of my mind in order to do that. It's a real mental block for me.
Tomorrow I'll write about why I think this is so but for now I want to invite you into my fear! Complete a couple of workouts wherein you sprint 5-10 times at a 75-80% effort level. This will help you work on the form that's necessary to sprint safely and productively at max effort. As you develop the feel for how to sprint, ride for 30 or more minutes so that you're nice and warm. find a stretch of road that's flat and unobstructed. Increase your cruising speed so that you're nearing the top of your ability and then, when the time is right, put your hands in the drops, get out of the saddle, and hammer as hard as you can. At that moment you'll think to yourself, "Now I understand what MNCyclist is talking about!"
If you take me up on this, first of all please be careful, and second of all let me know how it goes. I'd love to interact with some of you about sprinting technique, accomplishments, and strategies for overcoming fear.
Here's a pic of Mark Cavendish in a beautiful sprinter's position, going a little faster than 30 mph--that's less than his starting speed!
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