Today was a tough day. I love that picture coach posted, I didn't see it 'till after my run. Rugged, beautiful mountains pictured with the phrase, "don't confuse difficulty with failure". I had to chuckle, because today...I didnt. Was it a preemptive post? Did he know today would be hard or coincidence? I was thinking about my run as I drove home. Analyzing my effort and feel out there, my HR and how it correlated with effort, terrain, etc. It's a 90 min drive and I always love that quiet time on the road. My brain buzzing, but my body relaxing.
I didn't expect today to be difficult. The climbing I'm used to, and the hr zone progression looked easier on paper I thought compared to recent training runs and races.
I thought I'd share my run if you are curious what it looks like. Today's run was to warm up and then do 3 sets of 20 min climbs progressing up through HR zones, finishing last 10 min in zone 4b-5a each time, running back down between for recovery, and then run fast down after the last one to the base.
The closest place with more than 1 mile of climbing is Cavanal Hill...The World's highest hill....really. 2385ft. 4ish miles to the top from where I start in buddy Josh's back yard. There is a road that winds from bottom to the top, but Josh has bushwhacked 1 mi of gnarly trail from his back door, up the woods, to the road. It is a hellishly fun and brutal mile. Highly technical, with like 2 short switchbacks. The rest of the mile is straight up, with rocks and roots strewn at all kinds of angles, poison ivy and oak, and the occasional snake to contend with. one is relieved to hit the road and climb the next 3 miles on road, however this is steep climbing and you trade all the distractions of footing to the relentless road grind and sun.
I opted to climb that 1 mile gnarly section as easily as possible to warm up and do the 20 min intervals on the road section. I thought it would be easier on the road to control my HR and really progress my effort up as I went. Immediately ,as I was warming up the steep climb my calves burned and my legs were a bit sluggish. About a half a mile up there's a jeep road that cuts across, so I took that road for about a half mile out and back to relieve my calves and warm up a little without climbing. Got back on and climbed the last half mile trail to the road. Relieved to hit the road and start work on the first 20 min interval. The first 10 minutes I progresses through HR zone 3-4a, getting into 4b by 10 min. I increased my effort and grazed 5a, but my legs were struggling. My best effort could only get me to zone 4b. I was a bit surprised, after 20 min I jogged down ez and started the second 20 min interval. Intervals 2 was similar to the first. On to the 3rd, my best effort was only able to generate HR zone 4a. My legs wouldn’t climb faster despite my coaxing.
The refreshing thing though was that I wasn't really frustrated. I was very satisfied with my effort. I could be objective about my run, break it down, and not attach any personal meaning to it. No sense of failure. Maybe dealing with traumatic news this week has my perspective shifted a bit, or maybe I'm growing. I'd like to think both. Regardless, it was a good training day.
Here's my strava link if ya wanna check it out...http://www.strava.com/activities/161655892