Sunday, December 4, 2011

Recognize Your Success

Skyline Drive Bike-n-Hike
November was a month of fun races and light training - or it was intended to be.  A 40-mile Skyline ride, 3 races, and a brick workout later and may not have been "light" but it was lighter than I had been used to coming off of half-ironman and marathon training.  Despite the light training, I felt tired and slow the first couple of weeks - understandably so, looking back at what I had just put my body through.  November became a mental training month for me - pushing through when a workout wasn't going as well as I had planned, modifying workouts and training plans, setting goals and making plans for next year, slowing down and focusing on technique, and learning to recognize each day's success.

Elite Women Start 
No matter how poorly you may perceive a workout to have gone (or be going), there is something successful that comes from it.  You may not always see your interval times creep down as you'd hoped for, you may not always feel stronger tomorrow than you did today, but you can always find a success in a completed workout.  It may be pushing yourself to get out the door during a long day when normally you would have stayed in, not losing your head if your intervals are slower than last weeks, learning and perfecting technique or a new skill, developing a new pacing strategy, hitting a new distance, or hitting new marks during intervals.  I challenge you to not only log your training but always log your biggest success from that day.  I have recently started to include my daily success in my log and it is great to see that no workout is a waste and I am always able to achieve something.

What training success did you achieve this week?

In the past I have easily fallen into the trap of having to be better tomorrow than I was today.  Such a trap is not horrible to fall into but it takes a toll on your body.  I was training in a way that from day to day I pushed my times to be faster or my body to go farther.  I have since learned that there are ways to be better tomorrow without having to train on the brink of disaster all the time.  Keeping a consistent pace, practicing form, and learning new skills have all been avenues I have used to focus my lighter training days and achieve something rather than better splits.

November Race Reports
DC Tri Turkey Trotters
DC Tri Turkey Trot 5k (11/6/11) Hains Point - 23:10 - This was a small race, put on by the club with an entry fee of 2 canned goods.  Perfect for the student loan budget :)  This race was 1 week after my marathon and the morning after a day of too much fun.  Saturday was spent riding and hiking out at Skyline Drive with some DC Tri folks and then heading back to the District to celebrate my roommates birthday.  I got a nice warm-up in pre-race by riding my bike out to Hains Point.  My race strategy was simply go out hard and hold on.  I was shooting for a time in the range of 22:05 (my 5k PR), but considering the circumstances not a bad result.

Nearly Naked Mile Crew
Nearly Naked Mile (11/12/11) - Reston Town Center - 6:40 - I do mile repeats every week.  I hit under 6:40, I thought with the crowd and fellow runners I would be able to hit 6:20ish in this race.  I raced in the Elite women's division (under 7:00/mile), but my time does not reflect an elite runner by any means.  My legs did not want to run fast at all - they were asking for marathon pace - not cool!  The race was 2ish loops including a nice tedious uphill on the back side of the loop.  The environment was fun and some great friends were out at the race as well.  I actually won my AG and scored $20 gift certificate to Potomac River Running.  Not a bad day in Reston.

Rocket City - Huntsville, AL
Huntsville Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot (11/24/11) - Huntsville, AL - 22:55 - Again, I was aiming to crack my 5k PR.  This was my first run of the year in air cold enough to burn the lungs.  My lungs and legs do not like working in the cold.  No wonder I loved south Georgia so much.  The course was a simple out-back design with a nice downhill going into the finish line.  I was surprised to only take 15 seconds off the previous 5k time, my effort felt harder than that.  Cracking my 5k PR is looking like it may make the list of things to do early next season.  My brother and lady friend also ran and we had great fans - my mom, aunt, and uncle!  It was totally different than the monstrous Detroit Turkey Trot that we had been regulars at for the previous few years.  It was a good way to earn some turkey and sweet potatoes.

Did you do any Turkey Trots or Holiday runs this year?



  2. Keep up the hard work Hols! You have come so far this year and I'm truly amazed.

  3. With the shorter distances, like 5k and the mile, I've found a good warmup run to be very helpful for being able to run a faster pace. In a 10k or a 10 mile it's possible to "warm up" the first couple miles of the race and not necessarily hurt your overall time by too much. But in the shorter races, the race is over by time you're warmed up if you try that strategy. Make sure you're really warmed up and ready to rock at the starting gun for the shorter distances! Keep up the hard work.