You may remember that several months back, I had a conversation with Liz about focusing on my bike. In my 12 years of racing triathlon, I've never had the opportunity to focus on my riding. With my limiter being the run, the thought process was "run more. run. run. run." (This was prior to me working with Liz).
I had this feeling that running more wasn't the answer. Running harder wasn't the answer. I really believed the answer was in my bike.
I, also, believe this is why the coach and athlete relationship is so important. When Liz and I talked, she said (in not so many words), "Let's do it. We're going to hit the bike."
For the next few months, that's exactly what we did. Insane high intensity workouts on the bike. Of course, I was still running, but the running was different. (It felt different to me.).
We saw my bike power EXPLODE. Even better, we saw a massive jump in my running paces.
When it was time to start 70.3 training, I was expecting to follow a very similar plan to the one I did a few years ago.
True to Liz form, she took me in a different direction. My training this time around has been completely different.....more riding....more riding with intensity. Long ride. Run off the bike. Ride longer the next day. Run off the bike again. But....no multiple long rides of +4 hours this time around. Running. Running with intensity. Some long runs. But for the most part, I've found that I'm not hammering out miles like we did a few years back. (Did I mention that I'm still swimming?)
Now when I first started seeing my peak weeks show up on my plan, I knew there was a method to her madness. I saw immediately, the difference between this time around and my last 70.3. I got SUPER PSYCHED about riding 4 times per week with gut busting 130% FTP intervals and screeching pain of bouncing between 85% and 90% FTP intervals on long rides.
For the first time ever, I started failing workouts. These workouts pushed me so far out of my comfort zone. There was a run last week where I failed to hit my zones/paces. I had a bike workout where I hung out at the low end of the ranges, feeling so tired and sore that I thought I couldn't take anymore.
Sure enough, Liz sends me an email that says, "Work the full range of the zones, Tea. You are strong enough. You CAN handle it."
It became my mantra.
"You are strong enough. You can handle it, Tea."
And I could. It has not been pretty, and I'm not done yet. For the first time, I've finished workouts in tears.....I don't know if they are tears of pain or just being so happy the workout is over. I still have a few weeks of this insanity. I know she is going to continue to push me.
I will do my best to rise to occasion, knowing that there are days that I might fail a workout here and there.
But nothing great comes out of being comfortable. Greatness comes from taking risks and being willing to fail.