Great conversation! I am also racing Williamsburg, and I have been feeling more fatigued lately. There are a number of factors involved including the end of school (as a teacher), a different sleep schedule (why get up at 5:00 if I don’t have to?), and completing my workouts later in the morning to acclimate to the humidity. But, I also agree with Juan that 18 weeks of training is mentally and physically tiring. Kuddos to those of you who do this working towards 140.6 races!
My threshold re-tests came last week, right in the craziness that is the end of a school year. My bike test was not a win- I didn’t see any improvement in my threshold. Granted, I was exhausted going into the test, 2 days before the end of school, so maybe it was a fluke. But, I am ok with just keeping my HR zones on the bike as they have been and continuing to focus on nutrition and cadence so I feel good going into the run. Similar to Juan, I have settled into what race pace is for me, and I am ok with it being a bit slower speed-wise than what my arbitrary goals were when I set them back in February. How has this translated into the long rides recently? Well, I realize that I need time to warm up, so I am going to be generous with myself on race day and allow for that just like I do on my long Saturday rides. And if I can’t stay in zone 3 for the remainder of the time even after warming up? I am going to allow for that so I save my legs and focus on feeling good. (Note: I am still crossing my fingers for a faster ride on the Williamsburg “hills” compared to riding out MacArthur to Potomac and beyond). Overall, I know I have really improved in endurance (cause for celebration!), even without significant speed gains. I also freely admit that I didn’t push myself enough on the bike all spring, so it doesn’t seem realistic to hope for speed gains at this point. I declare that a goal for my next training cycle.
I have seen gains in my run over the past few month, which I am thrilled about. Adjusting to the new HR zones after last-week’s threshold test has felt really natural, which I think means that I did a decent job staying within the correct zones (even when it felt really slow) during training. The heat and humidity are a factor, but I have been focusing on hydration & salt intake which has really helped.
Overall, as I head into the home stretch I am tired yet really excited. Part of me is ready for this to be over, although I am not sure what I will do without a training calendar.
I realized a month or so ago that for me, the “destination” is not the race itself. Rather, it is about committing to something I never thought I would be able to do, practicing self-compassion when it is hard or when a workout does not go as I had hoped, and celebrating every small gain. I can do so much more now than I ever thought I would be able to do, so no matter what happens on the 9th (flat tire? thunderstorm= cancelled swim? 110 heat? DNF?) I can claim success. The destination, for me, is actually the journey itself.