Monday, January 14, 2013

EN Outseason Training Report, Week 1

Joe has asked that I blog about my experiences with the Endurance Nation Outseason Training Plan, so here it goes…

I must start with four truths:

1.     I am a creature of habit!  I eat the same thing for breakfast every morning (except on race mornings, of course).  I vary my workouts very little and I like my routines.  I used to do my long runs on Mondays, but recently switched to Sundays just for logistical reasons.  Wednesdays and Saturdays were group ride days, etc.  When I run outside, I run the same routes.  If you need anything from a quick and easy three mile to a more challenging 18-miler, I’m your girl.
2.     Try as I might, I don’t always listen to my darling spouse who is so much more knowledgeable about most things, not just training stuff.  If he says do three miles, I do four.  I am stubborn, and my bull-headedness gets in the way sometimes, well, if I’m being honest, a lot of times.
3.     I do not like rest days.  I’m like a caged cat on rest days – restless, cranky, and antsy.  I am NOT a fun person to be around.  I know this, but I don’t know what to do to combat it other than throw myself into whatever else I can scrounge up to do on rest days, even if that means <gasp!> cleaning the toilets and floors.  Logically, I know my body needs to rest, heal and recharge, but for someone with a bit of AD/HD it’s a difficult thing to do.
4.     I do not possess raw talent.  I work for all that I achieve.  And, while I don’t work as hard as I did when I was younger, I still work.  I am willing to push myself only so far though.  I often joke that I’m okay with my B-status.

When people find out that Joe is a 4X Ironman, they invariably ask if I’m going to do one as well.  “Nope” I tell them.  “I only do half-Ironman because I’m only half-assed”.  I’m just not willing to put in the necessary time/training to complete a full Ironman.  

I’ve run two full marathons to prove to myself that I can, but I don’t fancy doing anymore.  I’ve met my goal of running a sub-two hour half-marathon and, like Frozone in The Incredibles says, “I’m good.”  Would I like to be faster?  Sure.  Who wouldn’t, but for me, the bigger joy of racing is being out on the course with friends and cheering them on.

Joe has repeatedly tried to get me on the EN bandwagon.  He’s all about the numbers and message boards and understands the lingo.  He can compartmentalize all the info that’s on the message boards.  Me?  I kinda understand some of the lingo, but not really, and those message boards – ack!  It’s too overwhelming.  I’ve seen his email inbox; it seems like ¾ of the messages are from the EN forums.  I don’t have time to sift through all that.  I am not a browser; I like to get in and be done and move on to other things.  Again, methinks it’s that AD/HD component of my personality.  Perhaps that’s why I enjoy triathlon – I get to constantly switch sports before I get bored.

So, it was with trepidation that I agreed to try the EN Outseason Plan.  Joe swears by EN and a couple of other friends had tasted the Kool-aid and reported that it was good so, I reluctantly agreed.  Joe thought I was ready for the Intermediate OS Plan, but I wasn’t so sure.  I felt fairly confident in my running skills, but my biking skills not so much.  I am constantly training for some half-marathon or other, so biking tends to get put to the wayside.  Unlike Joe, I do not like riding solo in the slightest; it actually scares the begeepers out of me!  Seriously, I say a little prayer each time I venture out by myself and than do the same when I return home, unscathed.

I was pushing for the Beginner plan and, thanks to my insistence and the advice of Joe’s fellow ENers, that’s what I got.  Joe and I agreed that we would start the out-season with everyone else after the New Year.  I was nervous to say the least.  I wasn’t sure how it would work with my already scheduled two half-marathons, but we’d work that out when the time came.  I was also worried that I would have to back off on my running to fit in with the training schedule.  As I said, I had a lot of trepidation.  Joe will tell you that I have a teensy bit of a tendency to overreact.  Or, as he likes to say, I go from “zero to overkill…”

I am not a strong cyclist; I think I am mediocre at best.  When I’m out in front on group rides, it just means the fast kids didn’t show up that day.  I was nervous about the bike test.  Enter Trainer Road <insert trumpet fanfare here>.  OMG.  This little training tool is uber-cool!  I am such a visual person.  Numbers confuse and distract me, but lines and pretty colors can hold my interest.  Trainer Road rocks!  After only two workouts, I told Joe that it was well worth the monthly fee!  Granted, I don’t know if the proof is in the pudding yet, but as far as a training tool, I’m all for it!

So, you got it – I love the sights and sounds of Trainer Road, but let me tell you…  that bike test sucked!  Yuck!  Yuck!  Yuck!!!  I did NOT enjoy myself.  But, I did discover by examining the little graph after the fact, that, as I suspected, I tend to be stronger the longer I go.  I am not a sprinter; I am a distance person.  The same goes for my running.  The little graph showed me that I was much more inconsistent at the beginning of my workouts than I was at the end of them.

Post RunTest - shaky & winded,
but not feeling like I wanted to puke.
Thankfully, last week I needed to get back on track with my Girl Scout agendas and the like so I spent one rest day doing that.  The run test wasn’t nearly as bad as the bike test, but I did do it on the treadmill.  And, I love to run.  While I enjoy biking and swimming, I really love to run.  Even on those days when I can’t get the motivation to run, I make myself run because I know as soon as I get going, I really will enjoy myself.

The rest of the week’s workouts were manageable.  For each workout, I snuck in a little more than was required, extra interval sets on the bike, a little faster than the prescribed Z4 target pace on the runs.  I have a race on Saturday, so my last long run was this Sunday, tacked on to my main set, of course.  And then, we did a little 4-mile time trial with our local bike store.  I did all right, averaging 18.8 mph, which is actually a stellar pace for me, but my lungs were burning and I felt like I wanted to barf when I was done <always the sign of a good workout, right? >.  Darn, asthma! 

A little TT after a 12-mile run?  Sure, why not?
We'll see how I feel next week.
Joe, being Crazy Joe, did not only the TT as a single rider, but also agreed to be part of a team.  But, he did not run twelve miles in the morning, nor is he an asthmatic.  And, he’s a waaaaaay better cyclist than I am. 

Surprisingly, I’m not too sore today.  Tired, but not very sore at all.  I’ve got a case of achy knees, but that’s par for the course.   Nothing that a little ice, K-T tape, and Ibuprofen can’t fix!  And, I think with all of this crazy weather in GA, my allergies are either rearing their ugly heads or I’m at the start of a cold – cough, stuffy nose, scratchy throat, etc.  Ah well.  It just makes life interesting and helps build up my stamina, right?

So, what am I going to do today on my rest day?  Well, this week, I’m gonna help out at the soup kitchen.  I get to be in the kitchen, cooking – another something that I love to do.  What could be better?  Perhaps a quick run????     


  1. WOW Gen! I totally could've written this! I, too, was on the receiving end of a relentless husband who's practically been BATHING in the EN Kool-Aid for the past three seasons... I caved this past May and signed up (and now I am happily downing the Kool-Aid - yes, I have converted!). This is my first OutSeason... and so far I am LOVING it (Miss Ritual that I am... ). Way to get that sucky bike test out of the way!!! Keep at it!

    1. Jess,

      Joe laughed as he read your reply. Thanks for the encouraging words. We'll see how this week goes since after my workout yesterday, I spent the rest of the day in bed coughing up a lung. Today doesn't look much better. Joe keeps insisting that I can "skip" today's workout, but I feel badly in even considering it. My running clothes are sitting on the vanity, mocking me.

      Cheers, Gen =)