Friday, April 20, 2012


Remember limits in calculus? I barely do, but I love a math analogy!! I've been pondering the concept of personal limits lately in regard to training. Mainly because I sometimes think I need them...more on that later.

Limits can be detrimental, if they are seen as fixed and constraining, in terms of I can only swim/bike/run this fast or this long. Limits can be protective, keeping us from overtraining. Staying within limits is safer, but with lower risk comes lower reward.

I'm guessing we might each view the idea of limits differently. Do limits enslave and constrain you? Do they motivate and pose a challenge?

I tend not to think about limits which is both good and bad. The upside is I don't head into training and racing seriously wondering whether I can do something. I may have some nervousness (speedwork example) when new, more aggressive paces or intervals are called for, but I figure I'll find a way. I'm not always successful, but I don't go in thinking I won't be. This no-limits thing is probably an asset to racing.

The downside is that like probably a lot of triathletes, I am hard to limit. I continue to struggle with recovery type runs and spins. Now, as I work to build my runs up again after my six week layoff, I am not doing the best job (read: crappy job) of adhering to the gradual ramp-up process carefully laid out for me. I did pretty well for the first two weeks but then this week my excitement got the best of me and I exceeded the limits of what I should have been doing for my "aerobic runs with walk/stretch breaks". Yesterday I ran WAY too fast, closing in on a 10k pace for a 10k distance. It felt amazing, easy, and free. It was two months of pent-up fast running just pouring out. Runners know that indescribable feeling of flow. I could not chose not to contain myself.

It's also asking for trouble -- an invitation for re-injury -- and it would totally be my fault. For the first time in my three years with Coach Jim, I had a run I was ashamed to upload because I knew it was not what I should have been doing, and I was pretty upset with myself. He's working to get me healthy and back on track and I need to be firmly on board and disciplined about it.

We had some discussions this week about him establishing firm "speed limits" vs me just making better decisions. Even as adults, there can still be parts of us stuck at age 12. Oh, and just like a bad kid, I didn't upload that run last night, but waited until today when I knew he'd be on the road traveling to his half IM. I figure by the time he sees it, post race, I'll have already gotten tomorrow's brick done so maybe I can redeem myself a bit with a super conservative run. (yes he reads this blog, uhh...hi Coach Jim!!)

I am reforming starting NOW. Sticking to the plan. Growing up. Making good decisions. Setting my own limits.

Race day? Those limits are going out the window.