Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Disconnected training.

Although you may see me running, and maybe you can even sense that our lifestyles are
probably comparable... I simply am not there.
I know right, sweet movie reference.

So winter has set in, it's getting dark before a lot of us get out of work, the holidays (and the "feasting/boozing" holidays at that) are upon us and to top it off most of our races are seemingly distant and just in the back of our mind as opposed to coming at us full force. It's enough to kill the motivation of many triathletes, and I myself am not excluded.

Don't get me wrong, I love triathlon and especially the training. However, no matter how much you love something, sometimes it just feels like work... it can even derail a perfectly good training block if you let it.

Example: Yesterday

I'm jarred awake at 5a.m. by my alarm. It's time to go run. Unfortunately, my bed is terribly comfortable, I've got a couple of aches from Mondays run/swim, and logically it's just too D*#% early to be civilized. Nonetheless, I gather my composure and turn off the blaring siren. (my alarm is across the room so I have to at least get out of bed to turn it off.)

(*this is something everyone who gets early morning training sessions in should do... it's WAY too easy to just roll over and hit "off" if the alarm is beside the bed.)

Now I'm up. I really don't feel like running today for some reason. Turn on the computer and check the schedule... 50 minutes with 6x3' @ 5k pacing. Bleh, not an easy run either. Look outside... rain. Check the temperature... 22°. Wow. That's a whole list of things that suck.

- Go back to bed
- Play on the computer
- Run in the cold/rain
- Run on the dreadmill

The first two are the most appealing, but then I'll feel like crap the rest of the day, so those are out. I really am not interested in running in the pouring rain at freezing that leaves the treadmill. How I hate that thing.

Nonetheless, I make the short drive to the gym and plug myself in for my run, surrounded by the other early morning denizens of the 24hr gym, Fox News on all the TV's and the constant droning of Lil' Wayne or whatever other terrible music is on the speakers.

And so... I disconnect.

I'm Out.
When it gets right down to it, I'm not a great runner. Not a prodigy cyclist. Certainly not a fish. There are a lot of people that have a lot of talent on me. However, I've got two skills that I really excel at (and compliment each other nicely)
1.) I can suffer
2.) I can turn off pretty much everything except what I'm focused on at that exact moment.

You're probably the same way. How many times this week have you totally tuned your boss/family/friends out. What song was on the radio on your way to work this morning? What did you have for dinner yesterday? Did Santa at the mall say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?

You can tune plenty of stuff out without even thinking about it, and athletes (especially type A triathletes... not that that's you...right?) are especially good at it, yet some of the best riders I know can't ride on the trainer for 30 minutes. Why, because they are more focused on what's on the outside than what's on the inside.

I mean really... you have a 2 hour ride. In 2 hours you're going to be done either way... and you (should) be putting in 2 hours worth of work either way... so why is it you're dying to get off the bike before you're halfway done inside?
You're too focused on the wrong thing.

Soon the time has passed. I've got my run in. It wasn't the most fun thing I've ever done, but in another 30 minutes when I'm home drinking coffee...will I REALLY remember that run? Nope. But it'll be done.

So how do you train yourself to disconnect. I usually just focus on a spot on the wall and let my mind drift if I'm doing steady pace (like the treadmill or an easy ride) and if it's sets then I focus on holding a certain pace / watts / stride for the time needed. One thing you don't want to focus on is the clock. Seconds go by INFINITELY slower when you are watching them pass. Don't focus on that.

So suck it up buttercup. Go get it done.


First crash of the year this morning.

Decided to give the Planet X Fixie a maiden voyage... but being cold as heck I thought I might has well try it on my rollers.

Rollers + Fixie + First ride = well it went about as good as you could expect. My wall has a new spot in it and my elbow has a new bruise. Fortunately if that's the worst wreck of the year I'll count myself lucky :)

Bonus: Trainer workout last night
3' Tempo
2' Climbing (similar watts but low cadence)
1' spin
30" sprint

trying to hit higher watts each circuit. That will keep your mind off being on a trainer :)

As always, thanks for reading through my muddled thoughts. I appreciate it!

- Christopher Morelock


  1. I have never tried rollers, but always wanted to. I know I will crash a couple of times, but how is it different from the drainer?

    1. Hey James,
      The best way I've ever heard rollers described is "all the boredom of an indoor trainer with all the danger of riding outside."

      Joking of course :)

      It's a steep but short learning curve. 2-3 rides and you shouldn't be having too much trouble. It's very different from a trainer, besides being unsupported rollers are very "input sensitive." You put too much weight on one hand and the front will exaggerate it (and probably send you off the side haha) so it really teaches you to keep your center of gravity on the bike and be easy/comfortable/relaxed in the upper body. It'll also smooth out your pedaling if you care about that kind of stuff.

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