Mental Toughness Thursdays are going to be my version of Thankful Thursday or Three Things Thursday. Since Ironman training started I have found Thursday to be the toughest day of the week to train. It is my hump day in that all the training and working leading up to this day has added up and once the workout from Thursday is over then I know I am recovering for the remainder of Thursday and all day Friday.
Let’s look at today for example. The alarm went off at 2:45am and I sat up knowing I had to get to the gym for the swim. On Tuesday and Wednesday I hit snooze knowing that I was going to be riding the bike on the trainer and then running so no real need to leave the house. On my way to the gym I found myself exhausted and just willing to swim 500 yards and carry on. As I got closer I talked myself into 1,000 yards. Then standing on the pool deck I convinced myself to do the warm-up plus one set of the required training. Somewhere through the warm-up I was fully ready to do the entire swim set but slower than what was expected. I was generating more ideas and wasting more energy on how to not swim rather than just actually swimming. It was ridiculous. As the sets moved on and I saw that my times at the 100 yards were staying fairly consistent and all in the high 1:30s I was starting to smile and beginning to forget how much I did not want to swim. Once I finished with the swim set that took me over 1 hour and 10 minutes I headed to the locker room to get dressed for the ride and run to come.
As I was putting on my cycling shoes I had to convince myself to just ride at the prescribed 75-80 rpm and at an aerobic capacity and not just spin for 40 minutes and have my heart rate hover around 105bpm. I got on the bike and started pedaling and noticed my heart rate climb to 115-120bpm pretty quickly and that I was holding 75-80 rpm. As I began to find ways to distract myself I found the rationale to do the speed session on the treadmill at a not so fast pace. Who would know was my thought soon followed up by: YOU WOULD KNOW. YOU WOULD BE CHEATING YOURSELF. One thing I have always used as a mantra has been to say: Nobody will out work me. They may be faster or stronger but they won’t work as hard as I do. And so with that I went after it and stuck to a consistent cadence and prepared myself for the 1 hour run to come.
When I stepped on that treadmill I knew I had a 15 minute warm-up followed by 200s and 1000s and was prepared to suffer. I knew that my legs would hate me and that I would get a side stitch and possibly be prepared to throw-up if necessary but I’ll be damned if somebody was going to beat me at the finish line because they out worked me. I started off at a 9:30/mi pace for 15 minutes and then dropped down to 6:40s for the 200s and then when the 1000s hit I was pushing 7:30 and faster. I had recovery times of 200 meters as well as 2 minutes and just kept telling myself that I just need to hang out for 4m30s at that faster pace and then I could rest. Surely I could do anything for 4 minutes an 30 seconds (TWSS!) And when it was all said and done I felt great.
I knew I didn’t have the heart of the strength when this training session started but found a way to get it done. I willed myself to each segment and completed each task and required and now as I type this I have a smile on my face. I am smiling because Ironman is not going to go the way I envision it but by developing the mental strength today to get through this I can get through whatever comes my way on May 19th. Am I proud of the times I put in today? Yes, I am but I am sticking my chest out because of the fact that stared fear in the face and beat it.
DO YOU FIND THE DAY BEFORE YOUR REST DAY TO BE THE TOUGHEST FOR WORKING OUT?