My training style in a nutshell:
1. I don’t stick to schedules. I find workout “schedules” to be overwhelming and frankly, stifling. When I want to run, I run. When I want to bike, I bike. On sunny weekends when Joe is at home and can watch Henry, I break away to the public pool and swim.
2. When I train, I push myself harder than the week before. I run 6 miles. I run 8 miles. I run 9-minute miles, then 8-minute miles and the occasional 7-minute mile burst. I bike 20 miles. I swim 75 laps. The only piece of gadgetry I use to track these workouts is the Nike fitness app on my iPod. The rest of the stuff I jot down in a journal. I rarely go back and analyze this data. The numbers don’t matter to me. Here’s how I gauge whether I’m making progress as an athlete: If what I’m doing feels difficult, but not like the world’s worst chore, then I’m doing OK. This is my guiding principle.
3. Just because I don’t stick to a schedule doesn’t mean I don’t train regularly. I think the reason I’m able to wing my workouts is because I do something physical every day. Even on the days I don’t do JACK, I still walk to the grocery store. I count this as activity though it usually means I’m up at night with insomnia. Another reason I think I like training: it TIRES ME OUT and helps me SLEEP.
4. I’m not a gear whore. In the running (and triathlon) industry too much money is spent on Looking The Part rather than Being The Part. Just get yourself a solid road bike, quality running shoes, a few cute tank tops and be on with it. A lot of triathletes take themselves uber seriously. I’d rather look weird and perform well than look slick and perform lousy. I’m already pedaling a strange old bicycle. Why not wear ridiculous sunglasses too? I’m not cocky enough for overpriced sports bling. Triathlons are expensive enough! The $50 Izumi Tri Suit was a splurge at HALF OFF the original price. It was an early birthday treat because I’d gotten to the point where I was too embarrassed to compete in a $20 swimsuit from TJ Maxx.
5. I wonder what the neurosis is behind this little strategy: each time I embark on a run, I set the distance on my Nike app to 5K. My intentions are never to run a 5K. I always exceed this distance by at least double. I’d rather set out to run a 5K and surpass my goal, than commit to a 10K and achieve my goal. I don’t know if this is because I set low standards for myself, or because I like to overachieve. It’s probably a little of both.
6. No matter how hard or often I train, I cannot stop eating sweets. In fact, I like to inhale a couple frozen peanut butter cups right before a run. It fuels my turbo boosters.