For nearly 12 weeks, my coach has been laying out daily training workouts for me to follow. I am 12 weeks into a training plan that, really, I have not even started. Next week marks my first “official” week of Base 1, yet it feels as though I should be in Base 3 by now. And for those of you who have no idea what Base 1, 2, 3, then Build 1, 2, finally Peak, then race actually mean…I don’t know either. Well, I kind of do, but I don’t. So much of the triathlon world is rooted in lingo to which I’ve only been briefly exposed. For instance, there’s swim lingo: overkicking and kicking in streamline, doing variables, ladder drills, ascending and descending sets. Then there’s bike lingo: single legs, fast pedals, tempos, and steady intervals. Even when you ask different people about the meaning of different lingo, you get similar, but different definitions of the lingo. I’ve resigned to accept the lingo, but not know the lingo. Lingo, lingo, lingo. Lingo.
Perhaps the biggest hurdle I’ve encountered is training with heart rate zones. It took me about 4 weeks to realize I couldn’t outsmart the heart rate monitor. (I may be a graduate student in a Doctor of Physical Therapy program, but don’t underestimate the opportunity for serious inanity). No more running or cycling balls-to-the-walls each time I mounted the saddle. No more pretending my effort ranked a 3 on a Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale of 1 to 10 when it actually scored more like a 7. No more kidding my body, my mind…or my coach. It was like keeping a food journal: I’d gingerly type all of my workout information into my training log—average heart rates included—and prepare to hear that my effort was too hard this early in the season. I needed to exert some self-control and practice patience in my training. I don’t practice patience.
So now I prepare to dominate a 20-week training plan in preparation for my 2012 season. I am not a swimmer. I am not a cyclist. I am not a runner. I am a triathlete—or maybe just aspire to be like one. My background resides primarily around running, and while I’ve made noticeable gains in my swimming technique, I still feel so far behind in my speed and consistency. The bike? I’m stuck on a trainer dying to be outside tackling hills my dad taught me to love when he first got me out on a road bike. I’m a perfectionist, and seeing so much need for growth and improvement has me sitting on the edge of my seat, worried I’m falling behind.
I realize this is exactly why I have a coach. He afforded me two hours of his time last night to answer all my questions and reassure me my progress was right on track. In all honesty, I’ve never had a coach before to guide me through the world of triathlon. So I don’t know if I’m just incredibly lucky or if this is the norm. Either way, if anyone can teach me patience, it’ll be him. By the end of 2012 I hope to confidently say that I am a triathlete. I am patiently waiting for success.