Mary Eggers

2016 training / General

This week in training 1/3/16

Another week accomplished!  There is nothing too exciting going on in terms  training, it’s just all aerobic base right now. Last week I outlined why I am chronicling this, what equipment I use, and more. Click here for that. Sharing has been really fun so far, I have gotten some great questions, please feel free to ask if you have any. If you can learn something through this, then I will feel really happy.

My stats this week:

  • Swim: 4:00 ( 3 practices)
  • Bike: 7:45 (7 sessions…. I did one double… ride in morning and ride in evening)
  • Run: 3:10 (5 sessions)
  • Strength: 1:00 (4 sessions, I don’t always count the minutes here!)
  • Total hours: 15:35

I also feel it important to brag that I am sleeping a shit ton. In fact, in 2016 thus far I have yet to stay up past 8:30pm! But I digress…….

On Monday I took a complete day off, which I do every few weeks. Most often rather than a day off I do a true recovery day. Most athletes miss this concept but it was one of my biggest lessons from my days at QT2. Heart rate and wattage under 100. Literally just sitting on the bike and turning the pedals. There are many good peer reviewed resources on whether active or passive recovery is best, I think it depends on the athlete and depends on the circumstance. In my case I woke up Monday after a solid night of sleep feeling like I woke up “hard”, and incredibly sore. I was so fried that the thought of swinging my leg over my top tube was daunting. I took a day of rest and bingo, Tuesday I was ready to go. While I do have scheduled recovery periods, I will go ahead and take that full day off when I need it. There is really one person on this earth who shows when I need it, and that is me.

This week was week 2 of a four week “camp” in which I am aiming to average 15-16 hours a week. Beyond that I will take a recovery week of 30-50% of the volume and return to a more structured 3/1 build/recovery or 2/1 depending, and backing the volume down to around 12 and rebuilding from there.  The reason I am doing a 4 week build is:

  • I have a month off, and can spend the time focused on recovery.
  • Everything is very aerobic and this will help boost my base, although the results of this won’t be seen until late Feb / early March (adaptation takes 6-8 weeks, and must be filtered with proper recovery and body care).

Once I get back to campus I will outline a typical day and week, on vacation it’s not a fair reflection. On vacation I swim, then bike then run, then strength. All before noon. So stay tuned for that.

I train by heart rate as a primary metric and pace / power as secondary ones. Why? It’s one of the great things I also learned at QT2. I like to train the system rather than force the pace as it allows a nice clean systematic build and adaptation. For me training dictated by power and pace has just not been as effective. I typically end up injured that way.  My HR zones are the third biggest thing I learned at QT2, click here for a description of those.

For swimming I am focusing greatly on the second part of EVF which involves the initiation of the stroke. I have two watchful and superior swim coaches who guide me through swim sets daily so I leave it all up to them. On the bike I am just riding nice and easy on Zwift. I can’t say enough about Zwift. If you are someone who really gets caught up in what you believe others perceive of you based on mph / wattages and things like that… Zwift might not be for you. I can see how it would force you into racing every single day and we all know where that ends. If you are someone who can check your ego at the door, embrace the abilities of others, not need to be the center of attention all of the time…. and like to have fun….. then Zwift would be for you. On occasion I like to go for a stage jersey, but most of the time I am happy to sit back and ride. Racing comes later. With running I am heavily focused on the lessons I learned from my amazing coaches at High Performance Training. They didn’t try to FIX my run they taught me HOW to run. While the results of those lessons won’t be evident for a while it’s been awesome to have that to focus on.

I don’t have any selfies of myself half dressed swimming, biking or running to show for myself this week. What I do have is a bunch of wet swimsuits, the same sweaty towel being used again and again, and I am sure there is black mold in my water bottle. Hard work ain’t pretty and in my world it needn’t be instagrammed for me to have worth about it. I provide my own. (disclaimer: I don’t judge those who do that. If that’s your fancy, awesome. It’s just not mine,).

I am feeling good, the soreness has already begun to subside and the temptation to push things is like the devil on my shoulder. The angel on the other shoulder says NO. I have committed to building a very strong foundation, and whether that takes me one season or three I don’t care. I have been on the rollercoaster of injury too long and I won’t go there again. No siiiiireeee-bop!

I will not compromise my plan to satisfy my ego. The process, my process is what counts to me. What I mean by that is this:

“In the chaos of sport… as in life….. process provides us a way.

It says… Okay, you’ve got to do something very difficult. Don’t focus on that. Instead break it down into pieces. Simply do what you need to do right now. And do it well. And then move on to the next thing. Follow the process and not the prize.

The road to back-to-back championships is just that, a road. And you travel along a road in steps. Excellence is a matter of steps. Excelling at this one, then that one, and then the one after that. Saban’s process is exclusively this– existing in the present, taking it one step at a time, not getting distracted by anything else. Not the other team, not the scoreboard or the crowd.

The process is about finishing. Finishing games. Finishing workouts. Finishing film sessions. Finishing drives. Finishing reps. Finishing plays. Finishing blocks. Finishing the smallest task you have in front of you and finishing it well.

Whether its pursuing the pinnacle of success in your field or simply surviving some awful or trying ordeal, the same approach works. Don’t think about the end– think about surviving. Making it from meal to meal, break to break, checkpoint to checkpoint, paycheck to paycheck, one day at a time.

And when you really get it right, even the hardest things become more manageable. Because the process is relaxing. Under its influence, we needn’t panic. Even mammoth tasks become just a series of component parts.”

~The Obstacle is the Way, by Ryan Holiday

Therefore when my ego gets the idea to go faster, to push harder, so break from the plan…. I say no. I won’t compromise what I am working for to satisfy my ego. The time will come to push hard and to dig deep. That time is not today.


The Metric Mile

Last week Luc ran the metric mile (the 1600) at a track meet. He loved it. He wasn’t feeling particularly great that day…. likely the result of a week of family and Christmas (as it should be) and I could see the angst on his face.

But he loved it anyways. His time was a 6:28, finishing him second to last for the JV boys. I point that out because the placing means nothing to him. As my father did with me at swim meets, I asked him the same two questions:

Did you have fun?

Did you give your best?

To both of those he said yes. He also could not believe that his coach cheered him on throughout the race. There are 180 kids on this team, and some of the Varsity runners are a step below college level, and the coach was cheering him on. That meant a lot to him…. and it meant a lot to me.

The 1600 might be his event.

“How do I get better?” He asked me. This is where it gets tricky as a parent. You want to guide them to improve without killing them. I know too many runners who have had hip surgeries by age 20. I know too many high school stars who run one semester in college. Too many of them are broken. But when coaches are known for high school state championship titles….. it’s easy to see that long term health isn’t a concern.

We are lucky that the coaching group here doesn’t work that way. My job as a parent is to allow the coaches to do the coaching. It’s clear they know how to develop kids who wish to improve without breaking them. They expect a lot from the kids as human beings, then as runners.

Now is also my chance to instill good habits and skills into him. I discussed with him the fact that anyone can go out and run a billion miles. That’s the easy part. I taught him about the 1% … the places where improvements really happen. The stretching, the strength work, the nutrition. The small pieces that everyone typically skips and learns when they end up on the couch with an injury. I am hoping that by teaching him the opposite way, that he will gain the improvements he’s looking for.

I don’t want him at states as a freshman. If that is the goal he seeks I want him to systematically work at it and earn it bit by bit. His college education will not depend on a scholarship….. we already have college funding covered….. he won’t ever need to run on pressure. My goal for him is to run from himself and for himself. To uncover the goals that he wants to, in a progression that shows him very clearly….. that hard things take work, hard things take time, and there is no straight line to success.

And if it’s not fun…. then it’s all meaningless.

There are so many amazing spinoffs of sports. Especially for kids like Luc. By the third meet he’s sitting with his teammates during the meet. He’s getting more comfortable getting himself to the starting line. If you have ever been to an indoor track meet, it’s three steps above a three ring circus. The onus is truly on the kids to find their way. But that’s good. I like that. It builds responsibility and accountability. If they miss their event it’s on them.

Luc has great respect for his coaches. When they speak he listens. That kind of authority is difficult to attain in this day and age. Certain people demand respect….. and certain people command respect. These coaches, command it.

The spinoffs are too many to count and even recognize. When kids fall under the right guidance in terms of coaching…. magic can happen. Add in parents who are not pressuring but supporting and guiding…. add in some work ethic…. self developed goals….. and what that translates to in life is absolutely priceless.