I used to hate them, now I love them.
5:45pm we meet at Mckee Farms Park and you can feel the anticipation of the workout, everyone knows whats coming because we do it every other week. This is a staple workout for Madison Multisport athletes. If there is one workout per week that makes me a stronger, more confident athlete... it is Tuesday Bricks.
We warm up 8 miles to the park that we do our transitions from. We then rack our bikes, set up our shoes and helmets. We do this exactly how we would for our weekend races... practice makes perfect.
Cindi gives us the final instructions for the workout and then we start! It's nice always having Cindi coaching the weekly sessions. If its simple encouragement, or tip on how are transitioning, a running form tip, or even a reminder of one of our individual goals to motivate us... its always helpful.
The Brick Workout (2-3xs)
400m Run at a 10k effort. Strong but in control. We do this to elevate our heart rate as it would be coming out of the swim.
3.5 Mile Bike at Z4 (Turns into Max effort). This is when the pain begins! This is a rolling terrain with uphills, fast downhills, and flats where you can really hammer. These bike efforts usually last 8-10 minutes depending on the wind. The best wattage ive done over 8-10 minutes have been during this workout, typically it is 310-320, but this time it was 290s. Fatigue is high at the moment, but thats OK! Even when you dont feel good, you have to push!
800m Run The 1st 400m is a gradual uphill, flat, then downhill. The 1st 400 really hurts! You are always wondering why you feel slow and you never want to admit its the hill :)
Rest 3-5 minutes, start again!
How did it pan out yesterday?
JP is a new athlete on the team and he's gotten quite good. He was finally able to crack Racine *70.3 this year after Madison 70.3 didn't go as planned, he's still learning. The one thing about JP is that he is a competitor and has certainly pushed me out of my comfort level many times in practice. It can get very competitive, but we know its to make ourselves better. A good training partner can really push you but also know when to turn off the competition mode switch. JP wasn't traveling for work, so i knew with him being at the workout it would be hard.
I beat JP on the 1st one as i ran away from him on the 2nd run portion. JP evened the score on the 2nd one by dominating the bike harder than i could afford to push. By doing this he opened up 10-15 seconds that i couldn't pull back on the run portion. When we finished i was greeted with a smirk that said, "tie game". That was all the motivation i needed for the 3rd and final round.
I decided that if JP wanted to beat me on this one, i would make him work for it. The 1st run portion i decided to run much harder. This took him by surprise and he accepted the challenge. I took him out of his comfort zone with this tactic. Onto the bike i had a 5 second advantage and held it till half way before he powered past me. He needed the gap if he wanted to beat me, but i refused to let it open like before. He did not let off the gas till T2. I was pushing as hard as i possibly could to keep up. There was alot of self doubt, but I didn't let up. Coming off the bike together i was contemplating how i should run the 2nd run. Go out as hard as i could or run steady and then attack on the flat. I decided to go out as hard as i could! It turned out he had T2 issues and started the run late allowing me the win. Score 2= Steve 1=JP.
As I mentioned, every hard workout I use as an opportunity to grow. They are not just workouts, I go into them knowing the goal of the workout, what i need to work on personally and try my best to execute it.
Pushing outside of my comfort zone and trying to sit on that discomfort has been my weakness. Sure, these sessions have a GREAT physiological boost, but I use them more as a physiological practice for race day. When the going gets hard, do i quit or do i push. I failed on the 2nd one, but i recognized that and regrouped.
When I get negative or discouraged during a rough patch is the use of "power words". These words are what snaps me out of the negative chatter and keeps me focused on the task at hand. It can be a simple as "GO, GO, GO" or "PUSH, PUSH, PUSH" or "Commit, Commit, Commit". When i drift too far negative, its typically when I haven't refocused and just swallowed myself with negativity. Practicing these power words are very important for keeping yourself engaged on race day.