28 December 2012

The little things add up. Or subtract. Depends on what you do with them.

So last night - and tonight for that matter - I found myself at the pool because I was too cool to get up early to get my swim on before work.  Neither workout was particularly painful; though I neglected to fuel properly before the swim and was ravenous by the time I got out, womp womp.  Good thing my house was stocked with chocolate oranges and Lindt chocolates from Christmas.  Lord those taste amazing when you are starving.

Some of yesterday's swim sets were hypoxic.  According to the Finis website, "hypoxic swimming is a technique used by swimmers to improve their tolerance of oxygen debt."  For someone who likes to breath every time I take a stroke with my right arm, hypoxic sets are not high on my list of things I like to do with my time.  Rather than taking a breath every second stroke, I was taking a breath every 5th stroke on the way down the pool and then every 7th stroke on the way back for a few hundred yards.  While completely doable, it was not the most pleasant feeling that whole running out of air by the 6th stroke and gasping for air on the 7th.  There came a point during the set where I thought to myself meh, who will know the difference if I just do 3/5 instead of 5/7?  I'm still in off-season mode, I don't have to do things I don't want to do.  But there comes a point where those little things I don't want to do start to add up when I skip them ALL THE TIME.  Sure, making the hypoxic set easier or not doing it at all just this once probably wouldn't have made a difference in the long run, but the danger is when you start setting precedents like that and you find yourself on a slippery slope.  Skipping it once becomes twice becomes three times becomes habit and the overall quality of the work you are doing suffers.

We all know the big things matter.  Get to the pool at least a few times a week for a solid workout.  Get on your bike when you are scheduled to.  Do that long run over the weekend.  Don't eat chocolate 24/7.  Jen told me awhile back that once you master the big things, you need to focus on the little things because that's when they start to matter that much more.  Get sufficient sleep so you can wake up in the morning and go to the pool before work.  Do that hypoxic set you hate because one day it's going to seem so much easier.  Do those flip turns because even though you don't do flip turns in open water, it's going to make the other 99% of your swimming - done in a pool - that much faster and more pleasant.  Work that bike interval hard, don't half-ass it - you're already on the bike doing the workout, might as well do it right and make it count.  Hit those intervals your coach set for you on the run, there's a reason for it and you'll become a better, faster athlete if you don't cop out.  And, for crying out loud - DO YOUR STRENGTH TRAINING.  I'm not perfect in regards to any of these aforementioned items.  Sometimes laziness gets the best of me.  In the off-season I let laziness get the best of me because your body just needs a break after a long season - but I've realized that the cop-outs can only go on for so long before they are suddenly out of control.


Jennifer Harrison said...

HA! This blog entry can start with: "Dear Caroline,"

LOL -- YES the little things... :)

Katie said...

This is exactly how I feel about HR training. EXACTLY. Also, sorry for comment-bombing you, I'm just getting caught up on your blog life :)

Caroline said...

Katie - OMG I felt this way yesterday when my Garmin (or HR, but I like to think it was my Garmin) wasn't cooperating. I know I need to wear the HR monitor and follow it, but I was pretty ticked when that meant walking during portions of my run yesterday.

Allison said...

Ugh, hypoxic sets are the worst. Which probably means I should do more of them. :)

Caroline said...

@Allison - we can do hypoxic sets together next time we run into each other at the pool!! Double the pain, double the fun?? That's how the saying goes, right?