Mexican Training Camp - Week One

I have been on the island of Cozumel for about four days now and early on day two I started to get the FOMO pangs of "Oh man, I wish I was racing". Thankfully, those have subsided as I've realized:

  1. How much better training I'm getting as I near the 25-28hr/week threshold versus one hard, all-out race-day, and
  2. I absolutely know I do not race well in the heat so it would have been pointless either way (and also admittedly C, which is that you have to sort of limit your tacos and tequila intake if you are racing... priorities)

So what am I up to on this beautiful island?!

This week has been so unlike any other so I am more than happy to share what I'm doing, training-wise. If you pop on over to Strava, you can see the actual workouts—all of which I'm sharing. Also, as an aside, this has been a great Spanish training camp in that I'm getting to practice my (very poor) Spanish speaking skills. Thank you to all of the locals who have the patience to listen to me stumble through my tenses and vocabulary—yikes! 

Day #1 (2:07hr total)

I arrived a little past 2pm and quickly built my bike to take a cruise with Amanda. My legs were dead, possibly from the flight over and possibly from Winter Bike League ride #1 of the season which had taken place the day before. 

Day #1, Workout #1: Biked 38 miles in 2:07 - nice and steady, with a few excursions and lucky timing on the way home to deal with Amanda's flat tire. Everyone pray to the flat gods that this was one and done for her on the island!!

Day #2 (3:30hr total)

Technically, I took a vacation day on Monday to give me a big day to start the training week off on the right foot. Unfortunately, clients and work always come first and so I found myself stuck with a 3hr meeting smack in the middle of prime training time. I managed to work around that and found myself doing the following: 

Day #2, Workout #1: Swim 3000 with Amanda - we hopped on the scooter Amanda had rented and made our way to the local pool, quite the hot spot with all the local triathletes. Last year we searched high and low for this pool without luck and yet this year it showed up in the athlete's guide—who knew?! Amanda and I split a lane with another US pro and her coach and since I was only there for fun, I structured my workout around everyone else. As luck would have it, it worked out nicely and I got in the following set: 2x (2x400 #1 build #2 tempo, 200 free mixing in some back), 10x100 on fast interval.

Day #2, Workout #2: Bike 48 miles in 2:38 - This ride was supposed to be closer to 3 hours but since my work call ended up running much longer than anticipated, I found myself racing the daylight and cutting the ride a tiny bit short. If I thought my watts were looking bad on day #1, this was even worse! I chalked it up to travel time and recovering from Saturday's group ride. It was nice to get in a full lap of the Cozumel island, one of many this trip!

Day #3 (4:42hr total)

Day #3, Workout #1: Run 8.4 miles in 1:05 - Minus my normal morning coffee, this was nice and cruisey and a good way to get reacquainted with the run course I don't remember from last year's race. Kept it aerobic and knocked out a nice 7:41 average pace despite the heat and humidity. 

Day #3, Workout #2: Rode 56 miles in 3:09 - Oh boy. I reset my powermeter twice during this ride, hoping and praying that it was incorrect. The legs were NOT there by any means. The good news is I've pushed the ego aside long ago and while old Maggie would have freaked out about a dismal 140w average, I was able to chalk it up to either a wonky PM reading or just a few more days of needing to acclimate the legs and/or heart to the heat. I got in a good full loop of the island and then some for some nice time in the saddle.

Day #3, Workout #3: 30-minute Sunset Swim with Amanda - I loved this! Well, once we found a spot to swim. After we tried to sneak into one of the resorts and got kicked out, we managed to find a local beach and (not so) gracefully slip down the rocks into the ocean. The swim basically consisted of me trying to chase Amanda's feet while not getting distracted by the fish beneath us. We swam against the current and back for a nice, moderate 30 minutes in the open water.

Day #4 (2:48hr total)

Day #4, Workout #1: Quick Tempo 1:50 Ride: I got up early to do this but was severely dehydrated (and so grumpy) from not drinking enough water. I delayed it, got a lot of work work done, focused on hydrating and then tried again later in the afternoon. This was supposed to be 3hr aerobic ride but I had calls to get to and work to finish up before I officially got to my holiday time-off. I only meant to do 1:30 total due to time constraints but can never gauge headwind versus tailwind and wanted to make it to Punta Sur so I pushed a little further past where I intended... whoops! As a result, the return trip home was a mad dash to try to make it back in time for my call. Legs were not happy!

Day #4, Workout #2: 7.6 miles in 58-minutes: This included a few miles warm-up, 6x30-sec fast with an easy interval between each, followed by a few miles cool-down. I started this with dead legs and easily picked it up into a nice steady pace. Very happy I was able to average 7:30s with 18-hours total in the leg from the last 7 days, 10-hours of those from this week alone (starting Monday).

Day #5 (6:02 HR total)

Day #5, Workout #1: six miles easy: so glad I got this out of the way first. I was worried my legs would not be happy as the volume added up but after a little warm-up, it got the blood flowing. The biggest thing I have learned this week is that I have to get my runs done before the bike—otherwise the chance that it's going to happen drops drastically! One of the biggest things I do differently than most triathletes is the lack of frequent runs off the bike. And interestingly enough, this seemed to work great for me last year!

Day #5, Workout #2: 2400m at the pool: Nothing special, just some 400s and 100s at a pretty easy pace. I went in without a workout since Stover had given me an OWS workout and that was maybe my biggest stumbling block. Kind of just putzed around but was a great recovery swim. 

Day #5, Workout #3: 80 miles at moderate effort: the power started to come back slightly after a few days on the struggle-bus. It was still down from normal but to be expected as my legs were feeling fatigued by this point. With dead legs, I never wanted to quit per se but a much needed coconut and Pepsi saved the day after a lull before my second loop around the island and made things much more enjoyable! The good news was I had plenty of sights to take in and other cyclists to pick off and wave to, which kept things interesting.

 

Day #6 (2:52 HR total)

Day #6, Workout #1: After failing to break into the practice swim, Amanda and I snuck into one of the local resorts to swim from their pier. 10 minutes out and 10 minutes back with a fellow female pro and her coach. I swam but was definitely dragging so spent a little more effort on checking out the fish than sticking to the feet ahead of me. 

Day #6, Workout #2: Post-swim, I came back to ride. I was only supposed to go 90-minutes but I love checking out the Wild Side so went a little long for a little bonus exploring and miles. Legs felt great on the way out... and then I died on the way back! 😂

Day #6, Workout #3: WOOF. This was supposed to be closer to 70 minutes versus the 30 I managed. Compared to so many athletes who prescribe to the "finish at all costs" mentality, I pride myself on listening to my body. After having gone through over-training myself previously I am super aware of when I'm at my limits and when to call it instead to save myself for another day instead of continuously digging a hole and resenting the workout. I cut it a wee bit short, got some time on my feet during a big week and didn't risk worsening a little niggle or burying myself on a non-critical workout. Listen to your body, people... it talks! 

Day #7 (4:25 hr total)

Day #7, Workout #1: 4.5 hours bike: Can only be described "Meh". Power was dismal but timing was perfect as I was listening to this "Real Coaching" podcast on the value of high volume training and how the intensity is not as critical. I have been listening to podcasts that run the gamut and surprisingly this was one of three times this week when the right message came at the right time that helped me "trust" the system. Thank you, universe!  

Day #8 (4:02 hr total)

Day #8, Workout #1: biking and spectating IM Cozumel in reverse - I spent more time with my hands off the hoods and clapping/cheering on athletes so effort was obviously very minimal! Still had a ton of fun riding the route in reverse and stopping to cheer and give splits for a number of athletes I knew racing. I think the randoms also enjoyed getting some cheers during the otherwise pretty desolate stretches along the backside of the island. 

Day #8, Workout #2: running and spectating the IM Cozumel course. Easy hour run, though my watch started and stopped a number of times so it was split into 3 separate files. Stopped a few times along with way to cheer again so was an interesting aerobic run with plenty of downtime. 

...

So far I am loving this training and am feeling more like myself after getting back into more traditional volume (for myself). I wish I had the availability to do this day in and day out because I feel like I am crushing it and recovery is easy as pie, versus when I am weighed down by a traditional 40-50hr/week work schedule.

Compare this laid back schedule to that to the home environment where I scramble to get workouts done before or after work and navigate shorter sleep hours to top it all off. I must say, if you ever get the opportunity to escape for a training camp, no matter how "mini" or abbreviated, I highly recommend it! 

STAY TUNED... 3 more days!