My Own Personal Triathlon Sufferfest Week 3
Have you ever been at the gym and seen someone scurrying back and forth between the spin bikes and the treadmills, only staying on one machine long enough to sweat prolifically and then bail for the other? Were they staring at a tablet the whole time? I hope not. Because if so you probably witnessed my first multiple bike to run workout, and I’m sure it wasn’t pretty. In fact, it was so embarrassing I’m considering buying a treadmill and letting my gym membership lapse to guarantee that I won’t have to do it again.
When taking on a training plan with a name like The Sufferfest, one does not expect to be comfortable. The physical toll is obvious but welcome for those of us who know that today’s pain will be tomorrow’s victory.
What I wasn’t quite prepared for was another type of discomfort I experienced this week. And it wasn’t only during the multiple bike to run workout.
Maybe it’s just me. Does anyone else find it embarrassing to swim drills that involve holding a kickboard upright between your thighs? What if you were in the lane next to a water polo team practice at the time? Would it be embarrassing then?
Yes, The Sufferfest demands sacrifice of both physical comfort and looking cool all the time. Good thing we know the payoff is gold.
The gym incident could have been avoided had I owned a treadmill. The multiple bike to run workout is a series of bike and run bricks so close together you barely have time to get the treadmill up to speed before you must transition to the bike again. It’d be a fine thing to do in your own home. Since I don’t own a treadmill (I generally despise running indoors), and I didn’t want to run around holding a screen up to watch (I’m not that coordinated), I had to take this show to the gym.
Although I was tempted to skip the embarrassing bike to treadmill to bike to treadmill to bike to treadmill insanity, I had a feeling it might be worth it. It was. By the end of the workout I was killing it on the treadmill and smiling broadly to my red-faced, sweaty self.
I’ve always said a triathlon is the fastest way to the worst run of your life. I’m fastest on foot, so the last part of my tri always goes something like this: “Yes! I’m in the last few miles of the ride and then I’m onto my best sport. It’s all downhill from here!” Then from the moment after I get my running shoes on: “Where the heck are my legs? Where. Are. My. Legs. UUUUUGH! Are there lead weights on my legs?! Why does the pavement feel like sand?! WHY didn’t I just do another marathon?!” About a mile into the run my legs begin to feel like my own. I sort of remember how to run again and at that point I begin overtaking anyone who passed me on the bike. I usually finish strong. It’s just the mile or two of rubber legs I worry about. So I knew I needed some brick workouts. I was impressed last week that the very first week of the plan included a brick.
When you’re a Sufferlandrian triathlete you’re not a swimmer, you’re not a cyclist, and you’re not a runner. Although you will definitely improve in all of those, ultimately you train for triathlon.
Results So Soon?
I set out on a group ride for my bike to run brick this weekend. This was the first time I experienced undeniable payoff from all the suffering. I didn’t struggle on the climbs. I even enjoyed them. I felt like I’d broken through the months of mediocre or non-existent gains from all my LSD training and I was powerful! It would’ve been worth it just to experience that ride, but I had to top it off with a run. The beginning still wasn’t glorious. I still yelled, “I HATE BRICKS!” as I waved goodbye to my cyclist friends. But it wasn’t horrible. It still felt like running through sand but without lead weights attached to my legs. And the switching point where I found my legs again happened much sooner. I had maybe half a mile of rubber legs before I found my normal stride and set in for the remainder of the run. I assume I’ll keep improving with more bricks over the next seven weeks.
My Ongoing Review
One of the best things about The Sufferfest is that it does all the planning and motivating for me. It even reminds me when to clean my bike. My bike is SO CLEAN right now! With that out of the way I’ve set a couple of new side goals for myself. One is using the foam roller more often to prevent muscle soreness from impacting my workouts the day after a hard run or bike day. What’s a few minutes of self torture on the foam roller when you’ve already suffered through a workout? The other goal is sleep. Because more sleep tonight leads to better suffering tomorrow, and victory down the road.
If you want to keep watching me suffer (that sounds kinda not cool, but whatever) click here to read our other training diaries, and if you want to keep following my (and our other writer’s) progress through The Sufferfest, be sure to subscribe to SLO Cyclist.
What Exactly Am I Doing?
There are a few options to get you started. Grab the training plan (they also have plans for cyclocross and triathlon) for $29.99 and download the official app with all of the necessary videos at your fingertips for $10 per month (a great way to go if you don’t want to hassle with downloading all of the files and copying them over to your mobile devices for easy viewing). All in all, you’ll spend about $60 to complete your training this way.
If you want to own the videos outright and download them, you can also purchase each video separately for around $12.99 each–or get them all for $199. For this particular plan, you’ll need 13 videos.
Because I have chosen to suffer publicly, the kind (wait, I don’t think that’s the right word) Minions at The Sufferfest have set me, and a couple of others in our office, up with their road and triathlon training plans as well as their full complement of videos. Thanks, Minions!