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The inability to descend – Gordo

Gordo’s latest weekly musing sparked some back and forth with Aaron (yes Sindballe’s heart rate file is nuts!) and I have included the part that I thought about the most:

March 27, 2008 Gordo Blog entry:

“…The inability to descend is a result of lack of practice (and confidence), not lack of potential. Lacking this critical ability means that the athlete is likely training one intensity zone higher than they think — all-the-time. Within most AG programs this doesn’t show as excessive fatigue — it tends to show as: (a) late race fading; (b) stagnant aerobic development (especially around AeT); and (c) an inability to really hit the toughest sessions.

Same deal on the bike — in a group situation, you can pretty much always count on a highly motivated athlete to come to the front and start riding “easy to steady” by siting on their Half Ironman wattage. I comfort myself that the draft is outstanding and it will only be a half hour or so before the pace slows down. Even with the advent of powermeters, most athletes cannot wait to show their strength.

Finishing strong is a very satisfying form of delayed gratification. We will race the way we train. Choose wisely, gordo”

I have been practicing this in my swimming, but where I’ve really stepped it up has been in my running. I did have many early morning easy runs where I was running at 8:45s or so, but the last 5 minutes I always dropped it to 8 minute pace since that is what I am hoping for at Ironman Arizona. I have spent quite a bit of time at 8 minute pace (cumulatively over last 4 months) which has made me pretty comfortable with it. I have also incorporated that into many of my bike sessions and even the longer runs. I hate fading, just like I hate walking on the run leg of a race, so I tend to make sure that I keep some in reserve for the end. As I transition from Ironman training to Olympic I will obviously adjust the paces, but I know that I’ll continue to try finish strong – in the past it has paid dividends and with a new race season ahead I know that I’ll have to be able to finish strong if I’m going to get on our age group podium. I think another part of this is having the correct attitude to wait – for me I do not encounter any team ride or team run pressures since I mostly train by myself or with Aaron – but there have been plenty of times where I’ve swam myself into a hole or realized that the pace going South on the Mississippi might have been to quick for the trip back north.

March 31, 2008 at 9:49 pm
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