Consistency is good. Quality consistency is better. It is easy to whinge about the less-than-a-handful of sessions I've missed recently. Looking back over the last few weeks there is a more accurate interpretation. The mileage is relatively low compared to my previous standards, but I am training 7 out of every 8 days with 9 distinct sessions each time. Going into more detail, each of those sessions has always been productive, and not simply filler junk.

How do I know training is productive?

The ultimate test is racing. It's been some time since my last race so I drop down to next levels of proof.

That proof comes from the training itself. All isn't based on time trials in the strict sense, but pace, speed, time and distance plays a significant role. What I am looking for is what others may describe as Breakthrough Sessions. I tend not to give a specific. Doing so implies they can be scheduled. Instead I find they happen when focussing on the basics of training.

What I am looking for are those sessions when I really hit what I am working toward. Examples are needed to explain.

In a previous post I talked about hitting 30x100m in the pool for the first this training stint. This is exactly one of those sessions. The times were almost irrelevant. What was more important was that I could now cover the distance. Basic endurance is one of my current limitations in swimming and this was the first session where I just continued keeping on. It highlights the start of my next level of swim fitness.

For running I haven't had such a session on the long runs, but the other day I ran 6x4:00 @ VO2 pacing. Previously these have been slow, a struggle or simply a go hard then crash session. This time was better. There was natural flow in running at speed. Yes the session was hard as it is designed to be, but I didn't have to force the pace. At the start of each repeat it was almost comfortable to flick into the right speed.

Finally cycling. Yesterday was my long ride. A few extra kilometers were added, but that wasn't the key. I've now marked out a course that in includes 2x20km flat time trials and a 7km climb in between. I've attempted this before, but just couldn't keep the power up. Yesterday I relearnt the ability to suffer. Each time trial was in the pain territory that makes you question by half way if you can make it. While it wasn't pretty I pushed through the line on each trial. The pain comes mainly from a lack of specific muscular endurance rather than any cardiovascular limitation. Surprisingly, between the time trials I was able to sustain my basic steady-aerobic pace with ease.

These are my breakthrough sessions. Where something clicks into place and you know you have achieved the next level to work from.


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