The sun on my legs

It’s been a tough training week. Tuesday was 15 mins of threshold effort, not too bad on its own to be fair. On Wednesday I rode to work & back, 80 mins on my cx bike at recovery effort followed by a 30 min strength & conditioning session when I got home.

The session I’d been fearing was on Thursday, 6 x 1km with 90 second recoveries. I decided to do this on the track at Perth Grammar School after work. 1km on the road is hard, because you don’t know exactly when the interval will be over – I judge it by time, but that depends on conditions or how I’m feeling. Whereas on the track you can measure the effort out exactly. 1km is 2.5 laps of the track or 5 x 200m.

And that’s how I got through the session, counting down in 200m chunks. The first interval was about getting into my stride. No matter how good a warm up you do, the first interval hits you hard. By the third interval, I thought there was no way I was going to be able to do all six. But you do. It’s a mental thing, and years of racing a bike have taught me how to suffer. 

So by this morning I was feeling pretty tired. Today the plan called for a 90 minute run, the first 50 at an easy pace, then the last 40 at my target half marathon pace. It was with trepidation that I headed out the door and the first couple of miles did nothing to disprove my fears. But during mile 3 the sun came out. I’ve always loved the feeling of the sun on my legs, it seems to warm the muscles – my best days on the bike were on days like this. And so, from somewhere, I tapped into a reservoir of energy. 

The 50 minutes came and went pretty quickly. My legs were feeling good as I started the last 40 minutes. With the sun on my legs, I got into a steady rhythm, and slowly but surely the minutes ticked down. Each mile was quicker than the last, with the final few minutes well below my target pace.

It’s funny, sport. Sometimes when you think it’s going to be a tough day, you find yourself almost floating through the session with ease. On other days you have what we call in cycling ‘un jour sans’ – a day without, when you just feel empty and everything is a struggle.

Thankfully, for me today was one of the good ones.


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