Could I be pushing harder?

Last night I had a true breakthrough on the bike: 19.1 mph average for 32 miles, followed by a 2.69-mile run.  At one point I clocked almost 30mph - the fastest I've ever gone on a bicycle without flying down a hill.

I am, unquestionably, getting stronger.

So then why am I wondering if I could be pushing even harder?

The skiers came out on the lake this morning, so we altered our swim route to avoid them and added a few hundred incidentally.  I was in a group of 3, but we were so spread out that it was difficult to tell who was near me.  I paused several times to look behind me for another swimmer, and realized simultaneously that she had passed me and that I was feeling a little tired.

Or was I?  Was I just taking it easy to take it easy?

This is actually Lake Cane,
where I used to swim
before I became part of my current
swim team
As I climbed out of the lake, the faster group had already turned around for another lap.  Since my swim next weekend is 2.5, my normal route is 1.2-1.5 miles in the open water and more in the pool when I get time.  I really needed to get in a second lap for the OW experience, since my schedule has thus far not allowed me to join them, but I shook my head and decided that it wasn't worth pushing my 2:28 pace to a <2 to try to swim another mile and change.

Or was it? Was I just being lazy?

HTFU . . . . or know your breaking point?  Which one?

I looked at the pattern of my workouts over the last few weeks ( lets you create all these great graphs from past workouts - the benefit of consistently logging), and I noticed that the weeks I don't feel good or my schedule gets crazy and I have to cut my workouts down, I am still jumping up towards the planned volume the following week.  But then the weeks just after that, I am forced to rest more, ostensibly because the increase in volume is so sharp that it tires me.  So I decided, with the last few weeks being easy, that I will not push too hard this week.

Let me tell you something.  I don't know the difference between not pushing too hard and letting myself off the hook.  There *is* a distinct difference.  I have said a million times that, at one point during my surgery recovery, when I was hypothyroid, I said to myself I'm going to feel like crap anyway, so I may as well work out.  So, since I have a different point of reference, and feeling bad is usually resolved by a workout, sometimes it's just hard for me to tell where the line is.

In the past 5 years, I have always erred on the side of caution, to the point of undertraining.  We all know our bodies best, and I know mine requires far more rest than the average tri/athlete.  But I can't help wondering sometimes - could I be pushing harder?

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