My next “A” race is my first century at the Hotter ‘n Hell Hundred in August followed by the Dallas stop of the Lifetime Tri Series in October, and I’m busting my ass to be prepared for the events. But what about preparing for the individual workouts? Maybe not so much.

My run hat is doing a great job keeping the table by my bed free of sweat.

My run hat is doing a great job keeping the table by my bed free of sweat.

Yep, that’s me squinting my way through this morning’s run workout. I knew I had a swim on the calendar, but I didn’t bother to look closely at the rest of the schedule until I woke up this morning. Thankfully I still had time to get the run in while it’s nice and cool out, but that meant rolling out immediately and hitting the road as soon as possible. That’s exactly what I did; grab my crap, throw it on, and hit the door running. Well, most of my crap. I put on my Garmin, but I forgot my heart rate strap. I remembered to spray on some sunscreen, but I completely spaced on snagging the new hat I bought specifically to keep sweat out of my eyes. I figured all this out about 8 minutes into my 10 minute zone 1 warmup — just far enough away from home to make it not worth turning back.

See? No sweat at all in the table's eyes.

See? No sweat at all in the table’s eyes.

This is on our front door, and it's the only reason I don't get sunburned.

This is on our front door, and it’s the only reason I don’t get sunburned.

My run zones are currently defined by pace rather than heart rate, so I didn’t have any problem completing the workout, but that HR data is a big part of the information available to my coach in TrainingPeaks to help him keep up with my progress. It also helps me interpret what I felt during the workout. But the real price I paid this morning was spending an hour with my eyes on fire. Doh.

What I need to do is step back a level and prepare for my workout at least as well as I prepare for an event. Despite all the gazillions of “get ready for your first tri” sites out there, I haven’t come across much about this online. It seems to me that pre-prepping for workouts would both prevent screw-ups like today and save precious “overhead” time.

“Overhead” time = time spent on the workout that doesn’t involve actually working out, like getting ready, driving, and cleaning up after.

For this morning’s run workout, for example, I could have laid out my run shorts and shirt, socks, shoes, Garmin, HR strap, and hat, stacked in such a way that I’d have to touch the easy-to-forget stuff (like the hat) to get at the harder-to-forget stuff (like my run shorts). It’d have taken me all of 10 minutes to do that last night. For indoor bike workouts, pre-prep should probably consist of putting the bike on the trainer with my bike shoes next to it, then laying the HR monitor across the bike seat and maybe even filling a couple of water bottles and putting them on the bike. For swim, the plan should be to print the swim workout and throw it in my swim bag with all required gear. Of course, pre-loading all the workouts into the Garmin makes sense, too. I usually do that, but sometimes forget, leaving me 10 min behind while I load the single workout in a hurry.

Best of all, this whole process thoroughly encourages the hard-to-learn concept of slowing down to go fast. Instead of rushing through finding all the right stuff, getting it in place, then flinging myself into the workout, I could ease slowly and confidently into the days effort, focusing on what I need to accomplish. This sounds like great race practice, too. I’ve been trying to do this on race day (with a good bit of success), but practice makes everything better, right?

Despite feeling like my eyes were sprayed with acid the whole time, this morning’s run workout went pretty well. After a few short Z5a intervals, it was pretty much a nice Z1 trot around the normal run path for a total of 5.68 miles. There’s just something really beautiful about running in the morning, especially when it’s 72 degrees and slightly damp.

Maybe I shouldn't hate our HOA quite so much.

Maybe I shouldn’t hate our HOA quite so much.

For about the first six months after Audra and I got into running, I’d post my runs each day on Facebook along with a bunny count. Jenni, a friend of ours from Australia, wondered what we were talking about. I managed to snap a decent pic of one today.

As sci-fi geeks and Stargate fans, we call 'em Thor bunnies. Get it?

As sci-fi geeks and Stargate fans, we call ’em Thor bunnies. Get it?