Tuesday, 24 January 2012 15:04

Ironman Texas Training VLOG - Week #5

5 weeks of training are done and in the books.  My first reaction to this is:  Holy $h*t this is going by fast and will I be ready for the 140.6 come mid-May.  My second reaction is:  This has been a lot of fun and I'm learning more and more about my body everyday and that can never be taken away from me. This training has been completely different for me in terms of my mindset.  I want to get to the starting line healthy but I also know that it is going to be a long day and I have to pace myself properly.  With that I have been enjoying truly heart rate training and seeing splits drop while heart rate stays the same.  I am getting faster while exerting the same amount of energy and that means I am more efficient in my form. Before you view the video I want to let you know of two things: 1- I will be hosting a virtual race this year from February 6th through March 5th.  I am rounding up sponsors and have some great gifts for a lot of people.  This year's race will be for charity and that charity is Shape Up America.  I will be revealing details in the next few days so stay tuned for that. 2- CTER sponsors Boundless Nutrition was gracious enough to provide me with entry into the Dallas Rock N Roll Half Marathon.  I'm very excited to add this race to my schedule since I have never run it.  Karen has run it the two years it has been held and I have navigated the streets of Dallas to see her every 3 or so miles and cheer her on.  This year we will be running it together thanks to the folks at Boundless Nutrition.  When I say run together I mean it since this will be one week after 70.3 Puerto Rico and going out and trying to set a PR is not on the books for me but maybe getting Karen to a PR at this distance is. [caption id="attachment_5155" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="The pie chart makes it seem like all I did was ride my bike"]ironman_texas_triathlon_training[/caption]
Have A Great Day and Happy Training
Published in Train
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 12:44

Ironman Texas Training - Week #2 VLOG

Ironman Training Week #2 is over and done with and I'm already on day 2 of Week #3.  I am enjoying the journey but to already be into the third week is sort of scary because I am trying to truly enjoy this journey.  That being said I am starting an offline journal as well with just one word per day to sum up the day before it starts and one to sum up the day when it ends. I have always said the race is the reward for the hard work and this is going to be more miles and harder (I am assuming) than anything I have ever done and I want to have memories of all kinds. Here is the Video Blog of Week #2:
Stats for Week #2, Overall and 2012:

Week #2                                Overall For IMTX                    2011

Swim                   3.1mi (2.1hrs)                     8.9mi (5.6hrs)                          177mi Bike                     110.6mi (5.5hrs)                274.6mi (14hrs)                        4208mi Run                     35.5mi (5.1hrs)                   83.07mi (9.6hrs)                     1287mi   Thank you for watching the video blog.  Constructive criticism is always welcomed so how can I make the video blog better?
Published in Train
Monday, 26 December 2011 12:22

Ironman Texas Training - Week #1 VLOG

The first week of Ironman Texas training is in the books and it was a successful week overall.  Watch the video to see and hear what happened in the first week, what Week #2 is shaping up to look like and a few shout outs to some helpful folks.
  Week #1 Stats: Swim:  5500 yards (3.125 mi); 1.9 hours Bike: 106.8 miles; 5.5 hours Run: 26.57 miles; 3.7 hours Strength/Core:  1x   Thank you for reading and watching.
Published in Train
Friday, 23 December 2011 11:44

Planning and Executing The Ironman

ironman_texas_triathlonIronman Texas is a total of 21 weeks away and being a planner I am starting to think about how to race that day.  It may seem early to be thinking about that but the reason I am thinking about it is because I train the way that I race.  If I can eliminate as many surprises for that day as I can the more successful I will be.  This is why I will be practicing my nutrition and hydration now so there are no GI issues later.  Planning is what I do and then going out and executing that plan to the best of my ability lets me know if it was a successful day or not. I have asked a few questions of myself like:
  • Where do you position yourself for a swim you've never done before?
  • How fast do you go on the bike?
  • Do you eat in the first 3 hours and then all liquid in the last 3 hours of the bike assuming you maintain ~18mph?
  • What type of strategy do you implore for the run portion of the marathon?
I have also emailed a handful of friends who have completed the distance recently to gain some insight from them, kinda like rubbing a babies head to get younger.  I want to learn all that I can from this group of people so I will keep asking questions until I feel comfortable with my strategy for that day which will most likely be finalized sometime between today and 7am on Saturday, May 19th.  Of course I will consult with my coach about her thoughts on how to attack this race.
I also have the fortune of having friends like Jen of From Fat To Finish and KC of 140 point 6 miles of Awesome.  Both recently sent me articles from Endurance Nation about how to attack the swim and the run.  Both are great pieces but the swim made 100% sense to me and maybe because it is the first portion of the race and my biggest concern is with blowing up on the run.  I know that all Ironman are created different, just like a finger print but there are certain rules of thumb that one should follow.  I emailed that group of 140.6 finishers to get their thoughts on the article and they were all helpful.
I am now going to open up the conversation to all of you.  What are your thoughts on the swimming and running portions of an Ironman as pointed out in these tips.
Where to Line Up We’ve learned that a lot of fast people position themselves right on the buoy line. Many more people position themselves as far as possible away from these people, as far from the buoy line as they can get. As a consequence, the middle of the start line is often less crowded than you would expect.
Only Swim as Fast as Your Ability to Maintain Form The net difference between you swimming “hard” and swimming “easy” is usually only about 2-4 minutes in an 11-17 hour day. It’s just not worth it to try to make something happen. Instead, focus on swimming as smoothly and efficiently as you know how. Swim with your best possible form and only swim fast enough as your ability to maintain your form. Keep Your Head Inside the Box Maintain your focus by keeping your head inside The Box of what you can control:
  • In the Box: Head position, breathing, body rotation, catch, pull, etc. All of your form cues. These are things you CAN control, focus on these.
  • Out of the Box: Any contact you experience, the pacing of other athletes, etc. Basically anything that takes your focus away your form.
Keep Head-Lift to a Minimum We typically lift our heads to keep feet in sight as we draft (a little), or to sight on navigation buoys (a lot!). Every time you lift your head…you drop your feet/hips…and you compromise your form a bit. Here’s what to do. Running: It's Not About Pace, It's About Not Slowing Down Instead, a great Ironman marathon is simply about not slowing down. If you look at the detailed results of any Ironman event, you'll see that the splits for the majority of the field over the second half of the race are significantly slower than the first half. Usually a minute or more slower per mile. Your goal when racing isn't to find new speed, but to find a sustainable speed that you can hold across your entire day while the competition takes off too fast…and then blows up as you run steadily by. Incorporate Walking as a Strategy, Not as Failure If anyone tells you that they aren't going to walk a single step in an Ironman they are either Criag Alexander (so fit!) or a total newbie (so unaware!). Based on our experience coaching thousands of Ironman finishers through Endurance Nation, we have learned that walking is actually an important part of your overall strategy. We encourage our athletes to walk 30-45 steps at every single aid station, which is roughly once a mile. Six Miles of Conservative Pacing Is the Key to a Strong Finish In other words, if you want to have a great race, your job is to focus on slowing down over the first six miles. We recommend you aim for a target pace of approximately 30″ slower per mile for these first six miles. After that point, you can bump it up to your target run pace and go from there. Since 2008 thousands of Endurance Nation athletes have applied this 30 second per mile strategy to dozens of Ironman PR marathons. It works! Just give us three minutes (30 seconds x 6 miles) and we'll make your day. Your last 10k will thank us for sure! Have Three Physical Running Cues for Your Day Instead of following a pace into a brick wall, identify three running form cues that will allow you to maintain good form and proper pace. My personal favorites are Chin Up to promote good posture; Elbows Back to keep my stride open and Loose Fingers to reduce tension in hands, arms, shoulders and the neck area. Build A Repeatable Nutrition Schedule by Mile Marker Having a food plan is better than not having one. Just because there's a ton of free food on the course doesn't mean that your body will be able to process it all. Instead of relying on a plan based on time (i.e., a gel every 30 minutes) build these into the existing support structure on the course. Since aid stations on the run are located about every mile, use your calculator to do some fancy math. If you plan on running 8:00/miles and you need a gel around 30 minutes, then you are eating at miles 4, 8, 12, and so on. You can then fill in the other miles with water and sports drink. Be Equal Parts Mentally and Physically Ready While many Ironman competitors have hit the "wall" when running a stand alone marathon, that struggle pales in comparison to what happens at the end of the Ironman. With your body pushed beyond its limits, running on fumes of gels and sports drink, you have to find a way to will yourself to the finish line despite the pain and/or discomfort you are experiencing.

What Are Your Experiences With The Swim and Bike at the 140.6 Mile Race?

==================== And KC is not just about sending me articles to get prepared for the race, she was also my secret santa.  In addition to that she is one of the angels on my shoulder I have come to rely on during my racing.  Check out the gift that she got me and just know that I have not wiped the smile from my face yet. [caption id="attachment_4893" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Thank You KC. I am more excited about the race because of these great gifts."]secret_santa_ironman_gift[/caption]
Published in Train
[caption id="attachment_4698" align="alignright" width="272" caption="Las Vegas Marathon"]las_vegas_marathon_strip_at_night1[/caption] On December 4th I will toe the line with Emily of Run EMZ fame in an attempt to qualify for Boston.  My wife Karen, Beth of SUAR, Trish, SkibbaDoo, Jess, Beal and a whole host of others will be there as well.  This is not like any other marathon in that it starts in the evening.  The marathon starts at 4pm and if I run a Boston Qualifying time I will be done by 7:10pm.  As you can tell from this the race will start with the sun up and finish with the sun down, although I'm hoping the bright lights of the strip will make it somewhat easier on the body to think that it is still light out. Yesterday, I ran 20 miles and treated the day like race day.  I wanted to simulate what it would be like to wait all day and then run later in the evening.  I also wanted to test nutrition plans that I had read on the internet.  I wondered what would happen to me from the standpoint of the mental aspect as well as the physical aspect.  Would I be too hungry to run?  Would I be starving midway through the run?  How about when I might need to use the restroom?  So many questions to answer and I couldn't wait to get after it. In this post I am going to give you what I normally do on a long run day that takes place in the morning, what I did yesterday and what I plan on doing in my next training run for Vegas.
For my normal early morning runs I typically do the following:
1- At 8pm the night before I will eat a nut butter and jelly sandwich.
2- Wake up at 3am and have a Herbalife smoothie (~120 calories) and a cup of coffee with 20 oz of water.
3- Start running at 5am and on the run I will carry with me a 20oz water bottle that has liquified EFS liquid shot that equates to 200 calories per hour.  I drink a sip every 2 miles and it works very well for me.
4- Drink a recovery Herbalife smoothie (~240 calories) and eat a fried egg on toast ~190 calories)
For today's evening run I did the following:
1- Ate two nut butter and jelly sandwiches at 8pm the night before.
2- Woke up at 5am and had a Herbalife smoothies (~210 calories) and two cups of coffee with 20 oz of water.
3- Ate a meal at 11:15am of 2 pancakes, 1 egg, 2 slices of toast with nut butter and honey (~900 calories) with a Herbalife smoothie (~120 calories)
4- Drank about 40 oz of water through out the day.
5- Took a nap at 130p for about 45 minutes.
6- At 2:30 I drank another Herbalife smoothie (~120 calories)
7- On the ride to the run I ate a HoneyStinger waffle (160 calories) and took 3 First Endurance PreRace capsules.
8- On the run I drank my liquified EFS Liquid Shot every 2 miles.
9- Drink a recovery Herbalife smoothie (~240 calories) and eat a fried egg on toast ~190 calories)
I never felt hungry on the run but I did fell somewhat sluggish so this is what I plan to do for my next evening run:
1- Eat ONE nut butter and jelly sandwiches at 8pm the night before.
2- Wake up at 5am and had a Herbalife smoothies (~210 calories) and two cups of coffee with 20 oz of water.
3- Eat a meal at 10:00am of 2 pancakes, 1 egg, 2 slices of toast (~750 calories) with a Herbalife smoothie (~120 calories)
4- Drink about 60 oz of water through out the day.
5- Take a nap at 130p for about 45 minutes.
6- At 2:30 drink another Herbalife smoothie (~120 calories)
7- On the ride to the run I at a HoneyStinger waffle (160 calories) and took 3 First Endurance PreRace capsules.
8- On the run drink liquified EFS Liquid Shot every 2 miles.
9- Drink a recovery Herbalife smoothie (~240 calories) and eat a fried egg on toast ~190 calories)

As you can see I plan on eating an hour earlier so that my body has time to process the food before I go out on the run.  It was at the 2 hour mark that I had to use the porto-potty but up until that 2 hour mark I kept thinking about when I might have to go.  I was a battle of wills between my mind and my body on when this would occur and I think that pulled some energy from me.

In addition to making adjustments for my nutrition plan there was the situation with the time of day and the tricks on the mind.  The sun goes down much faster than it rises so that took me by surprise and played mind tricks on me.  As soon as the sun went down my pace slowed by nearly 30 seconds per mile.  It was as if the darkness pulled the energy right out of me but my legs felt great and my body was fine but mentally it zapped me and I was not prepared for that.

I would suggest that you bring a light with you or a neon bracelet or something to keep the light going so that your mind doesn't play tricks on you.  I also wore arm sleeves and they were necessary as the temps dropped about 5-6 degrees once the sun went down and the wind picked up a bit.

So I will try my new plan next weekend or maybe during the week to see what changes need to be made after that and keep going until 12/4 rolls around.

Have You Ever Run An Evening Race?  What Did You Do To Make It Successful?

Published in Train
[caption id="attachment_4735" align="alignright" width="275" caption="Crossing the finish line is a an accomplishment"]marathon_finish_chute[/caption] Today I will be heading out at 3pm to start a 22 mile training run.  I have a goal of running the 22 miles at around 8:00/mile.  Two weeks ago I ran 18 in 7:51/mi and last week I ran 20 in 8:40/mi.  The difference I believe can be answered by the fact that last week was my first attempt to go out in the late afternoon / early evening to do a long run.  The Rock and Roll Las Vegas Marathon starts at 4pm and thus why I am running later in the day. My entire training world has flipped upside down with this late start and I am having a difficult time getting used to it.  On mid-week runs I have gone out later in the day, to once again simulate the late start and my runs have not been great.  Yes, the weather here in Texas has been a little like Cybill in not wanting to figure out which season it wants to be.  For the past two days we have had Fall weather with temps in the 60s and today when I start my run the temperature will be near 75*.  It is hard to gauge my ability right now since the weather in Las Vegas in a couple of weeks will most likely be colder and less humid. As I research the topic of later evening race starts I find articles about nutrition and sleep.  Things to do during the day that keep you off your feet so as not to tire your legs.  There is quite a bit of information out there but one article that I found interesting was about the 5 biggest mistakes people make while training for a marathon.  It got me thinking about the past two weeks and what the next two weeks holds for me and I wanted to share the article with you. The article appears in Competitor.com and was written by Sabrina Grotewold.  You can read the entire article [HERE] but I am going to provide you with the bullet points and provide my thoughts on my training for this marathon:

1. Overtraining & Undertraining

I believe that I am neither over-trained or under-trained.  Since Coach has switched the plan to marathon specific training my run mileage has increased, but my bike training has decreased significantly.  During triathlon season I would have mid-week rides of 2 hours plus 1 or 2 recovery rides of an hour added to a 3 to 5 hour ride on the weekend.  Now I have a 1 hour recovery ride on the weekend and maybe a 2 hour low heart-rate ride during the week.  What has not changed is the amount of swimming and for me that is great.  I need to continue to work on my stroke but swimming provides great recovery for the legs since they are not pounding he pavement.

2. Completing Long Runs Too Fast

I have seen the research and read all the coach's stories about how training at a slower pace than race pace is what is needed to race fast.  I started my endurance career following this theory and it led me to a 4:29 marathon the first time I ran one.  The second time I ran a marathon I ran it in 3:39.  That second marathon included running long runs faster than I had previously.  Recently I ran a training half-marathon 'race' at a pace of 7:31/mi and this was only two weeks after racing 70.3 Austin.  Today I want to run at 8:00/mi which is 45 seconds slower than marathon race pace compared to the 2:00/mi slower pace most recommend.  For me it is about finding out what I can tolerate so that when I run 7:15/mi on race day my body knows what it has to do.

3. Experimenting On Race Day

We all know this and yet I read race reports about how the person tested this out or tried something new.  For me the race should be boring for you in terms of what you are going to do.  You have a race plan, you have eaten the same thing, you have worn the same gear and everything else is the same on race day as it is on your long run training days.  Today I am executing a nutrition plan to bring with me to Vegas and I plan on having December 4th be exactly the same as November 19th in terms of food.  Why would you throw all those hours of training out the window by putting on a new hat that all of a sudden itches?  Why ignore your training to test out that new flavor of GU or Gel at Mile 22?  Makes no sense to me so stick to what you know and don't change a thing. [caption id="attachment_4736" align="alignright" width="256" caption="Creating A Plan and Sticking To It Will Get You To The FInish Line"]marathon_running_pace_finish[/caption]

4. Going Out Too Fast

Just like #3 we all know #4 and yet again I read race report after race report that the person went out to fast.  Some can hang on but for the most part the race falls apart for them at the end.  For me this falls to planning.  Create a plan and stick to it.  For the Dallas Running Club Half-Marathon I ran I had a plan to run 7:45s for 5 miles, 7:30s for 5 miles and then hopefully sub-7s for the final 5k.  The first 6 miles I was around 7:35/mi then was able to drop down to 7:30/mi and when I want to run those sub-7s I was only able to get down to 7:20/mi.  Had I stuck to 7:45/mi I might have been able to get down to sub-7s, but in the end I had a plan and I stuck to it.  I did not say to myself in the first 5 miles that those 7:35/mi paces were easy and I should drop at Mile 3 down.  Instead I stayed steady and was able to lower my paces along the way.

5. Placing Too Much Emphasis On Time

I am torn on this being considered a mistake.  I have a goal of qualifying for Boston and for that I need to run a 3:10 marathon.  So am I placing too much emphasis on this goal?  I don't think so because if I don't make it I'm just one of a gazillion (yes that is a real number go google it) that didn't make the time needed and thus will fuel my fire to accomplish that goal. That being said I also understand that when people don't reach that time they consider the day a failure and unfortunately that is just not true.  Finishing a marathon is an accomplishment in itself.  There are so many variables that go into these events that are out of our control and we just have to accept what the day gives us.  Being prepared to overcome those obstacles is just as important as your finishing time.  You can take the lessons learned from that particular race and apply it to the next race because there will be one.

What Are Some Mistakes You Have Made During Training For A Marathon?

Published in Train
Sunday, 30 October 2011 11:44

I'm Doing Something Right?

repeat_training_triathlonAs humans we are creatures of habit and while change is a good thing it may not be so good when it comes to training for endurance events. If you have read this blog long enough you know that my weeks are setup the same from week to week and that I get up at the same time everyday except for Friday.  I believe by doing this I am training my body to be prepared to go and not confusing it to the point where it has no idea what is happening next.  Yes we want to confuse our muscles so that they get stronger but you confuse them through different exercises not through different start times. This week I have been doing research on trying to find an eating plan for a late in the day marathon.  On December 4th I will be running the Rock N Roll Las Vegas marathon and it starts at 4pm.  Obviously the later starting time means that I need to adjust my body clock to be ready for optimal performance at that time.  I will be doing at least one late evening run per week until race day but my biggest concern is fueling for that day.  I have all day to eat and that could throw a major monkey wrench into my plans to qualify for Boston. In case you were wondering my week usually looks like this:
  • Monday:   Recovery bike and a strong swim coupled with core/strength
  • Tuesday:   Strong swim and solid run
  • Wednesday:   Moderate Length ride and a brick run
  • Thursday:   Solid Run and an Open Water Swim
  • Friday:   OFF
  • Saturday:   Long Bike and Brick Run off the bike
  • Sunday:   Long Run
I start my days with a 3 am wake up and a smoothie breakfast, coffee and water.  I am working out by 5am and done by 7-8am each day.  This gives me nearly 24 hours of recovery before the next day.  I am never tired, nor am I hitting snooze or missing workouts.  I believe my body has adapted.  I am hoping that I can get my body to that point with only 6 weeks before Vegas.
In doing this search I came across this article on Competitor.com that gave me confidence in how I workout in terms of time of day and routine.  The title of the article is Live Like A Clock:  How A Routine Aids Performance.  The main points were:
  1. Improved Consistency:  Dedicating yourself to a routine not only acclimatize the mind and body to running hard at a certain time, but it also transforms how you think about, and schedule, your week.
  2. Adaptation=Optimization:  research has shown that when athletes exercise at the same time each day, the body responds by optimizing performance during those hours.
  3. Better Sleep Patterns:  Another benefit to running at the same time each day is better sleeping patterns.
  4. Improved Recovery:  When you fluctuate the time of day you run, you’ll often be completing runs and workouts on less than 12 hours total recovery between sessions. Our body doesn’t reset overnight, so when you run later in the evening on Sunday night and then run early Monday morning, your body is operating on limited recovery time.
  5. Healthier Eating Habits:  Finally, developing a routine leads to better eating habits and reduces the risk of bathroom breaks or cramps ruining your workouts. When you run at the same time each day, you can accurately predict when you’ll be hungry and provide yourself with healthy food choices.
I can say that my recovery from 70.3 Austin has been phenomenal.  My legs have felt so good that waiting for yesterday's 18 miler was more stressful than the taper prior to the 70.3.  Wondering how the run yesterday went?  How about 18 miles covered in 2:21:40 for a 7:51/mi pace with a heart rate in high Z2-low Z3 at 157.

Do You Train At The Same Time Everyday?

Published in Train
Saturday, 29 October 2011 11:14

Swim Sets To Get Faster

As you know by now my swim has been the hardest discipline for me to improve upon whether it was getting faster or swimming straighter.  I have truly embraced swim training though because it has been so hard.  I love the challenge of tackling something that is not easy.  I love the challenge of staring fear in the face and saying I'm going to do this and you fear are going to get out of my way. As is typically the case I search for articles and ideas and thoughts on how to improve and figure out if they will work for me.  This is a pure trial and error concept and I think this is born from the fact that I am a marketing professional.  Let's test out A and B and figure which works best.  Then we will introduce C and figure which works best.  It is all about trial and error. So when I came across this article that said you should start your swim at the front of the pack I was intrigued.  I have certainly moved from a mid-back starter to a more mid-front starter.  The difference is that I am now off to the right and after 70.3 Austin I have been wondering if that is the spot for me.  I am more confident in my ability to take a punch or have a leg grabbed and keep swimming without a heart rate escalation.  I am also much more determined to not be nice in the water and will swim over people instead of around them.  Is that nice?  No, but I have goals and those goals are to get faster and faster and faster.  In order to do that I need to swim, bike and run my race.  I apologize if I go over you but I have had it happen to me and it's part of the process. All that being said this article stumped me, not by the content but by the workout that it suggested.  The Warm-Up and Cool-Down are extremely long in my mind and the main set is short but not difficult.  Maybe I don't know what I'm talking about but I would like to get your feedback on this.  I only have 140 days until 70.3 Puerto Rico so we need to make every day count in order to beat 5:28. Here is the article from Competitor.com written by Melanie McQuaid: I am a firm believer that the first 400 yards of any Olympic or half-iron-distance swim makes or breaks your swim split. That’s because nearly everyone sprints the start and then settles into his or her relaxed race pace. The difference is that the first pack of swimmers settles into a much faster pace than the second and third packs. The trick is to settle into a pace faster than you can comfortably handle because the drafting advantage will allow you to stay there, taking advantage of the ability of the stronger swimmers. Obviously, your pack skills in open water will help you tuck yourself into a good draft, but nothing is as effective as starting fast.
Fast_Swim_StartThe first few seconds of the swim can set the pace for your entire race. Photo: Nils Nilsen
To get to the front pack you need to work on your start speed. Start speed is pure horsepower and aquatic velocity, not fitness and aerobic capacity. Many triathletes focus their energy on getting fitter so that the swim will take less energy and leave more for the bike and run. This is a good strategy to keep the swim comfortable, but it won’t get you to the front pack—unless you’re a former Olympic swimmer. Getting faster requires swimming faster with a lot of rest so that you can repeat fast swims. The following swim suggestions are main set workouts. Do a 500–1000-yard warm-up with stroke drills to set your form for the workout and get your nervous system firing. Follow the set with an easy 500–1000 yards to help you recover. In addition to making good technical improvements, these sets will improve your speed come race day.

Pure Speed Set

Purpose: Improve turnover (arm cadence), general power and speed. Kicking is particularly important for speed in non-wetsuit swims. • 8–12×25 kick: alternate medium +20 sec rest, fast +30 sec rest • 200 easy swim • 8–12×25 swim: alternate medium +20 sec rest, fast +30 sec rest

What Do You Think Of This Swim Set?

What Is Your Favorite Swim Set?

Published in Train
Wednesday, 26 October 2011 11:04

Offseason? Is that what I'm In?

triathlon_offseason_training_ROIWith my last triathlon of the season having been completed on Sunday at Austin 70.3 I started thinking about what this off-season would represent for me.  What I would focus on during this stretch.  I have a half-marathon coming up in two weeks and then 4 weeks after that I am going to make my first (and possibly last) attempt at a Boston qualifying time at the Las Vegas marathon. Neither of those events is a triathlon so what do I focus on that is tri specific in this offseason.  Then it dawned on me that I don't have much of an off-season considering I am racing 70.3 Puerto Rico in March of 2012.  That race is 144 days away.  If coach decides to do a 16 week training schedule that mean I would have 112 days of training (that includes rest days.)  If you do the math that means that I would have a total of 32 days of an off-season, which will be filled with marathon training. In doing some research into off-season ideas and thoughts from other athletes I ran across an interesting article in Active.com.  The article was based on the time investment for the off-season.  As a sales rep of internet marketing and web design I am always asked about ROI (Return On Investment) and that is what this article's focus was.  It spoke to me from a business perspective.  Allow me to pause for a moment to say this is how I decide whether or not it is worth it for me to pay for a service. For example, I could mow my own lawn.  I could go get gas for the lawn mower.  I could sharpen the blades.  I could spend time walking the mower around and then edging, raking the clippings, etc......you get the picture.  Let's say that one mowing takes me 2 hours.  So now this is where my MBA comes in.  If I were to get paid $40/hour then the cost for me to mow my own lawn starts at $80 per mow.  Let's not forget the cost of gas and oil, etc but we will leave that out of this equation. I pay a mowing service $25 per visit.  So for the same $80 I can get 3 mows from the service and not have to worry about anything.  That is a great ROI on my time.  From an age grouper standpoint we need to calculate the ROI of a workout and this article did a great job at breaking it down. The article pointed out three investment principles and they were: Time Investment Principle #1: Any discussion of how to train must begin with a discussion of how much time you have available to train.
Time Investment Principle #2: What is your return on investment (ROI) on race day for every training session (and dollar) invested?
offseason_triathlon_trainingHere were the high-ROI investments:
  • 45-90 minutes of hard interval training per week on the bike
  • Well-planned tempo running intervals
  • Running frequency
  • 1-on-1 swim lessons, especially with underwater video
  • Training with pace (ie, purchasing a GPS or training on a measured run course)
  • Aero helmet
  • Training with power
  • Bike fit
The bad or low ROI investments were:
  • Weight training
  • Swimming year round
  • Race wheels, especially a rear disk
  • Easy cycling volume
  • Long, slow, distance running, to the exclusion of tempo work
Time Investment Principle #3: Training time cost is variable across seasons. I do know that my off-season will include a new bike fit to make sure that all the parts are working together from my legs to the bike.  I will also investigate training with power as I have heard Jeff and Jon speak of this often and virtually every article published today focuses on Watts and KJoules.  I need to understand this to see how it can improve my performance.

What Are Your Plans For This Off-Season?

Do You Calculate ROI for Life and for Training?

Published in Train
Monday, 10 October 2011 13:25

Emptying the gas tank

[caption id="attachment_4445" align="alignright" width="259" caption="The gas tank is nearly empty"]emptying_gas_tank_triathlon[/caption] This past weekend I had the pleasure of hanging out with Karen, Shannon (IronTexas Mommy) and Allison (Tri and Finish) at a fund-raising event that Allison was putting on in honor of her friend.  We showed up on Sunday morning to ride our bikes either 13, 26 or 39 miles but as fate would have it we finally got rain here in Texas.  As we were just sitting around and talking about all things triathlon and what is next on our agenda Shannon mentioned her concern over me burning out. In case you did not know 2012 is packed with races.  I will be racing 70.3 Puerto Rico in March, Ironman Texas in May, 70.3 Rev3 OOB Maine in August, 70.3 Austin in October and Ironman Arizona (if I can get registered) in November.  Her concern is real as it is not easy to bounce back from an Ironman, but I have also seen Greg Larsen continue to have the fire and the passion to go and race IMFL in a month if his body (and wallet I'm sure) would allow. I can say that I did start to notice a lack of motivation for writing my blog posts last week.  Then I had a long two days of training that sapped every ounce of energy from my body and more importantly from my mind.  Your body you can recover with the proper amount of rest and food and be good to go the next day.  With your mind that is not as easy to rebuild.  You have life stresses in addition to the punishment that you put your mind through as you are trudging through the 3rd hour of a 4 hour ride.  For example, yesterday I had a 2 hour and 40 minute run on the docket after having ridden for 4 hours and completed a 40 minute run brick on Saturday morning.  As I mentioned I did a 5k run for charity in the morning then when I got home I headed out for my long run.  As I started out it was drizzling and it felt good.  I got through the first 6 miles right where I wanted to be which was an 8:15/mi pace and HR at 140bpm.  The second 6 miles was a little tougher and I was closer to 8:30/mi and a 147bpm HR.  Now was the time to run 7:30/mi for 8 miles as part of the running program.  I got going and the first 2 miles were great, but then the rain started coming down harder.  Each step was heavier than the last, and my mind started wandering to the fact that I ran 30 minutes earlier so I only needed to run 2 hours 10 minutes.  I was looking for shortcuts and that is not my mentality. As I neared the 2 hour mark I told myself to finish out the loop and be done, knowing that I would take my nearly 30 minutes to finish the loop.  It was at this point that I noticed my foot just slapping the ground.  I would have begged for a heel strike at this point but nothing was happening.  The leg was dead and I could feel my body begin to slump.  I finished off and what was to be my fastest segment of the day wound up at 8:41/mi while the warm up was at 8:30/mi.  Not good in terms of executing the workout. leave_alone_tapering_triathlonI got home and I was ornery.  I was tired.  I was mad.  I was hungry.  My body had played tricks on me and just about quit.  My mind had decided it had enough and when Karen decided she wanted to talk or heaven forbid change the channel because she wasn't enjoying football I chose to pick a fight.  What was I picking a fight over?  Changing the channel?  Really?  It is not as if my mind was 100% focused on this game anyway. As the day went on and my body started to feel better I thought to myself that this is the last 'hard' week before taper begins.  I can't wait for taper to start.  Get me to do 30 minute workouts as hard as possible and then be done for the day.  I am practically begging for taper at this point.  This morning I went to the pool to swim and spoke with Greg and he agreed that taper couldn't start soon enough. I had a great swim session and it reinvigorated my mind and my body.  I was thrilled with my swim as it was hard but only lasted 45 minutes.  As soon as I was done lifting and doing core work I drove home, grabbed Karen and kissed her.  I apologized for my behavior all weekend and told her that I was just ready to race.  I have had this race in my sights for months and everything that I have been doing has led to this day.  It is less than two weeks away and I know I'm ready.  All the hard work is in the bank and come Sunday October 23 I will be making a huge withdrawal as I push my body to be faster than it has ever been.

How Do You Know When It is Time To Taper?

Does You Mood Change As You Get Closer To Race Day?

Published in Race
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