Swim - 18,700 yards (5hrs, 25 mins)
Bike - 238 miles (12 hrs, 37 mins)
Run - 49.4 miles (6 hrs)
Time - 24.04 hrs
So firstly let us dive in to this astonishingly new and different weekly recap. I'm not sure how I keep coming up with creative material for these posts but my super sweet brain loves to churn it out I guess! After a weekly recap I address some questions I've received about my training.
The toughest thing for me this week was swimming. The MAC had really weird hours due to a collegiate swim meet being held at the facility almost all week-long and so consequently I was forced to swim at other pools on solo adventures, which - when you're used to swimming in a super awesome pool with other awesome people - can be a bit of a mental struggle. Consequently, my Wednesday and Thursday swims were very much a struggle to get through. Subsequently, I cheated a bit on Friday and Saturday; swimming both days instead of just Saturday so I could meet some peeps on Friday and not have to swim as long on Saturday! As a result of all this, I had a few more yards than I was "supposed" to but they weren't fun yards. Next week will be back to a normal schedule (hopefully). I see some super fun workouts on my plan and am looking forward to doing them... sort of!
One of the most fun things about the past six weeks is seeing how much stronger I've been getting on the bike. Not just through detailed, objective metrics that WKO+ and my powertap provide but just from a perception standpoint I can really tell that I'm going to be a different kind of cyclist this year. I think one of my "issues" (maybe a bit strong calling it that) last year was that I was rather one dimensional. The "left side" of my power profile (meaning short term, maximal type effort power) was nothing special. Sure I could bust out a sprint or two in a group ride and hammer for a while at a nice, upper end aerobic effort, but I couldn't repeatedly blow out 1+ minute efforts at big power levels then recover, then do it over and over again. By raising this "left side" of my power profile I'm going to make my right side a lot stronger as a result. On that note, I had some great rides this week and really got to enjoy the warm weather. I wore short sleeves and only bike shorts twice this week, which sets a new 2011 PR. 4 out of my 5 rides came Thursday through Sunday and I'm really starting to feel more durable, i.e. I can go hard on a 60 mile ride on Saturday and recover to go hard again on a 70 mile ride on Sunday.
My running volume was almost the exact same as last week, which was on purpose. There was no increase in my scheduled workouts and I ran faster/slower some days than last week so my mileage was very similar. I had good runs on my three key days (in my eyes) of Wednesday (long run), Friday (short fartlek), and Sunday (post long ride medium long run). On Sunday I was running at Mcalpine to save some wear and tear on my quads and was having no trouble averaging 6:40-6:50 pace at an "aerobic" RPE. I see no reason why I shouldn't be able to do that pace or better in my halves this year. Of course, I've thought that in the past but I think I'm actually doing the work necessary to run that fast in races. In the past I've let running lag a bit (30-35 miles/week) so me thinking I could run 1:25-1:27 was really just a pipe dream. You can't fake that in long course racing, although a lot of people (myself included) try.
Next week brings more of the same; my overall volume will likely drop a tad bit because over the next two Sundays I have two bike races so my rides won't be quite as long but I'll be running and swimming about the same.
Now, in an attempt to address the most commonly heard question with regard to my training: "Why are you training so much, so early?
1) Because to compete at an elite level, you cannot fake it in long course racing.
Now, to expound on this a little bit, my situation is different than most people. To maximize my potential by using AVAILABLE training hours, I can train a LOT and still recover effectively. Most people cannot, since they work 40+ hours a week. For them to train (regularly) 20+ hours/week would require AM/Noon/PM workouts and they consequently would dig themselves into a deep dark hole. I can get in 3+ hours a day because when I'm not working out, working, or sleeping, I can sit down and RECOVER. Yes, I'm lucky. I know that; I'm not dumb. I'm actually pretty smart but only my parents would tell you that. My situation is unique and I'm taking advantage of it.
For those of you who may ask: "Why so much so early; what are you training for?" my answer is simple: I'm training to train. Meaning that the more I train, the more I convince my body that it can handle this sort of training load, recover, and come back for more. I'm also training this much because I have early season races that are important to me. Ask yourself this: do you think Craig Alexander is piddling away at 10-12 hours a week right now? If you say yes, you are being rather ignorant. I am not Craig Alexander (dang) but the best triathletes in the world (and the ones that aren't the best but want to maximize their potential) train year round. Just because it's "early season" doesn't mean you shouldn't be putting in work!
Right now is the best time to be building up a big, solid foundation of fitness to build on later in the year once race season approaches. Too many people seem to believe that they can start really training in April or May and have effective race seasons. Obviously, depending on your schedule, that may be your only option.
2) I would be incredibly bored if I didn't train so much
Obviously, if I wasn't into triathlons I would have made a real attempt to find a career at this stage so this point is sort of moot.
So, to end my "rant," for those that think I'm going to blow up mid-season I am seriously doubtful of those claims. I predict I will be stronger than ever and raring to go because my results will be so promising.