Monday, January 25, 2010

Pushing the envelope

Swim: 23,000 yards (yes, you read that right)
Bike: 55 miles
Run: 40 miles

This week was a huge, huge peak in swimming yardage.  7.5 hours training time in the pool this week.  That is ridiculous.  Two months ago I NEVER would have imagined that I was even capable of doing that, but that's what this winter's focus has really been on: improving my swim.  Culminating the week of 900+ laps in the pool was a 6000 yard workout with Scott that really tested some mental and physical strength.  It was epic.

Bike miles were low but with some intensity mixed in and I'm not really ready to start riding my bike a lot yet (it's still cold...) so that's all good.

This WAS going to be a great week in running with a really good 4x2 mile workout with Kelly on Thursday and a 13 mile trail race at the Whitewater Center on Saturday but it took an unfortunate mis-step (pun intended) at the race at about mile 9.  Here is the race report from my training log:

Started off pretty fast behind Keith, Lat and Chris and it felt a little fast so I stayed a little back of them and got into a rhythm. Lat bridged up to Mike and Keith, Chris and I stayed together until about mile 3-4. Chris stopped to tie his shoe and then I went around him and got up to Keith up a hill then decided to up the pace a little bit as I was feeling good. For the next 2-3 miles I kept a fairly strong pace and then a little after Goat hill I saw Mike and just before the Weigh Station turnoff I caught up to him. I stepped in behind him but I was worried because the pace felt a little slow every time the trail would go uphill so once we got into a clearing I went around him and picked up the pace again until I got to the last water stop. I knew Lat was around a minute in front of me and I figured he was hauling butt around Green loop so I figured I would try and just hold my effort level. Going around a left turn about 3-400 yards past the water stop I rolled my right ankle pretty hard. It hurt a lot immediately and I sort of tested it out for a little bit but decided it was not in line with my best interests to keep going - despite the fact that I was in second place... - so I walked back out to the start. The pain lessened a bit as I was walked but I was still confident I made the right decision.

I'm pretty happy about this race and where my fitness is right now. I'm excited to see how corporate cup goes. I am, however, disappointed because I felt really, really good and I didn't get to have a good result because of a simple misstep. It's been a really long time since I felt this good running hard. Did I mention how good I felt?

So it's now Monday and my ankle feels better - still tight - and runnable but I'm in no hurry.  I was very sad about the race because I'm feeling very strong right now but at least it's a positive note to an otherwise disappointing day.

This week will be a recovery week for the run (although I won't drop down much at all in mileage, just the intensity) and I'll try and keep the swimming up pretty high.  


Sunday, January 17, 2010


Swim: 17,000
Bike: 109
Run: 49

More swim run focus this week (and for many foreseeable weeks as well).  I felt a lot better running this week than I have so far this year and the week included an aerobic workout (6 x 1 mile starting at 6:11 and descending to 5:47) and a nice solid very aerobic long run (16 miles @ 137 average HR at 7:50ish pace).  Scott and I are starting to progress in our swim workouts into more stamina-focused main sets by incorporating some 200 intervals and those have been really solid.  The weather also warmed up just a bit this week so I was able to ride outside twice; once short and by myself and the other with a nice big group for a longer weekend ride. 

My early season race plans have changed a bit this week as well.  Instead of doing the half in Atlanta I will be doing the full and I will be adding the Corporate Cup Half Marathon (2 weeks pre-Atlanta) into my schedule as a tune-up.  I'm trying to make sure I focus all of my efforts this season on Louisville and not get too caught up in having a good half.  A good half will likely happen as a nice by-product of the training but I don't want to do too much intensity to prepare for races as early as New Orleans and White Lake. 

Monday, January 11, 2010

Small steps

Small steps meaning running steps.  Little bitty steps on a long, hard road to being fast again.  Well, that's assuming a lot.  Like I was fast in the first place.  That's very subjective of course.  Sometimes I probably did look pretty fast.  I'd like to think that I always look fast, but some might disagree.  My run times in triathlons is what mainly had me concerned last year.  I never felt like I performed to my potential (that's a whole different ball of wax as everybody's view of their own potential is certainly inflated) in any longer distance race.  In fact, the only race where I felt I actually ran fast was Lake Murray Sprint where, according to the finish splits, I set a PR in the 5k of 17:19.  I actually FELT fast that day.  Every other race it's been a slow jog full of suffering and bad language.  Not one more than the other; it has pretty much been a lot of both. 

So last week I began my "Run Build 1" phase of my run focus by running 45 miles and including some light fartlek-style workouts.  My workouts for the week were Tuesday, Friday and Sunday.  They entailed 10x1 minute "on," 1 minute "off;" 3x4 minutes at threshold pace with 2 minutes rest and a 15 mile long run on Sunday.  I think it's very important (for me and everyone else) to really have a large disparity in their paces between non-workout days and "quality" days.  A fartlek is one of the lightest forms of "quality" runs but it is also one of my favorites.  I probably ran somewhere around to just below 6 minute pace on my fast sections.  My long run was a hair over 8 minute pace.  That allows my body to either get in some nice aerobic speed work or some awesome aerobic endurance work.  By not going too fast on my "in between" days I make sure to keep myself fresh and ready for the next workout.

I also finally discovered my breaking point when it comes to swimming.  Over the course of 7 days (I swam each day) between the week before and this one I compiled 22,100 yards.  That's over 3,000 yards a session without a rest day.  On the 8th day I got into the pool and said "No thank you."  I had reached my mental and physical point of exhaustion; I needed a break.  So I took one!  Done and done.  The benefit of this is obviously the amount of swimming but that I also know exactly how much NOT to do!  It's fantastic!

Biking is taking a back seat until the time changes.  That's all for now.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A year in review

This last week saw some bigger bike miles but only because there was more free time since everyone was on holiday.  I didn't get in quite as much swimming as I would have wanted and similarly my running was a wee bit down from last week's but all in all it is no big deal.  Next week I'll begin to do some light running workouts such as a fartlek and a hill workout and those two things will be the name of the game until February when I really start hitting some good running workouts in the build up to the Atlanta half marathon.

Yearly totals:

Races (Distance)
Charlotte Long Course Duathlon (4mi/30mi/4mi)
New Orleans 70.3 (1.2mi/56mi/13.1mi)
National Duathlon Championship (10k/40k/5k)
Lake Murray Triathlon (750m/16mi/5k)
White Lake Half (1.2mi/56mi/13.1mi)
Festival of Flowers Triathlon (1500m/40k/dns run)
Bandits Triathlon (1500m/28mi/10k)
Beach to Battleship Ironman (2.4mi/112mi/26.2mi)

Swimming Yards:
358,316 yards, averaging 6,766 yards per week.  Roughly 120 hours of mindless lap swimming.
Biking Miles:
6,821 miles, averaging 128.7 miles per week.  Roughly 370 hours in the saddle.
Running Miles:
1358.5, averaging 25.6 miles per week.  Roughly 155 hours of pounding the pavement.

I averaged (roughly) 12 hours of training per week.  That's over the course of 52 weeks, meaning that it does not count weeks where I may not have done anything (although I don't think there was a week in 2009 where that happened...).  Same goes for running; I think I took somewhere between 4-6 weeks total off from running this year.  I sprained my ankle severely twice and after B2B I took 3 weeks off my feet to see if I could heal myself for free.

I'd love to be able to increase this by 10% or so, meaning that my total hours would go from around 670 to a little under 750.  I'm fairly sure that's something I can handle but as with all things it depends on a large number of factors.  The DEFINITE increase will be in my running miles.  I had a bad year for running and just didn't really put in enough time to change from an average runner.  Oh well, hindsight is 20/20.

Tentative 2010 Schedule (* means tentative or dependent on qualification)

1/24/2010: Charlotte Running Company Trail race (13ish miles)
2/28/2010: Charlotte Long Course Duathlon* (this will depend on the weather; I don't want a repeat of '09)
3/21/2010: ING Georgia Half Marathon (Atlanta, GA)
3/28/2010: Cool Breeze Triathlon (Huntersville, NC) Sprint
4/18/2010: Ironman New Orleans 70.3 (New Orleans, LA) Half Ironman
5/1/2010: White Lake Half I (White Lake, NC) Half Ironman
5/22/2010: Over the Mountain Triathlon (Kings Mountain, NC) International distance
6/13/2010: Whitesville YMCA Triathlon (Owensboro, KY) Sprint
8/7/2010: Stumpy Creek Triathlon (Mooresville, NC) International
8/29/2010: Ironman Louisville (Louisville, KY) Ironman
10/8-10/10/2010: Triple-T Triathlon* (White Lake, NC) Multiple
11/13/2010: Ironman Clearwater 70.3* (Clearwater, FL) Half Ironman (we'll see about this one...)

So, lots on the plate for next year.  The biggest and most important event will be Louisville.  Everything I do this year will be considering that day.  Obviously Clearwater will depend on whether or not I qualify at New Orleans and that's certainly a big 'if' but it's not life or death if I don't get in to the race.  There are other races would be happy to do (i.e. Beach to Battleship Half the next weekend...) so it's not a make or break thing.  I'd also love to get in a Fall/Winter marathon in December but again that's just something that if it works into my schedule it works into my schedule.