Despite not blogging all winter, I did plan my season out.
After a season full of 100 mile bike rides and 15+ mile runs, I’m looking forward to a season that’s a little more relaxed and that allows me to do more on a Saturday than just work out and then groan on the couch for the rest of the day.
I’m doing a string of Olympic triathlons later in the summer. My goal is to PR and go under 2:30 for the full Olympic distance (1500m swim, 40km bike, 10km run). My current PR is 2:32:59 from the Echo Triathlon last year. If I’m being honest, this goal feels like a stretch for me this year. I took a break this winter, and my fitness took a hit. When I hit that time, I was in the best endurance-shape of my life. I’m not sure I can reach that level again with the effort that I’m willing to put in this year.
But the training program is still young, and I know that all the work I did last year didn’t simply disappear over the winter. So I’m willing to give it my best shot for my three bigger races and see what happens.
Echo Triathlon (July 8, 2017)
This is the first triathlon I’m planning on doing in 2017. It’s a relatively flat course that lends itself to good times. I really do not think I’ll be in PR shape at this time, but it will be a good way to judge my current fitness level and make some adjustments for the rest of the season.
Jordanelle Triathlon (August 12, 2017)
I’ve done this race before. The run portion of this race isn’t the full 10k, so it’s not a race that will allow me to meet my goal this season of an official PR. However, I’m excited to try this course again. The last time I did this race, I cracked on the run. The website mentioned that the run course contained “maintained paths” which I took to mean flat, hard-packed dirt. What it actually meant was short, steep uphills and downhills on some soft, rugged (for this non-trail-runner) dirt paths. This year, I want to feel good about my run.
The Brineman Triathlon (September 16, 2017)
This race is new to me. It’s held up near the Great Salt Lake. The swim, however, is in some freshwater man-made lakes in a residential community. The bike course is flat (but probably windy!), and the run course is flat as well. This should be a fast course, and it’s probably my best chance at a PR.
This winter, I bought and read The Triathlete’s Training Bible by Joe Friel. I created my own training plan based on the principles (and detailed instructions!) contained in the book. I’m planning to write a review of the book eventually, but I’d like to see how this season turns out before I do so.
With a new training approach have come some new training techniques. Not surprisingly, I’m doing a few things a little differently than I have in the past.
While training for triathlons, I’ve never lifted to gain strength. I’ve done strength work, but it’s been for injury prevention with some core strength added in. Because true strength work is a suggested part of training in The Triathlete’s Training Bible, I’ve decided to give it a shot. I am confident enough in my form and my knowledge of my own limits that I am not worried about injuring myself. So I’ve been doing two 30 minute “heavy” (lololol) lifting sessions and one 15 minute injury prevention session where I do body-weight exercises to strengthen my stabilizer muscles (e.g. MYRTLs).
In the past, I’ve had a training plan that is more or less “set,” with the specific workouts for each week determined from the beginning. This time around, I set the weekly hours and the types of workouts for the week (speed skills, aerobic endurance, muscular endurance, etc.) right from the start. But each week, I assign those hours out to specific workouts. At this point, I’m not sure if it’s making me more thoughtful (“I feel like running was underrepresented last week… I should make it more of a focus this week”) or less thoughtful (“Crap, it’s Sunday night! What am I doing tomorrow? What am I doing all week?”). More to come on that as the situation progresses.
Muscular endurance and anaerobic endurance
When I was training for my Ironman, I did almost exclusively slow aerobic work. However, for shorter distances, Friel suggests doing muscular endurance and anaerobic endurance workouts (which basically amount to interval work). The idea is that, after establishing a strong aerobic base, you get your legs (or arms) used to pushing faster paces for a sustained time. Muscular endurance workouts are going to have longer, slightly less intense intervals than anaerobic endurance workouts. I plan on including these workouts in my training as suggested, but I’m a little skeptical simply because of my own strengths and weaknesses. My strength and background is in faster, shorter events, and I set my PR in a relatively short race last year after doing almost all endurance work that season. I do intend to focus a little more on endurance than Friel suggests for someone aiming to compete in Olympic-distance races, but I’ll add in the muscular and anaerobic endurance workouts as prescribed too.