New Site Coming Soon....

Monday, February 21, 2011

Rules To Train By

A few weeks ago I posted some goals for this upcoming year in triathlon for myself. I enjoy setting goals for a couple reasons; first it is a great way to set out to try and accomplish something that previously you were not able to accomplish, and it also sets the bar higher each time that you set a said goal for yourself. My two main goals are based on times that I want to acheive in certain races this year. To beat those times, I incorporated other goals for my training that I believe will lead to the successes that I am aiming to have at those specific races. But recently I have figured that I should build my own set of rules to train by to help keep me intune with my training. These goals are almost like my own Bill of Rights, or to keep me level headed while I train. So without further adue below are the rules that I promise to abide by, follow, and keep to myself to help me reach my fullest potential in this sport.

1. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone: If you think you should ever be comfortable in a triathlon chances are you are wrong, or could be pushing a lot harder. Triathlon, no matter what distance is based heavily on discomfort and thus it should follow in your training. Last summer when I would do my long rides on the Ironman Wisconsin course, I too many times, would ride in zone 2 throughout the ride. I would never add in long intervals, or tried to push the pace. The only time I wanted my heartrate to raise above 145 was on climbs. Looking back on this, I think it was a huge mistake and something that I could have gained from tremendously if I had been willing to take myself out of my comfort zone more often. Knowing what it is like to be out of your comfort zone, how it feels, and what to expect when you pull yourself out helps you prepare mentally and physically for when that moment occurs during a race. By training out of your comfort zone you learn to be comfortable when uncomfortable. This goes in line with training no matter the weather, or any other variable that will take you out of your comfort zone. Saying I don't want to run in this heat, or ride in this rain takes you out of an uncomfortable place and puts you back into that comfortable place, what happens when it rains on race day on the bike and then heats up to 90+ degrees on the run? So my new focus is to embrace the pain more, enjoy the feeling of discomfort and learn to push through it better either in a race or in training. The more I learn to be comfortable when uncomfortable the faster I can go.

2. No Workout Can Ever Be Made Up or Rescheduled...Ever: Everyone is guilty of this, in fact it was seriously how I trained last summer and even a few times this year as well, and it just doesn't work well. The fact is, is that you are better off to move on after a missed workout then rather try to make it up after feeling guilty about it, this all goes back to consistency (one of my huge training goals for the year). By rearranging your schedule you are then changing your plans, interferring with other training, disrupting your recovery time, and neglecting your life that you have painfully tried to plan out in advance. Most athletes, myself included, after missing a workout often feel guilty about it, to the point that they/you/I try everything in their/your/my power to reschedule that workout to feel good about getting all the planned training in. But more times then not the end result is of burnout, or reschedule of training that does not make sense, an unrecovered body, or other commitments in life that remain left undone. In the case that you know your are going to miss a workout it is best to forget about it move on "out of sight, ouyt of mind", and focus yourself and the next training session upcoming. Ideally the best way to prevent any of this from happening is to write a schedule that you can follow as best as you can. For myself, I may write out a sechedule months in advance, but I only write each forth coming week detailed training no more then 10 days in advance. I plan on following this rule better then I did last year as it always seemed I was missing certain and key workouts because I was trying to makeup for a prevous session that was put off for some reason.

3. Every Workout/Session Should Have A Purpose: Just like when you go into work and ask youself "What should/will I do today?", this applies to training as well. Junk miles or more common then anything in triathlon and the best way to avoid those wasted hours spent training is to have a singular focus for each workout. The same workout, done twice, can have two completely different focuses and be succesful, but only if they have that specific focus. As long as you have something to focus on during your workout you can acheieve a lot more then if you don't. Again this is something that I am guilty of as I did it plenty of times last year, too many times I would go out and do whatever my book/plan or whatever I was following at the time told me to do, I did it because I was told and didn't understand the "why". A sprint set at the pool was simply that, I didn't think that I was trying to hold my form while my arms were exhausted at the end, or during a brick run that I wanted to run the first few miles controlled because I always go out way too fast, sometimes I would just do what I was told. This is not the way to train, adds up too many junk miles, and you fail to recognize what your key workouts are each week. Ideally, I have been told and like to follow that, each week one key workout should be finished correctly in each discipline. Meaning that those workouts should be completed in full pushing myself as hard as I can focusing on my goal for the workout. Following this rule will not only make each session more productive, but also help build upon each workout as well.

4. You Don't Need To Train For Every Race: "A" races are meant to have a full taper and recovery period after. "B" races might get a 2-3 taper at most and a day off after, these will usually only be longer races with a serious effort, and "C" races you are simply to train right through, basically a glorified training day/speed session. I am racing a lot this year (as you will see when I post my official schedule) and this is for two reasons; first I want to get as much experience as possible, and secondly, so that I can use some races as training days to work on speed. Because of this I am expanding the types of races I will do this year to everything from triathlon, duathlon, OWS, time trials, running races, criteriums, etc. I will not "train" for each race specifically, but rather use these races as training for the bigger days on the calender.

5. Smile, Have Fun!: This one is simple and should be followed by everyone, even the pros in my opinion, but it is just that, my opinion. Chrissie Wellington is a great ambassador for triathlon simply because you never see her without a smile. She gives off a great positive energy wherever she goes. In this sport with so many items to keep track of, time spent training, and money spent getting everyone people sometimes forget about the simple things in triathlon. Having a body that allows you to compete and train in this sport should be enough alone to be happy. It is not about the carbon fiber, computers, cool jerseys, post race party, etc, although those are all great perks!

So there you have it, five simple rules to train by for myself. Feel free to add these into your training and see where it gets you. The whole reason I have made these rules is to become a better triathlete in every way that I can. This list will continue to grow throughout time as I learn more about myself, my habits, and what is preventing those from growing.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Warm Weather Brings Great Training

We had our first "warm" weather weekend here in Wisconsin this past weekend. I use the term "warm" lightly because a 40 degree weekend in Wisconsin would be similar to an 80 degree weekend down south. It is always a sight to see on the first warm weekend in Wisconsin. People flock outside like vultures trying to dissassociate with their feelings of cabin fever and curtail them into the hopes that spring and summer are right around the corner. You will see people in shorts, t-shirts, and yes sandals the first few days abover freezing, even if there are 2 feet of snow currently melting that provide wet roads and sidewalks everywhere you go, but that does not stop the Wisconsin folk from soaking it up, literally.

This weekend the mercury rose to just over 48 degrees and the sun was out to play all weekend so I had my first chance to get in some real training this weekend. The weather on Saturday was ideal enough for a 2 hour interval trainer ride to be taken indoors so I was once again forced to the punishment that is long rides inside going nowhere. The set called for 6 intervals that each last 10 minutes and really tested me. Luckily I had the Badger/Ohio State basketball game on and the Badgers late rally to knock off #1 was able to motivate me and push me through those last couple of tough sets.

Sunday was a different story, the weather could not have been better. Clear skies, sunny and a high of 48 meant not only that my run was going to be warm, but I didn't have to dress like I was going on a solo hike through a winter storm. Shorts were worn, I didn' run with socks, not hat or glvoes and I was still warm! It was the perfect timing for a nice easy 8 mile run through town, where I got to explore more of this city that I am learning each and every day. Thankfully I didn't have one of those boring 3-4 mile runs, and 8 miles accidently turned into 9 as I got sidetracked by checking out some trails nearby the house. I felt great and refreshed after the run and had a chance to take the dogs out for a walk with Kate as well after so they could too, enjoy the warmth that has finally returned to Wisconsin.

The warm weather spilled into Monday and even though my training called for an hour of intervals on the trainer, I couldn't help but take the bike outside for my first ride of the year. It was also my first ride outside in La Crosse so it was time to explore some new territory. I forgot my camera at home so I was bummed I couldn't take some pictures of the new scenary that will accompany on my rides this summer, but I found some great roads that are fast, but have climbs to keep me honest as well. First ride outside meant I had to test myself and push the pace a bit as well. So I threw in some intervals and climbed a bit as fast and hard as I could. Maybe not the best strategy but it was too fun to pass up. I'll have to take some photos my next time outside to capture the beauty of the countryside here and the bluffs as well.

The forecast doesn't call for many, if any, days below freezing through the month just a couple of showers. This means one thing and one thing only, outdoor riding has returned to good ole Wisconsin for the year! See you out on the roads and trails!


Friday, February 11, 2011

You Just Gotta Put it Behind You

Were about 6 weeks into 2011 and I can say that I am happy and impressed with my training thus far this year. I have not put in any long session yet (minus one 4K swim last week) but have logged in a great deal of consistency this year, one of my main goals. This could not be more true then in the pool.

I have spent a great deal of my training hours, training to swim like a fish, and regain my swimming abilities that have eluded me for years ever since I quit swimming ever so long ago. Last year I had a rough start with my broken arm and not being able to swim until May, so this year I wanted to get a head start on things and hopefully be in the front pack all summer in every lake that I swim in. January was a great month of swimming, maybe my best yet. A solid month with good yardage, consistant workouts and getting to the pool 3-4 times a week. I also registered into my first Masters class, which, I have already felt the gains from and still look forward to another solid 2 months of class. I have found new boundaries, not distance, or time, but mentally. I have a great enjoyment and appreciation for swimming as it feels so much more natural now. Life in the water has been good until....

...Last week at my morning masters class a simple failure in my goggles left me to scramble in the lost and found of KIDS goggles to find the best "quality" pair to get me ironically through my longest set since Ironman. The kicker about this is that my goggles failed with a leak 100 yards in. So there I was, eyes bugging out like a pug trying to ignore the pain around my eyes of the goggles sucking my eyeballs out of my head, all the meanwhile putting in a good effort in the water. As soon as I got home I made it my goal to have a new pair of TYR goggles by the days end. TYR goggles are really the only googles I like, or fit me well so a manhunt resumed after class that day. Given my suddenly low resources that I have now living in La Crosse, I could not find a pair of TYR goggles. Super Bowl mania hit Wisconsin hard over the weekend and my attention was away from the water for a couple days. I was finally able to grab a pair Monday morning (and some SB championship gear as well!) and planned on being back in the water Tuesday. Too much partying left me skipping my first masters class and waiting until Thursday to get back in the pool.

Thursday morning I was back in the water with a new pair of functional goggles, smashed out a decent 2500 yards with no google failure beside the fogging that blinded me 100 yards in. Thankfully sprints were the order of the day so I can readjust when needed. Todays workout had no plan so I decided to just smash out 2K for time and see where my fitness is. A quick warmup and 100 yards into the 2K TT and my goggles were foggged up again. "Bugger I forgot to use the anti-spray again!" Long story short I ended up just doing a 500 TT and drills after, then scraping the rest of the swim with blurred vision. Disappointed in the past week I feel I have lost my momentum in the pool. I just need to remind myself one thing...

...Time to put it behind me and put in a good solid effort next week!


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Sigh of Relief

The final hurdle that I had to jump over in my recent move across the great state of Wsconsin was to secure a full/part-time job to pay for school and of course provide me with the financial means to compete in triathlon. I found this resource of money at Outback Steakhouse in Onalaska, just a couple miles from my house here in La Crosse. Outback marks my sixth job in the service industry and one that I will likely hold until I finish my bachelors degree in the next 2-3 years.

Working at Outback is unique as it seperates itself from every other restuarant that I have ever worked in simply with; it's hours. Outback is does not open during the week Monday thru Friday until 4pm. This is going to provide me with 5 days a week where I can plan my training and get all of my workouts in each day before the sun sets. It gets even better! Outback closes during the week at 10pm and on the weekends at 10:30, Sundays are even better with a closing time of 9pm. Now gone are the days where I am returning home from a nights work past midnight only having to find myself back up, and out the door at 6am to get my training in before work again that morning at 10am. Now, not only can I get my training in before the evening hits each day and have a regular routine, but I can also get the adequate rest that my body needs to recover from each days pounding.

My work schedule last year was one factor that blocked me from having a weekly, regular routine and I would usually have to train each day on the fly as my work schedule presented itself. However, with this new job I can now safely schedule any workout during the week in the morning or afternoon and know that I will be in the clear with enough time provided to clean up after work, eat, and get my butt to work. The topping on the cake with this new job oppurtunity is that I can arrive to work each day, rested, ready to work, and not dreading the typical "doubles" that I have had to work for the past handful of years.

Outback will further help me with my training philosophy of consistency this year and end the many training sessions that I missed last year due to time management. Here's to another source that will provide me with the best opportunity to reach my full potential in 2011. Oh and now that I have an income again I can start registering my hame for races this year.