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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The big kickoff...and the big explosion

This weekend marked the start of my training specific build to Racine 70.3. I have been eagerly anticpating this weekend as I am trying many new things this year, including a training plan that I am writing completely on my own. I decided to start the training off with a smashfest of a weekend. It was 3 days of "throw-down" training where I upped the volume and intensity a bit to get myself ready for the 3 hard blocks of training ahead.

Saturday's plan was simple, it called for a ride of three hours all done in the big ring. I am really experimenting with my long rides this year to gauge what works best for me so a ride in the big ring specifically was the first test. I was eager to get out with temps hovering over 50 degrees and sunshine soon awaiting me. I started off with a quick warm-up, where yes I recieved a flat tire. A quick fix and I was set to get back in the saddle, however, I noticed a small error. I installed the tube incorrectly and now the sidewalls of the tire where bulging out of the rim by the smallest of margins. In my first mistake of the day I decided to go with it and worry later. The first hour went by fast, I was feeling good, pushing a good pace all while having plenty of energy. As the first hour passed I hit the lap button on my Garmin and started hour 2. I was in the small town of Bangor and decided to check out some new roads north of town. Turned onto a 2 lane highway (mistake 2) that I soon realized was not fit for bikes. Just as I was getting ready to turn around the sound of a shotgun was heard and I realized that not only did my tube blow, but my tire as well. Now I was stranded 30-40 miles from home, with not the most certain idea of where I was. A quick call to quick had me realize she was at work and unavaible for pick-up. Then it it me, I have yet to enter many of the people phone numbers whom I have recently met here in La Crosse. With no one to call for help I was now hitch hiking home. I soon became resourceful and was able to get a ride from a co-worker that was sent off to pick me up. The ride was over for the day halfway through and I was a bit bummed. Still though I got some miles in and felt great about it.

Sunday was an easier session but with higher intensity. Without a new tire I decided to put my bike on the trainer and ride the hour inside. I didn't do the TT that was assigned, but rather I tried to managed a solid effort build over the hour on the bike. As soon as the ride was over I jumped into my runners for a 5k off the bike. The plan as to run at 8:30 pace, slightly slower then what I want at Racine, but my legs felt great and I was able to push the pace a little harder while keeping my heart rate in check.

Monday was the real test, 11 miles of running off the two previous days. I am taking a new approach to long runs this year, by splitting them into 2, with the first being about 75-80% of the distance and adding in some intensity. Eight miles in the morning running went well, with every other mile at HM pace felt effortless mostly. The second run at night and easy 5k felt the opposite and hurt from the first step to the last. I blame this however, on me and Kate's afternoon at the tennis court and the lateral movement and pounding my kness and ankles took. After all last week when I did the same workout with less recovery time inbetween I felt much better and ran virtually the same time. Oh and there was an easy swim earlier in the day that had me focusing on drills that seemed to be a breeze.

Now with my first big weekend of training behind me I feel just a little more confident in myself and happy that I am starting to get more miles in on the bike and running.


Friday, April 22, 2011

It All Starts Tomorrow!

Well we are over and done with the off-season, out-season, base training, and everything else you can come up with that fills the stretch between the final race of 2010 and the first day of specific training in 2011. Tomorrow is the start of my 12 week build to Racine that will include 3 heavy blocks of training. This is a completely new way that I will be training this year as each block will utilize the standard 4 week rotation, but instead I will go on a 23:5 ratio. I am doing this for a couple reasons. First training for a HIM is not as hard volume wise on the body so I don't think I will need as much recovery and secondly 7 days is just too much time to recover, so I am doing 5 days instead and I will get almost a full week more out of my training.

Last year when I started my training for IMWI I really did the training by "the seat of my pants" and "on the fly". Every week I tried to write down a "weekly" plan, but I never wrote in key workouts and everything seemed to be constantly changed around due to my work schedule and the constant changes it had. One year later, I am at a more stable hourly job and am wiser in my approach to training. I am writing this program completely on my own and adapting to my needs, what I believe will work, and they way I can fit in my workouts. After Racine I will be able to say either this worked very well, or it failed and I will be back at the drawing board. These are a lot of eggs to be be putting in one basket, but at the same time each I will review and tweak my schedule as needed.

Below is a look at my first week of training and what I will be following for the first 3 weeks. I am adding in a lot more intensity into my biking this year, hoping to be much more fit on the bike and stronger when I get off the bike as well. I will start with doing a brick a week, but I intend on incorporating at least 2 bricks per week. Finally another big change that I am doing is the structure of my long rides and runs. At least building into Racine I won't be doing any 100+ mile rides, but instead I will have the traditional Saturday morning rides of anywhere between 3-4 hours, or 60-80 miles. Sunday will be another bike day with a short brick that will follow, and finally Monday will be the day of the long run. I am dividing up my long run this year into 2 runs each time with the first run being about 75% of the total distance. The two main reasons for this is that I can now recover faster, and also I plan to add some harder efforts on the first run as well. Swimming should be nothing special besides 4 swims a week, with Friday being a swim only day and doing my olympic set of 8x200's and eventually switching to 4x400's at the same pace. This is all new and a different approach to training, but the only way it can work is if I am consistant with each day. The way that I have planned this schedule is for many of the sessions to work off each other, especially Saturday-Monday.

Saturday: Long ride (3 hours, big ring only)
Sunday: 60 min TT/T-Run 3-4 mi (8:30 pace)
Monday: Swim drills/Long Run 11 mi (First run every other mi at HM pace, second run easy)
Tuesday: Swim distance set/Bike high cadance ride
Wednesday: Swim/Tempo Run 6 mi
Thursday: Bike Intervals 90 min/Easy run
Friday: Swim only day (Olympic set 8x200's)

This is the plan in a nutshell, now we just need the weather to turn and were are set for a great 12 weeks of training!


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Quick Check In

Well, training hours have picked up a bit, and life has as well. I have been meaning to get on here for awhile, but have just not found the time yet. A lot has changed in the past month so I will just give a quick little update.

First and foremost I finally visited the doctor to get my hear checked out. I have been having problems with a rapid acceleration in my HR which has been followed by a shortness of breath as well. This always happened very randomly and without any warning signals. After three trips to the doctor for testing and questioning it was believed that I may have Atrial Fibrilation, but in fact, my heart could not be any more healthy. A good sign and some peace of mind. I will talk about this more in the upcoming days when I have some time.

As mentioned before I decided to not race the half-marathon in Oshkosh, simply because finanicially it was not smart. So the plan was to run 13.1 here in La Crosse on my own, with Kate in tow on her bike. This is supposed to go down on Saturday, but since I had to take some time off from running with the situation mentioned above I have not been able to get in the run training in that I wanted. I am thinking about scraping the whole idea of an early season HM, but am leaving the option open as well.

Swimming could not be going any better. Just the other day I passed my swim distance total from last year, this year I did it in early April. Because of this I am very excited about where I am in the water, and I am hoping for some big results to follow. Leading the race into T1 should be happening this year!

I have also had the chance now to take my bike outside every chance I get. The terrian here is much different from Milwaukee and similiar to Madison, but more challenging. There are some actual climbs of over 500 feet on good gradients, as well as, some flat roads that are great for TT'ing. I already feel stronger and smarter on the bike compared to this time last year so I am hoping that I have putting myself in the right direction. Once I start my specific training for Racine I will start to do indoor rides this year once a week or 10 days, just to get in some good interval/threshold work without any compromise to the variables induced outside.

My first training block starts on the 23rd of April so I am going to finish this week with some high volume and then rest up a bit next week before I start to put the hurt on my body. It's good to be back in the swing of training again!