I spent some time recently thinking seriously about how I’m training, in general. And I found that the truth is… I’m not. I’m just working out.
What’s the difference?
For the last six months especially, I have been the first to jump on any workout that was offered. On road, off road, even goofy stuff like running a 4 mile route that covered all of the stairs in all of the downtown parking structures (which was a good workout… btw). I have slowly been increasing my mileages in the big three, with an occasional mountain bike crash thrown in for spice. But (mostly due to finances) that’s all I have been doing.
In looking back at my training logs, I saw that I have been averaging 2200 yards for my longest swim, 50 miles plus for my long rides and 10-12 miles for my long runs. Them’s half iron distances if I ever did see ’em…! But just because I have a base that allows me to do one of the sports at a time at iron distance doesn’t mean I’m in half iron shape. In fact I’m far from it. But I realized that doing the workouts wasn’t going to get me there… If this was something I wanted to do… I needed a plan. I came to this decision on a SCORCHING hot July 4th metric century (65 miles) when I realized that even though it was 95 degrees, I got off my bike feeling REALLY good and almost put on my running shoes (but wrote that off as baked brain cells and dove for the air conditioner instead). The point was, though, that I WANTED to run. In the heat. After a 65 mile bike ride. In the heat. At a decent pace.
In the heat.
So I started digging (praise the interwebz) for some free plans. Sorry, I’m not going to pay somebody for a canned plan. If you want my money, you customize it for me. Or let me do it myself. I looked at several different plans. I noticed several things. First, most are bike heavy. Meaning more time/mileage on the bike than anything else. While I realize that the bike is the make or break event, I felt I needed more balance. Some plans only called for 2 swims a week, but they were 75 to 90 minutes each. I did the math (oh boy, me and math again). I swim the 1100 yard course at Finger Lakes in 20 minutes. Not fast, but not driftwood either. Since an half ironman swim is roughly twice that (2112 yards) I “should” finish the swim in about 40 minutes. Depending on conditions, sea monsters, etc. Why on EARTH would I want to swim a plan that called for a 75 to 90 minute CONTINUOUS swim? No thanks. Sixty minutes will be my longest swim, thank you.
So most of those plans were abandoned. But I took the structure of the plans to heart. I looked at how they weighted the long workouts and bricks and found one that made sense with a.) my personal/family/work schedule, and b.) took as much advantage as possible of current workouts our club has. I was surprised to find that they actually lined up better than I thought.
I sat down with Google Calendar (great tool for training, btw) and mapped out the 12 weeks between last Friday and my planned half Ironman, the Redman Triathlon in OKC at the end of September.
Here is how it looks:
Monday: Swim ONLY (and short, with drills)
Tuesday: Run ONLY (hilly routes)
Wednesday: Morning Swim, afternoon hill ride
Thursday: Morning run, Afternoon interval ride (short but hard, with a 1-2 mile run after)
Friday: Afternoon swim
Saturday: Long run/Short bike
Sunday: Long Bike and either a short, hard run or a swim
I have 4 swims a week on the plan to help cover days I have to travel for work and can’t swim so one of those will probably end up being a day off.
The hardest part of this will be not responding to the calls for extra rides/runs/workouts on other days and just sticking to the plan.
Day one was a success. We’ll see how it goes from here.
The other hard part will be getting better at nutrition. Drinking enough water, laying off the beer and controlling portions better. That’s the fourth sport for me. And it’s the one I’m the worst at!