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Monday, January 26, 2009

Jan 19-25

Total: 18.5 hours
Swim: 12km
Bike: 8 hrs 54 min.
Run: 4 hrs 40 min
Maintenance (Core Strength/Stretch): 1 hr 25 min

Another solid week of training under the belt. The most important aspect of last week for me was putting in top quality run workouts. It was my biggest run volume in a single week since the ITB injury with 35.5 miles. None of this was on the asphalt and my legs sent me a little Thank-You card for looking out for them. My long run was on the trails at Harbison Forest and once again was a ton of fun.

This week is a recovery week! There is less volume and intensity with the goal of absorbing the last 8 weeks of training.

I keep second guessing my decision to race in the Open division in the series this year. I had a lot of fun last year race age group and agonizing over series points numbers and wondering if so and so would be able to catch me. This year I don't expect to be much a factor for the overall series title so there won't be a need to watch the numbers so closely. I just want to be in the fight! I know I've gotten faster in the off season, but how much? And what if everyone else has also gotten faster? Then there are those age groupers who just flat-out refuse to race Open - you know who you are :-) ... you don't want to get beaten by them, then you have to ask yourself ... should I really be racing here?

Ah, who cares??? This is not productive thinking. I want to race off the front and think I can hang with at least some of these guys so I will. And I will be better for it. I will race a faster ironman because I pushed myself hard on the short course.

Train well.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Open Streaker

I'm not one to consider myself a training "streaker" but I have a pretty good streak going. I haven't taken a day off training since November 26th and we're closing in on January 26th. I'm not sure what is the average volume per day, but I would guess that it is a little over 2 hours. Most weekdays are around 3 hours and most weekends are around 1.5 per day. Then there is the occasional day like yesterday where I log 5 hours of work (although I took a little heat for this from the coach). It's not that I haven't been given any days off ... there were 2 around Christmas and the New Year, I just opted not to take them. Rumor has it that next week is a recovery week so maybe I'll make up for it then.

The "Open" part of title refers to my decision to race in the Open division in the series this year instead of as an age grouper. The exception to this is Festival of Flowers which doesn't have an Open division because it is an Age Group Nationals qualifier, Augusta Ironman 70.3, and the Beach 2 Battleship ironman which also does not have an Open division. Hopefully I won't look like a fool for racing against the pros and insanely fast elite amateurs. I just want to see how I stand against the best. And I want to race off the front where I'm not having to weave my way through masses of people in the swim and bike. I think this has slowed me down in the past. I also want to know where I stand amongst my competitors. I'm counting on the fact that trying to keep up with (and beat) these guys is going to up my game a bit. We shall see ...

Train well.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A letter to John

I originally wrote this as an email to John in response to a question he had about my training and schedule. I rambled off topic quite a bit and in the end thought it would make a good post.

From John: "... so how many workouts do you get in every week? I'm going to try and work up to 9: 3 swim, 2 bike, 2 run, 2 strength training, with a little yoga sprinkled in there too. if you start your training day at 4:45 am there should be plenty of room to get all of those in! i gotta admit, your comment has pushed me to get started earlier. ... "

Lately my schedule has been 4 swims of 3km each, 5 runs including a threshold run of a little over an hour with 800m repeats within as well as one long run of 90 minutes, another 1 hour run and a few shorter runs. Cycling has been between 7 and 8 hours per week. Sometimes it takes me 5 or 6 rides to get all these unless I can schedule a 2 hour + ride. I have some leeway with my training plan right now (I won't have this luxury this summer) so I can get in the bike time by breaking it up. If I stuck to the plan it would be more like 4 rides with the shortest being 90 minutes.

I'm no coach but here's my take on how you should be training in this time of year if you are building toward an ironman race ...

The idea is to get the body used to the volume and frequency of the training load. It REALLY is all about consistency at this time of year. I'm not saying that everything is "base" or "zone 2" work. That does not work ... you must have some intensity (hence the threshold running, group roadie rides, and big gear intervals on the trainer). At this time of year it's about consistency and building endurance and strength. These are the keys of handling high volume work later in the season that includes intensity.

A couple of my rules of thumb ...

I never go longer than 90 minutes on a trainer (enforced by the coach). Also, 90-100% of my running is NOT on pavement or cement. According to my coach, most elite ironman triathletes rarely run on the road. This is evidenced in Mark V latest post from camp on the big island. It's just too taxing for the amount of volume required. Stick to the T's (trails, track, treadmill). If you train 10 hours or less a week you can get by without strength work. If you train more than 10 then you need to add core strength work to ensure you don't get injured. So in my world there are no 11,12,13 hour weeks because if you want to do 11,12,13 hours of swim, bike, run, you have to add on 2-3 hours of core strength work which turns your 11,12,13 hours in 14,15,16, etc. Lately I've been at 17 - 20 hours per week. This is not easy to manage amidst a full time job, wife and three kids. Simplicity, planning and logistics are key to getting it done without getting too stressed. Life must be simple ... one of the first things to go in my life was TV. I rarely watch over an hour because I'm in bed by 9:30 so I can get up early and train before my family gets up. I should say that I don't train in the evenings (solely family time) and train very little on the weekends. Sometimes a weekend afternoon session if it's okay with the wife, otherwise only 1-2 hour sessions on weekend morning (again before the family wakes up).

The article I linked to in my last post hints around this ...

Another sacrifice is work. I'm not killing myself to move up the corporate IT ladder. My primary goal in life right now is to qualify for the Ironman World Championships (not make as much money as possible or become an IT stud). I'm happy to be writing code for the next few years, however, I make sure I position myself to take on projects that involve the latest in technology like XAML, .Net 3.0, smart client apps, etc. This way I make sure that if I enter the market again I'm going to demand the highest possible salary a developer can expect.

Train well

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Great article on achieving it:

In a complete opposite frame of mind from the article, I hand you my very me-focused rant ...

In other breaking news my week is coming apart at the seams because of lack of communication from my [insert adjective here] pool. After driving downtown to go get my first swim of the week (they were closed yesterday for MLK day) I was greeted by an empty parking lot. Yep, we're having this crazy snowstorm, it must be blowing at like 1/2oth of an inch per hour and not sticking anywhere. But it was enough to shut down facilities and call it a day! You may be thinking, "Gee, why didn't you call first, or check the website, afterall this IS the south". Yeah ... I did all that. Other than the fact that there was no answer of the phone (not abnormal) there was no indication of the closing.

So with the swim bagged I decided to run a few essential errands that I had to get done sometime this week like picking up the Plasma from the bike shop and purchasing my annual parking pass for the Harbison trails. Conti went with a solid black theme on the GP 4000 tubies which was cool but also bumped the price to match. Add in the rim tape and now my $89 flat spot incident turned into a $118 flat spot incident. Okay, so I won't be training on the Zipps anymore! All clinchers for training from here on out.

So why is not starting your weekly swim workouts until Wednesday so bad? Well when you normally get your swim and and most of your run workouts in during your lunch hour (90 minutes, but who's counting?) and there are only 3 days left in the work week with 4 swims and 3 runs, you're pretty much screwed. I can swim in the mornings after I drop my son off at school but it generally makes me a little late to work ... like 9:20ish. I could run in the mornings, freeing up my lunch hour for swimming but I might fall behind on my cycling time and I will still need to do a double swim once. A what about my strength work? When will I get that done?

If only the world revolved around ME and MY SCHEDULE!!!!

Okay, writing that down helped me see how ridiculous my mindset had become. I may have to get creative, but I WILL find a way to get it done without jeopardizing my job or shorting my family of my time. Watch and see!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Jan 12 - 18 + Run Nose Run 5k Report

Total Volume: 20 hours
swim: 12km
bike: 7 hours
run: 4 hours 11 min.
strength/etc: 5 hours 20 min

Last week was the biggest week of the year so far and ended with a 5k race downtown. The upcoming week contains more run volume so I will have to make room for it by backing off on the maintenance work like core strength and stability a bit. I plan on keeping at least 3 sessions of strength per week going forward as well as stretching and tp therapy as I see these as essential for me to maintain high volume training without become injured.

Some of the highlights of last week:
  • Monday swim: The main set had a test of 15 x 100 meter repeats at z3 holding steady. My average was 1:28 per 100 meters which is about 1:15 per 100 yards for you yardage folks. I was pleased with the results and my progress over the last month. Coach thinks we can get it down to the low 1:20s!
  • Tuesday threshold run: This one had an additional 2 800 meter repeats at 10k pace over last week (8 total). I went in to this run kind of dreading it as they week prior threshold run wasn't fun really. I struggled to hold good running form at anything less than 3:20 (around 6:40 pace). This week I breezed through the first 7 holding 3:18 (6:36 pace) with terrific form and had plenty left in the tank so I ran the last one at 3:08 (just over 6 min pace). The total run was 1:15 and felt awesome.
  • Thursday long run: One hour 20 minutes of steady running in awesome weather from work down to the Riverfront trail and along the river and back. It was a beautiful day.
  • Red Nose Run 5k: I raced! Here's a short report ...

The race started at 8:15 am and it was cold as you can see. At the advice of my coach I did a 20 minute warm up run (actually 22) before the race. I made my way to the front of the group for the start although I was stuck behind some 8-10 year old girls - not sure why they were at the front. It took me a little bit of time to get around them and once I did I was a few paces behind the leaders. The first 1/2 mile felt too easy as far as effort goes but the air coming into my lungs and on my face was very cold. My plan for the first mile was to try not to loose too much ground to the leaders. Near the first mile I picked off the number 4 guy and went by him in a decisive fashion so he wouldn't get any ideas about staying with me. We rolled up and down hills and as we started making our way back through the USC campus I was still in 4th and not gaining any ground on the number 3 guy (I wasn't losing any either though). He was probably 8-10 seconds ahead of me. I started gaining ground on him as we cleared the campus and by the time we were a half mile out I was right on his shoulder. He could hear me breathing and picked up the tempo a bit and I matched. In hindsight I should have surged past him while we were on relatively flat ground. Near the end of the course there are two steep downhill sections. He was willing to risk it all and open up his stride on the descents and I wasn't (this was basically a training day afterall) . He had opened a 3 second gap by the final stretch and I didn't have the kick to close it. He crossed the line 3 seconds ahead of me. So the results were 4th overall, 1st M 30-34 with a time of 19:31.

Overall I was very pleased with the race especially since I've only been running without the ITB injury for 3 weeks and have had very little speed work. This being only my second 5k (outside of a sprint triathlons) and my first since early 2007, it was a new PR. It isn't terribly fast however the course wasn't "flat and fast" by any stretch of the imagination. Coach thinks mid 18s is very doable even within the context of a long-course focused season.

This week's focus is running.

Train well!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Brave Souls

I just came across these pictures of the brave souls who rode the New Year's Day ride around the lake. Looks like I'm feeling good in one and not so good in another. The guy in the 4th picture down (on the Litespeed) reminds me of something I read recently on Paul K's blog:

"BEWARE THE REALLY TAN GUY ON A BIKE THAT LOOKS OLD AND RATTY AS IF IT HAS OVER 15,000 MILES ON IT." I eventually found out that the old guy with the old bike was tan (from riding his bike outside constantly) and the reason the bike looked as if it had 15,000 miles on it was...uhhh...because it had 15,000 miles on it.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Jan 5 - 11: back for more!

Total Time: 18:45
Swim: 12k
Bike: 8:10
Run: 3:51
Strength: 3:20

Last week was a big one for me in terms of volume. The highlight of the week was the 1:20 long run in trails of Harbison State Forest. I had a great time running up and down the hills, jumping the creek and dodging sticker bushes and fallen logs. For the most part the ground was nice for running but some parts were a little rocky. Overall it was much easier on the legs than asphalt or concrete. I'll definitely be back for more!

This great run through the woods unfortunately followed the low point of the week which was flat-spotting an $89 tubular in the first few miles of a ride with JB and crew in the North East. I'd been wanting to get out there and ride with those guys for awhile and was pretty mad when I had to bag the ride. I'll definitely be back for more! Shouldn't have been riding those wheels, next time I'll take the clinchers off the trainer to ride ... just in case. This is as close to flatting a tubular as I have ever come (which is why I like riding them). In fact, I've never had a flat on a tubular - had tons of them on clinchers. This is why I won't race a clincher!!

With the holidays over and done coach put the fourth swim back on the schedule. All the sessions were 3k and went well. The last one of the week culminated with a main set that included 15X100m at olympic distance pace on 15 sec rest. My average was 1:27 - not fast compared to the pros, but I finished strong and was encouraged when coach mentioned that we will get my time down to the low 1:20s. I have a feeling that there is a lot of suffering for me between now and then!

This week is going to be another solid week of training. 12k in pool again but with less cycling (7 hours). Running will be the focus this week ...

Train well.

Friday, January 9, 2009

By the numbers

I had my first body composition analysis of 2009 this morning. My plan is to do this at least quarterly this year with the goal of trying to achieve the best possible numbers in June and November to coincide with my two peak races.

So here they are with a comparison to previous body comps in May of 2008 and January of 2008:

 Today (1/09/09)5/23/081/21/08
Height (in)717171
Weight (lb)161159160
Waist (in)29.73030.3
Hip (in)36.73636.5
Waist/Hip Ratio.81.83.83
Blood Pressure118/82126/82122/73
Resting HR48-52
Max HR186187187
Body Fat %
Fat Weight (lb)12.5613.8314.24
Lean Weight (lb)148.44145.17145.76

So what’s the trend …

Weight is up a little BUT, Fat Weight is down and Lean Weight is up which means I’ve replaced fat with muscle hence the dropping Body Fat %.

A few posts ago I estimated my body fat at 8% so I guess I know my body pretty well.

What’s the goal?

I’m not concerned with weight. Instead I’m concerned with my weight to power ratio. Does anyone know how to quantify this? In my mind if my lean weight is up and my body fat is down then I should have a better weight to power ratio. This could be a misconception??

I would like my Body Fat % to be around 5% or 6% in June and November.

How can I get there?

Well, if I look at the locations where the body fat readings were taken I can see where this fat is …

- legs < 5%
- chest < 5%
- triceps <5%
- tummy 12%
- back 12%

So it appears that all my excess fat is in my tummy and back. I can target the back through strength work which I will add to my 3 day core/stability/abs strength program. For the tummy I will have to target this through diet. Yep, I must take in less calories than I expend to get rid of this little bit of fat. Can’t get around it …

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Yada Yada

Anyone else read Simon W.'s blog yesterday from inside of your artificially lit cubicle in the midst of a dreary winter day and get sick to your stomach with jealousy?

In other news ... many of you may know already that my coach joined up with Team TBB and Coach Brett Sutton, hands down the most successful team at ironman distance around. Many, many wins and podium finishes last year from the likes of Chrissy, Hilary Biscay, Belinda Granger, Chris MacDonald, Stephen Bayliss, Bella Comeford (sp?), etc. Some of these athletes will not be returning to the team because of sponsorship loyalties and conflicts, but I expect the team to be as strong as ever next year. I also expect great things from Jonathan as he has been diligently putting in hard training. Based on his training load lately I would expect some racing in the near future. I can’t wait to see what happens.

What does this mean for me? Hopefully nothing in terms of being a student! Team TBB is known for training camps in exotic locations but hopefully this doesn’t hinder the valuable guidance I’m getting from Jonathan. The internet is a beautiful thing. I do hope however that some of the workouts find their way onto my weekly plans – in a scaled down version at least. Maybe they already have … one of my runs this week said something about 800 meter repeats on the track (or trail) at 10k race pace.

Monday, January 5, 2009

I love the winter

I’m not saying I like the cold! I’m saying that I love the day-in day-out training of the winter. No worries, no stressing, just putting in the work and building the foundation for next year. I love seeing the transformation and improvement that comes through focused and patient training.

My running seems to be back to normal. This past week held my first “long” run since the IM – it was an hour long and felt great! I consider this to be a major improvement over being injured although I’d still say we’re rebuilding. The two biggest problems with my training last year (besides the late-season injury) were low run and swim volume. The goal is to get my body prepared to take on the work coming my way. I wouldn’t think I’ve made any speed gains with my running over last year at this point, but I think my body is ready to take on the training that will bring those gains. This week has an additional hour of running over last week including a 50 minute run, another 1 hour run, and a 1 hour 15 minute run. I’ll get a baseline short-course check of my speed in two weeks at the Red Nose Run 5k. It’s a hilly little 5k in downtown – not a PR friendly course.

Last week was another solid 17 ½ hours of training. Being a holiday week my swimming was limited to 9k but this week it is back to 12k. The week ended with a ride I have to tell y’all about …

Sunday was the annual New Year’s ride around the lake organized by my team/sponsor Harrell’s Bicycle World. Last year had 75 people turn out and was an enjoyable ride by all accounts.

This year it was cold and raining the day of the ride. I was the first one to show up and thought for a minute that I’d be riding alone. How many eventually showed up? 10. That’s right … 10 people, and seven were Harrell’s peeps! Don’t get me started … bunch of pansies! Pardon me, I didn’t mean to say that … anyway, with the make-up of the participants it was going to be a fast ride, there was no avoiding it. We lost the first man within the first 10 miles. Like I said it was raining which meant it was hard to see because glasses got splattered quick like. I tried riding without mine for awhile and ended up getting some dirt in one of my eyes that I had to put up with until the first SAG stop and the halfway point. Getting back on the bike after the stop was quite chilly! So being a triathlete and used to riding solo and not digging drinking the spray off other’s rear wheels I moved to the front pretty quickly and stayed out there for the first half of the ride. Not a wise move – I should have sat back and enjoyed the road juice cocktail. I paid for it later. At about mile 40 something Paul (Harrell) pulls up to me and mentions that he finally feels warmed up and ready to roll. Uh-oh. I’m feeling pretty spent. And roll he did. After getting through Chapin he caught draft off the lead-out SAG wag and time trialed all the way back to the DMV leaving the remnants of his team detonating in the remaining hills. Jamie, I and another Harrell’s rider managed to work together over this last stretch to bring each other home behind Paul. The rest of the group straggled in over the next 5-10 minutes.

It was a great workout and what I would consider interval training. I’m not accustomed to the recover / sprint style riding of roadies (and mtb-ers). I’m much more used to the long consistent steady output of time trialing. By the time Paul went off the front I had nothing left to match - just enough to hang on and get home. At the end of the day it was 3 hours 12 minutes in the rain for 64 miles and 4700 ft of climbing according to my Garmin – average speed of 20.13. Now I know why I like time trialing so much … I could have ridden that average alone on the Plasma without ever putting my HR over 155. For this ride it was 45 minutes in z2, 55 in z3, 45 in z4 (ouch) and the rest either in z1 resting or seeing stars with drool hanging out of my mouth in z5. I never dry heaved like I do when I race, but it hurt none the less. I nearly maxed out my HR at 179. Average HR 141. Good stuff! Great ride guys!

I woke up this morning and fully expected to be sore but thankfully that wasn’t the case. Today started off with a 1 hour recovery ride with an easy 25 minute run off the bike then 40 minute core/stability workout and then later a 3k swim, and maybe something extra tonight!

Train well!