In triathlon class, we learned the law of facilitation for motor learning – when an impulse passes through a given set of neurons to the exclusion of others, it will tend to do so again, with less and less resistance every time.
Hopefully less resistance in the neurons to more resistance in the training…
On a larger scale, that means to become the person you want to be, you need to create the habits you want to form by working towards it relentlessly. I’m ready to kick off this year with determination, focus, and relentless pursuit of my goals.
However, another thing we were reminded of in class is that overtraining is bad. So this relentlessness will be tempered with patience. I need to remember that muscles are built in recovery, and metered constant progress is better than a big push and then fizzle boom burnout with a long period of just trying to figure out how to give a fuck again. Stress is stress is stress and I thrive with a certain amount and cave with too much of it.
Rather than seasons like 2016, I feel like this year has two parts, before IM Texas and after. Pre-April 22, it will be mostly diet, training, and rest/recovery goals. Beyond that, it will be a little bit of #projectspringencore, with more weight loss, personal projects, and personal growth goals.
So, let’s start with the big goal of the year…
2017 A Race – IM Texas
I will be doing this for a long long long long long long time.
This week, I start official training for IM Texas. Not that I’ve been sitting on my ass eating bon bons (ok, not ALL the time at least), but this marks the return to a schedule and plan. I’ll definitely detail this more in the coming months, but the general goals for the lead up are:
- Lots of bike volume with some effort. I need to get comfortable spending the majority of a workday on my bike and I also need to do enough weekly miles to support that. Spin classes, commuting, trainer, or outdoor – I need to be riding my bike most every day. And that’s what I plan to do for January – bike streaking, at least 30 minutes per day.
- Maintain two swims per week like I always plan to do, however, one of them now needs to be my LONG swim, which will start creeping up from the normal 30 to ~90 minutes by peak.
- Weights twice a week. I’d love to say these will both be heavy sessions in the gym but I know with time constraints, I’ll be happy with two bodyweight/resistance sessions with heavy lifting when I can.
- Running… this is the tricky part. I need to train to be able to cover 26.2 miles on ~3 running days a week, and working up to a long run of marathon distance the same week I’m also biking long. I plan to build the bike volume first but I want to do at least two 20 milers at the same goal pace and run/walk intervals I will do at the race.
- Recovery as a priority. Stretch, roll, massage boots – at least one of these every evening. Don’t be stupid about sleep. Have enough recovery weeks to keep myself in one piece and sane. Sit my butt down once in a while and not try to do all the things all the time.
- Put enough (and not too many) good things in my mouth to appropriately fuel my workouts. Appropriate protein (20-30g per meal and some more with snacks) spaced throughout the day. Quality carbs before, and simple carbs during (if appropriately long/hard), and after workouts. Transition more fats to plant based food (nuts/olives/avocado) from animal fats. And… track everything from TODAY until race day. Yep. I want a full cycle on the books, even if some days aren’t pretty or I have to track 3 days later.
…hopefully I can look this happy (and be this upright) at the finish on April 22.
My goals for the race itself? To finish under 17 hours. That’s it, that’s all. Oh, and to have fun. I’m sure I’ll have some pace goals closer to the race and a more reasonable prediction when I’ll finish, but I will be 100% happy with my day as long as I cross the finish line at 16:59:59 or before that. If I decide to do another one of these, I can worry about times and stuff.
In the lead up, I will be racing a half marathon (3M), and are considering some early season events like a 6 hour bike race, a 10 mile run, some longer charity rides, and hopefully a tuneup tri somewhere so the first race in six months isn’t 140.6 miles long.
As for the rest of the year, I don’t know exactly what it will hold. We’ll probably race Lake Pflugerville Sprint (on zero/minimal training) because we do every year. There will probably be other Sprints later in the season and maybe Austin 70.3 but maybe not, or maybe do a bunch of charity rides or race cycling TTs or open water swims or something, and absolutely none of these decisions will be made before May.
I have ZERO PR goals this year. If I happen to do that, awesome. If not, NBD.
Habits and Practices to Start NOW…
2016’s habit was to bike everywhere. And now we bike everywhere! Look at those beautiful neurons connecting….
This next section are things I’d like to work on year round. They’re not to dos, they’re not goals, they’re things I’d like to incorporate into my life.
- Since vacation, I’ve stayed mostly logged out of facebook and twitter. It has been UNBELIEVABLE for my stress levels and productivity and enjoyment of the moment. I don’t believe that I’ll completely stay a social media hermit, but I want to limit the hours per day I used to spend catching up on social media and put that towards other things. I do think I’ll keep my phone logged out and pay more attention to the GROUPS I’m in than my general timeline.
- I want to make it a habit to stop rushing things. I tend to convince myself I don’t have enough time to do something and end up fumbling with it, sometimes taking me longer, and always stressing me out.
- One random thing I’d like to take the time to do right is to wash my fruits and veggies. I am notoriously bad about doing this, and it makes no sense to prioritize eating organic and healthy food when I’m ingesting all the other crap that’s made it’s way on my food from picking to the store. I’m saving somewhere between 5 seconds to a few minutes by not doing this and it’s stupid.
- I will be returning to calorie counts, weighing, and watching my ratios. It’s time. Obviously I will have a decent calorie bank because I will be in training, but it won’t be the free for all it’s been lately. I don’t have a specific weight loss goal for this year, but I’d like to weigh less than I do right now.
- I have an insane alcohol tolerance – my genes, being an endurance athlete, and the fact that I have a lot of practice contribute to this. That means I can drink and carouse the night before and still show up to work, my workout, and life. My body recovers like a MOFO. However, it’s a lot of calories, it can’t be that great for me even if I feel fine, and it tends to keep me up late which DOES impact my recovery. I’m not going crazy, but my goal for January is no wine, no booze, no champagne. That leaves beer. I don’t love beer a lot. I can generally drink a few before I’m over it. That means I’ll either learn to love beer or I’ll calm my shit with the drinking. I’m hoping for the latter, but we’ll see! February 1 and beyond? TBD.
This one works for both beer and recovery. And it was a great Halloween!
While I don’t feel like my next career step is as imminent as last May when the big work shakeup happened, I also realize now HOW FAR AWAY I am from ready to launch a business and how much I need to learn if I want to do it some day. This year is a year of learning, certification, set up, and baby steps. I have no idea if this will be my livelihood in six months or six years or never, but I feel like I need to get ready to fly because you never know when life is going to push you off the cliff.
- Finish my triathlon coaching class and pass the exam
- After IM Texas, start researching some sort of part time or volunteer opportunity that will help me get some sort of experience.
- Continue to work on my social media plan for this blog as practice.
- Read some business books and other triathlon training books instead of JUST my pulpy sci fi.
- Write a business plan and figure out who I really want to reach and the services I want to provide.
- Create a website with all the bells and whistles it needs.
- Start writing some book notes
(Big) Baby Steps. By the end of the year I want to:
- Have a website ready to go that can take people’s money and provide a service.
- At the very least, start providing a small service via fiverr or something similar to test the waters.
- Have a published book (even if it’s just self published).
These are SUPER ambitious goals and may be more of a two year plan, but if you shoot for the moon, you’ll at least end up among the stars, right?
I don’t really have a great and exciting picture that encompasses TO DO LIST, so here’s a pretty picture of Austin at night that I took…
Below is essentially the beginnings To Do List for the year. I’m sure I’ll add to this as the year goes on, but it’s a start!
Let’s start with the fun stuff:
- Continue to game bi-weekly with friends. Maybe even host some low key game nights on weekends with other friends to play card/board games.
- Be able to list at least 20 games I played on multiple occasions (or finished in one sitting) by the end of 2017.
- Vacations! Besides going out of town for Ironman, we plan to do the same cruise in May with my parents, probably a trip to Reno/Tahoe for my 20th reunion (???) in August/Sept, and considering a liveaboard dive trip in the winter (failing that… Roatan? Bonaire again?).
- Hem/fix a few pairs of pants.
- Clean out both cars
- Take my existing extra hoka soles and cut them and put them in my less comfortable shoes.
- Find a new doctor and get an exam
- Financial planner
- Bike fit
- Eye doctor appt and exam (my frames are SOOOOO scratched)
- Clean out and renovate the office. We were hoping to get to it over holiday break, but it didn’t happen.
- Figuring out a place to store (or a new home for) this other gaming table we have that is currently threatening to impale anyone that sleeps on the left side of our guest room.
- Make the workout room a proper pain cave with a TV, computers and monitors for Zwifting
- Figure out a more permanent solution than boxes and a blanket in a closet for the leezard (though she seems ok with it).
- As long as our financial situation seems stable, picking a renovation project (kitchen, patio, etc) and do it.
- #projectspringencore – weight loss, playing outside, oh my. But I’ll get to these goals once we’re on the other side of the IM Texas finish line.
I feel like there’s other stuff I’m missing, but that’s what the rest of the year is for! Let’s do this 2017 thing!