Let’s talk about the last mile of Kerrville again since I’ve uncovered some new facts. If I would have been able to hang onto 3rd place that last mile, not only would I have placed in my age group, but because there were more than 25 finishers in my age group (29, actually), I would be going to Nationals in Cleveland in August. OMG.
I’m smiling because I didn’t know yet…
While I keep harping on the run being my weak point, and obviously, if I could have run about 45 sec/mile faster overall that would have done it, there’s other things that happened imperfectly that could have tipped the scales in my favor. If I wouldn’t have had to wait at the exit wall of the swim. If I was faster at transitions and did the things the people who win do like clip your bike shoes to the bike ahead of time and do flying mounts and dismounts. If I would have pushed harder on the downhills on the bike and been paying attention to my average power being a little lame even if the speed was good. There are a lot of ways to make up 1 minute 47 seconds and not all of them are running related.
All in all, I’m about 15% bummed but 85% stoked. I’ve never been this close before which means I’m getting better. Also, this year, post Ironman, I trained pretty much with the whatever-I-feel-like plan. I mean, to get better at sprint triathlons, you should ride your bike (road, not TT) everywhere at a random pace, lift weights, ignore swimming, and run about 3-5 miles a week, right? That’s the path to success… said no coach. Yet, I almost pulled it off. What could I actually do when I, like, actually *tried* to train like a shorter course triathlete? I’m excited to find out.
But first, something completely different.
This race again!
My next A race is 3M Half Marathon. Honestly, right now, I’m less than excited for it because running right now is not my favorite, but I know that will change once the temps cool down and I get some miles under me and my knee cooperates.
I have found some success at running less but faster to actually knock out a pretty decent 5k off the bike, so I’m going to continue that methodology into the next season. Here’s the thing. I can totally run 13 miles. The muscle memory is there. Right now, it would be a miserable endeavor, but I think I could probably jog it in about 2h30 or less if the weather didn’t suck. However, that’s not what I’m looking to accomplish.
I am rolling the big scary goal of sub-2 around in my head again. I really went for it one year (2010) and my runs were looking awesome and on pace until I caught a chest cold on race week and was happy to be able to even race that day and jogged it in at 2:19. Since then, I’ve never done a full training build for a half marathon, they’ve been races I jumped into for funsies, to hang with friends, as training runs for something longer, or to take a crack at my PR but not specifically trained for them. I’ve hit 2:08 twice, and if I put my mind to it, the 2:10-12 range is not too challenging for me to hit without specifically training for it.
This year, I’m clearing the runway and going for it once again. I’m about 30 lbs heavier than I was back then, but I’ve also got a lot of endurance and muscle and experience and maybe that will tip the scales the right way.
Now, the plan is, how do I get from about 2:10 to 1:59:59?
A) I need to continue to teach my body good running form. That means no marathon shuffle. I’ve found I can maintain proper form and also go as easy as about 10:30/mile. I’ll have one of those runs per week that’s as relaxed as possible but still with good body position (and also drills during it). These can be hilly or flat, but the goal is still the same (run easy with good form).
B) I need to remind myself how to run fast and strong. I will have a diet of intervals, hill repeats, and tempo runs. I’ll alternate through these and do one per week.
C) I need to improve my run endurance. I will alternate through one of these per week – long run (shorter + faster), long run (longer + slower), long bike (40-60 miles, to maintain endurance and minimize pounding). When the run miles are low, I will supplement with some cycling as well so my Saturday workouts probably won’t be less than about 2-3 hours.
So, that’s my 3 runs. Here’s how I’ll supplement them with cross training:
Weights. I would love to say that I’d be lifting heavy here but I don’t think I have the time to make the transition without affecting my running. So, probably continue with bands and DDR for plyometrics. I may try to split this up more than I do now and do 15 mins x 4 mornings so it’s less of a session and more of a habit, but it also might not get done that way instead of taking 30 mins over two lunch breaks *shrug*.
Bikes. I will not be putting Death Star and Evilbike away this year, though I’ll be riding them a *little* less than last year. I plan to keep up with at least one work commute per week, and I would like to have one shorter speed session, but we’ll see if this plays nice with running.
Swim. My body thanks me if I can make it to the pool once a week or at least every other week. Even if I’m not really trying to train swimming right now, it loosens me up and my body complains if I spend too long out of the water.
In practice, what does that look like? Early November might be:
- Monday: 4 miles of hill repeats at lunch, PM weights at the gym
- Tuesday: bike commute
- Wednesday: 40 min AM bike speed trainer session, easy hour lunch run
- Thursday: weights (bands at work)
- Friday: AM swim
- Saturday: 10k run on flat roads, goal is sub-10 min/mile pace, warmup on the bike for 15 mins, easy ride after to round out the time.
- Sunday : off
This is a 7.5-8 hour week. Totally doable. Even when the runs get longer, this should never top out beyond 9-10 hours, which is my normal volume right now. I think it will work out well.
Double the distance, double the crazy eyes?
Looking out a little further into 2018, I plan to do an ill-advised 12 hour bike race with my teammates that I know I won’t be trained for on the 3rd, and then take February and probably the first part of March to do whatever I feel like (though I do want to take this cycle to go lift heavy and I’ll need to do SOME efforts to burn off birthday cake).
Then, I’d like to take a crack at a bunch of sprint triathlon podiums and Nationals qualification. It’s my last year in the 35-39 age group, and those 40 year olds are serious competition! While I’m not going to get too detailed this far ahead, here are some rough thoughts:
- I’d like to do a bunch of races (yeah, I know, who am I, the girl who’d rather train than race) so if one sucks, it doesn’t matter. Probably once every 2-3 weeks for a few months. There’s a bunch of early season triathlons within a 3-4 hour drive and that means we get to use turtle home more. Win win!
- The one I’m most excited for is Play Tri – it’s SO flat!
- I am actually going to swim! While I probably won’t do long sets, I want to get my form back (and more importantly my time back) to where it was last year. This means sets and drills in the pool. Maybe even consider a month of masters’ swim (but its so eaaaaaaarly) to get my butt kicked.
- Training with power on the bike. I held 20 mph on the bike and did really well in my age group and my power was a measly 150 watts. I know I can push harder than that for 40 minutes, but I know from experience pushing harder than that takes practice. I’ll need to actually spend some time on the trainer or reasonably closed courses out of traffic and work on some TT intervals with actual power goals for workouts. And, while this is a simple one, it’s taken me over a year to do it – I need to add the AVG POWER field to my race day garmin fields so I can see it during the race and not be surprised by it. Durrr.
- Hopefully I’ll have some nice run fitness at this point that will be balanced between speed and endurance. During this season, I’ll cut the endurance part and go back to less miles and moar faster like I did this year.
- Probably back to lighter weights at this point. Or at least maintaining what I’m at without being super sore for workouts.
- If I’m looking at a few minutes being the difference between achieving a goal or not, I need to do all those things that the really good triathletes do:
- Invest in a swim skin. Of the 40 of so of these triathlon thingees (not to mention splash and dashes) I’ve done, I think maybe 5 of them have been wetsuit legal. I will get much more wear out of one of these then almost anything else I could buy to improve my swimming.
- Actually practice doing the things the faster triathletes do in transition.
- Work on my barefoot running speed. Like, actually go run on the sidewalk/in the yard.
- Practice transitions with my bike shoes clipped in already. This is going to involve me doing some dumb looking shit in my front yard and riding around my block a bunch of times trying to get my feet in tri shoes without getting hit by/hitting a car. Not to mention the hilarious attempts at flying mounts and dismounts. I should probably film this…
- Find a pair of shoes I can run at least 3 miles in without socks. I actually think my Sauconys might fit the bill but they’re getting old so I will need to replace them. Maybe also try some racing flats?
- And, as much as I get so cranky about it and it’s the worst (I’d rather suffer through an 8 mile treadmill tempo run, 1000 meter swim test in rough open water wearing my wetsuit for the first time in 6 months, and cycle class with 20 minute intervals and then heavy lifting all in the same day), each lb I take off in a proper and healthy way gives me about 2 sec/mile of free speed. So, if I could manage to take down 10 lbs, I could get one minute off my 5k without training. I need to remember this when I think about saying “fuck it, let’s eat a giant plate of french fries”. More french fries = less Nationals.
As for the schedule, it’s so far out, but for funsies, let’s do the first week in March:
- Monday: AM swim (100 warmup, 500 drills, 5×100 fast on 2:00, 100 cooldown), lunch weights
- Tuesday: bike commute – AM faster (at least 180 power average on the power cal), PM recovery
- Wednesday: AM swim (300 warmup, 200 fast/200 steady, 150 fast/150 steady, 100 fast/100 steady, 50 fast/50 steady, 25 fast/25 steady, 100 cooldown), PM team brick (average power on the speed loop – 175+, pace on the 2 mile run sub 9:30)
- Thursday: lunch weights
- Friday: AM/lunch run (4 miles steady)
- Saturday: Ride to and from BSS social ride, 3 mile brick run off the bike at home (sub-10 min/miles).
- Sunday: off
This is only about 8.5 hours so there’s room to grow some of the workouts even if I want to keep to 10 hours a week or less (which wouldn’t be a problem to go over every once in a while).
Always great to race with friends and teammates! I’m already looking forward to tri season next year.
My last race of the early 2018 season will probably be Lake PFlugerville Tri, and I’ll take my usual 6 weeks off between that and Jack’s Generic. However, this could change a little if I do qualify for Nationals (Aug 11) – but those are scheduling chickens I will count and shuffle around when they hatch.
The next build will probably be to Ironman Cozumel 70.3. If for some reason that falls through, there are about a million other 70.3s in the area around that time (and I might consider doing 2 of them if I can space them enough apart – it would be AWESOME to have two cracks at the distance on the same build).
As a self-check on recovery, I’ve given myself some breaks (6 weeks in Feb/March, 6 weeks in June/July), and I don’t expect I’ll roll directly into marathon training (no interest, at least right now) in October like I have previously, so I expect I’ll have a lighter load (or at least less serious one) the last month or two of 2018.
It’s weird to consider that you have the next 15 months of your life mapped out, but I tend to do better with a map and a plan than just sailing around aimlessly. I’m excited to get started!