Saturday, October 14, 2006

2006 Re-Cap and 2007 Race Goals

Following suit of so many of you fellow bloggers out there, I wanted to review 2006, recap, and set some goals for 2007.

2006 was my 3rd year of triathlon. I was bit by the bug in 2004 and trained as much as I could, raced as much as I could, and almost burned myself out. In 2005, I was finishing up my thesis and getting ready to move to San Diego so I had much less time for training. Because it was so limited, it was always a treat. I had tons of fun and PRs in 2005 while "training" the least. Hmmmm. I see a lesson in this.

Then there was 2006. I moved to San Diego from St. Louis in Jan. and was like a kid in a candy store. Immediately, I began overdoing it. I suffered from multiple overuse injuries at the beginning of the year, including IT band syndrome, problems with the tendons in my foot, and even a bruised rib. I took it down a notch, rested, got some orthotics (and stopped falling out of kayaks onto rocks), and healed right away. Then, the races began. I did 12 races from February through October (not including club races), including 4 running races, 1 duathlon, 5 triathlons (3 sprints, 2 olympics), and 1 half marathon. Phew!

At one point, I was racing every weekend. Obviously, this is too much. I need to focus on the races I really want to do from now on and stop doing them just because I can and they're there. This is San Diego. There are multiple races every weekend in my own backyard. Case in point, I got a really bad stomach thing and fever that lasted for 2 weeks after racing 3 races in 4 weeks. Then the deep fatigue set in. That's when I was diagnosed with low thyroid. Obviously this contributed, but overtraining (or overracing) didn't help either. I had to scrap the first half marathon (America's Finest City) in August, only to get a cold for my "make-up" half in San Jose last weekend.

Hmmm. Maybe feeling too good from the thryoid medication and lack of self restraint led to overdoing it 3 weeks before the race:
weekend 1: Tri Club Aquathlon and Tri Club Pine Valley Duathlon (aka bike up a mountain)
weekend 2: Tour de Poway bike ride 24 hours after stomach flu; develop cold shortly after
weekend 3: Half Marathon.
Does anyone else see a pattern here?

Training Resolutions:
1. Exercise more self restraint in training and racing.
2. Follow more conservative race/training plan. I've had a training and race plan but it's always been too much.
3. Less is more. I was faster and fresher in 2005 when I was training and racing less. I need to find that happy balance. Clearly, my body has been trying to tell me something.
4. Don't take myself too seriously. San Diego triathletes are hard core! It's a challenging field of athletes out there. I have been humbled severely. What's kept me going is staying central to my core and focusing on my personal race goals, instead of comparing myself to the masses. There will always be (lots) others out there better/faster/stronger. It doesn't matter. That's not why I do this. When I go out there and enjoy myself and have fun with it, I want to come back and do it again tomorrow. That's my long-term goal. To keep doing it!
5. In addition, I don't have to P.R. every race or workout I do. That's just silly. Instead, I focus on staying in the moment and trying to feel good. Then, surprise! Maybe I'll just get fitter and faster too.

2007 Training Goals:
Okay, here they are:
1. Complete a half-ironman. (I've already signed up for one March 31st so no turning back now!)
2. Become stronger in Olympic distances (and faster in sprints). Last year was my first stab at that distance. However, going long also really has slowed me down. I realize I can't gain speed while training for a half-IM. But, maybe, when I return to the shorter distances, I can get faster there.
3. A little redundant but more specific: regain my running mojo (aka speed). I used to run 7:20 min 5Ks. Now, it's more like 9 min 5Ks. I want that back. Running is my strong suit. I haven't peaked yet! Track workouts anyone?
4. Become more comfortable in the aero position. I've become stronger on the bike this year. More mileage and hills have helped me there, plus great bike fittings and upgrades means I'm more comfortable on the bike. I'm very happy with my progress here. I just want to get more comfortable with my new gadgets.
5. Become faster in the water. I feel like I can swim all day but I just plod along. I haven't really gotten slower than previous years (like my running) but I haven't improved either. I think masters workouts are going to help here. Also, just more time in the water since I spend the least time swimming. It takes the most activation energy than the other two to get started!
6. Be stronger on the run off the bike. This one's simple. Do more BRICKS.

Updated charts and graphs (with error bars) from 2006 soon to come...

7 comments:

Cliff said...

Rachel,

Great reflection.

This ain't something I read from a book but I start to see how everything fits.

If u are balance with training and your life stuff (no matter how much or little training u have), this means u won't get burn out. This also mean u won't get sick or injure. This also mean u have more time to train. This mean that your body will be more fit.

What does all this means? You will be faster, better and stronger. At the same time u will be more satisfy b/c ur life is in balance.

I tend to stay away from the hard core competitive types. It is too easy for me to let my ego take over...

JeffM said...

Great intropection and goals! I thought you were a really fast swimmer- all in perspective I guess. Very doable goals also.

Kate said...

Those sound like really smart goals. It's so easy to get addicted- I'm falling back into my old bad habits already, and reading about people who are regularly training 12-15 (+) weeks doesn't always help. Luckily, my friends, my boyfriend and my readers are keeping me accountable and making me rest. Anyway- good luck for next season! I'm looking forward to following you to your first half IM, and to getting some ideas (I've banned myself til '09..)

RunBubbaRun said...

My 1st year of doing triathlons, I raced a ton, every race I could do, got sick at the end. I think you have a solid set of plans. I think thru time we gain training wisdom. But I think the most important part is to have fun out there. After 3rd place everybody gets the same t-shirt and medal anyways. So enjoy the day and along the way you will get faster.

Jenö said...

Good review of the season. I can see how moving to San Diego could have that effect on someone (particularly on those of us who experience the joy of training in the deep freeze for several months of the year). Your resolutions are interesting in that it looks like the key to getting better overall is to practice moderation and get there by taking smaller steps. Well done on a great season!!

jessie_tri_mn said...

I think you and I have a lot in common, with our predisposition to overtrain...and probably to take ourselves and especially our hobbies too seriously.

You are a step ahead of me in this triathlon game, due to my season off this year...so I plan to watch carefully at your 2007 season to find out how half IM training goes, and probably learn a thing or seventy along the way :).

I know you will succeed, your attitude is great!

Marcus said...

Hi there! You have set the right goals for 2007. I also can find myself and my ambitions in the reflection you did and in the outlook for 2007.
Just remember: Champions are made in the off-season.
a german reader, M.