Friday, June 22, 2007

Data Alert!!! Training Plan Reassessment Time

I can hardly believe it myself, but I guess I've been making an attempt to get back into shape for 6 weeks now. I still feel like I'm kicking my own ass but I decided it was time to evaluate where I am. (Gulp!) So, per my full disclosure policy, here are my stats:

Analysis:
I'm focusing more on time rather than distance but I have to stay, I'm pleased since I've been told that consistency is the key. After a false start for the first 3 weeks, the last 3 weeks have been SOLID. I guess I needed a "pre-prep" phase. (Actually, week 3 was the scary week that Jason was in and out of the hospital.) I've been following my plan as best as I can for these last 3 weeks, which means, folks...I've earned myself an R&R week!!! Well, hold on a minute. Because I'm still just getting back into it, for this R&R week, I will try to maintain the same frequency of workouts while dropping the intensity waaay back. That means more ocean swims and time on Rocky (the very lonely mtn. bike). Anyway, my overall goal during this Prep phase was to get my body used to working out again. I feel I'm almost there. Very close.

My first race is July 14th, an Olympic distance race. I want to get my swimming back to being comfortable for a 1 mile steady swim. I won't be able to really race this race since it's too soon. But I hope I can use it as a good workout and finish feeling strong.

My Limiters:
When I look at the specifics (broken down by sport), I can see my swimming needs more attention. Because this is by far my greatest limiter (hmmm, do I even have any strengths?), I will make sure I get 3 swims in during my R&R week, 2 of them pool swims (1 ocean), so I can continue building my swim endurance and form. I will be signing up for Masters swimming in the am again. It helps like nothing else even though it wipes me out. Plus, I think I may recruit the masters coach for some privates to work on my form.

My 2nd greatest limiter is my strength on the bike. San Diego is very hilly, and I feel exhausted after every ride. I just need more time on the bike, honestly. A little riding around here, and, wallah! No hill repeats needed! Also, religious time in the weight room, which I've been very good about doing. 2x/week--whole body exercises including glutes, quads, core, back, lats, chest, shoulders, triceps, etc. I'm going to be HUGE! Well, hardly. I don't build muscle easily, which is why weight training is SO important for me. I also got a(nother) bike fitting this week because it's been extremely uncomfortable in the aero position. They tweaked a few things (raised the bars up so I'm not so crammed down) temporarily until I get back into shape again.

My Specific Body Type:
I've been learning a lot about myself in general these past few months. I have a long, lean body type that doesn't gain weight easily but also doesn't gain muscle easily. Not only that, but muscle I build disappears verrry quickly without maintenance through weights and training. For me, weights will always be a critical part of my program. In addition, I tend to need more recovery time after a hard race or a hard workout. I needed a good month after the half-IM. Because I ignored this and tried to train for a marathon simultaneously, my body broke down, forcing me to take off 2 and a half months. I will need to make sure I have 1-2 rest days/week without fail and an easier R&R week every 3rd week as well. I simply break down without it. I may not have a lot of power on the bike, and I have a lot to learn with my swim technique (I can lollygag around out there forever but have no speed or zip), but I always feel strong on the run. At least I have that going for me.

Anyway, I've been revising and shaping up my training plan. Reading lots of books, listening to lots of podcasts. Definitely psyched!!! I even started wearing a HRM again, and I tend to hate extra gadgetry. However, I want to get better and have heard so many coaches advocate HR monitor training that I can't ignore it anymore.

My Goals:
Right now, get used to training again without feeling the need for extra recovery time. I feel I need 1 more Prep period before going into Base training. Basically, I try to get the workout frequency down in the Prep period, while keeping the intensity and duration fairly low; e.g. make it fun. This is the time to keep it inviting so I keep wanting more.

Then, I will begin a long Base (re)building phase in preparation for the Half IM in late October. All races in between will be "C" races--for fun, freshness, experience, and training. I will focus more on my heart rate during the early part of the Base building (~6-8 wks) and ensure it is kept below aerobic threshold to teach my body how to utilize fat for fuel more efficiently than glucose. It will be tough because the intensity will feel too "easy" but if I go slow now, I can go fast later. Also, everyone else will be in a different cycle since their season is going full swing and mine is starting over. So it will take some discipline and restraint on my part.

I will have more detail into the specifics of the training plan coming soon, but until then, I leave you with the latest from my workouts:

I've been focusing on each workout as an individual puzzle piece lately. Each workout has a purpose. During my last 2 runs, I finally felt as if I regained my running stride. I have renewed strength in my legs. I could actually feel my toes gripping the road like fingers pulling myself up a rope. It was such a strong, empowering feeling. I heard the frogs croaking from a creek, not quite dried up yet, on my evening run, and it made me smile. Frogs in southern California? For a moment, I was back in Wisconsin among the prarie grass, Queen Anne's Lace, robins and cardinals. But then a lizard darted across my path and a hummingbird zipped from tree to bush, and I was pulled back into the SoCal environment.
I swam in the Cove on Friday night and saw several tri club members. The water was calm, although the current was flowing its typical direction--out. I had picked a route from the grass so as to avoid the massive kelp beds, which weird me out. Neon green and pink swim caps dotted the wide "lane" between the 1/4 mile and 1/2 mile buoys. The massive numbers of swimmers wriggling in and out of wetsuits on the grass and swimming in clusters in the water reminded me that summer was here. Friday night is "the" night that all the triathletes come and swim at the Cove. The swells tend to make me really queasy but I was able to keep it under control on this swim. Going out, as usual, was easy. I reached the 1/4 mile buoy. I wanted to swim out to the 1/2 mile buoy but it looked so far. So far. This used to be easier. I decided to err on the side of too little and headed back. Next time. I could feel the water rush past my hand as it entered the water, as the current surged around me. However, the strength of my stroke pulled me through the water, little by little. My sighting has definitely improved. A line of pelicans flew overhead into the setting sun on their evening food patrol. Ocassionally, a tern dove into the sea with a "plunk", attempting to spear a fish. Sea lions barked from the rocks by the caves. I was able to avoid the seaweed and follow my pre-visualized route. I've been working on breathing every other stroke--bilaterally--I find the slowed breathing in open water helps calm me and forces me to focus on form and rhythm. As I came back in, dozens of little to medium sized fish swam with me, coming up to the surface to feed. I swam tentatively, fearing my arm would accidentally snag one of the many bright orange Girabaldi swimming alongside me. They, however, were much better swimmers than me. I didn't even come close to touching one as they expertly darted around my limbs and fingers.





Hot Songs for Your Next Workout:
First off, if you're into podcasts, check out the Cadence Revolution and PodRunner. Both are pretty awesome.

1. My Friend--Groove Armada
2. The Adventure--Angels & Airwaves
3. This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race--Fall Out Boy
4. Say it Right--Nelly Furtado
5. Galvanize--Chemical Brothers
6. Check on It--Beyonce & Slim Thug
7. Into the Ocean--Blue October
8. You Know--Chris Cornell
9. You Had Me--Joss Stone
10. 24--Jem

3 comments:

Cliff Tam said...

There is a bunch of guys (Beavan and his coach) that does a Ironman talk once a week. http://www.ironmantalk.com/Podcast.html

They are pretty good bunch of ppl to listen to. Very friendly and funny.

The most important aspect of training is learning to listen to our own body. I am still learning to do so.

HRM is crucial for beginners and for long distance. For me, the HRM kept me time and time again from going too hard. This is more so in races where my HR spike to 165 without me realizing it (when it should be in 145).

Cliff Tam said...

Rachel,

Yeah I love their podcast b/c they have such a good attitude with life. Joking all the time. I gotta get back listening to them.

As for fast...take your time :)..me and Darren were chatting and to be serious in endurance sports (particularly the long distance), it takes years of building the aerobic base. I can see that i still have a long way to go. Long way as in a 2-5 years.

It's hard to train slow..but u will pay off with the gain in aerobic base. (side bonus, slow = faster recovery and less chance of injury).

SkiRough said...

NICE COMMENT ABOVE. Shesh!

Thanks for the song list, i am updating my tunage as I type this :)