Changing Focus: The Rest Of The Plan
With my first of two "A" races over with for the year, my training from now until Ironman will take on a different focus: a bike focus. This was the plan from the beginning, so I'm not changing strategies because of the race.
I believe in the 'train your weakness' philosophy only to a point. I think it gets over-emphasized. Yes, you need to strengthen your weaknesses, but it's your strengths that are going to get you to your goals, especially if one of your strengths is the bike or run. Swimming won't get you quite as much in triathlon just because it's the shortest leg of the event so there's only so much time you can make up with a good swim.
The bike is my strength, and I believe that if I'm going to make it to Kona I'm going to do it on the bike. I'll still be putting in a lot of work on my running and swimming so it's not like my program is changing a whole lot. Mainly I'm going to increase my bike volume and back off my running frequency a bit so I'm better rested for cycling. I've been running 5 days per week for well over a year now and cycling 3-4 days. I'm now going to run 4 times per week, but I'm increasing my mid-week run length so I'll still get in the same volume. I'll be cycling 4-5 times per week shooting for 200-250 miles per week. The week I'm doing the Endurance Nation Camp in July is going to give me more than 300 miles so July should be about a 1,000 mile month for me. I've never biked 300 miles in one week (278 is my record) or 1,000 miles in a month.
My cycling plan will include one long ride on the weekend, one mid-week long ride at a moderate pace, one tempo or threshold ride and a recovery ride. My running will include either a tempo run or hill workout, a long run on the weekend, a long(ish) run mid-week and a recovery run where I'll focus on form and cadence. I'm frustrated with swimming these days so I'm going to try things my way for a little while and see what happens. What's my way? Those who are very familiar with my training probably have a good guess: volume. I'm a big believer in volume and I'm going to see what some higher volume does for me. I can't really work in more swims per week, so I'm making my swim workouts longer to add volume to the program. More frequency would probably help, but I can only do so many workouts in a week. Each swim workout per week will be in the 5500 yard range - roughly 90 minutes of continuous swimming.
Here's my swim plan:
I went swimming a couple of weeks ago and rented a kayak for Courtney and she absolutely loved it so we bought her the kayak pictured above. It's going to do wonders for my swim volume because all she wants to do is get out on the water right now. I also have an H2O audio and I downloaded a metronome CD so I can work on stroke rate (per Jen's comment on my last blog post). I've tried about everything with swimming - coaches, clinics, underwater video, masters, drills - but I haven't really worked on my stroke rate. So my plan is stroke rate and volume and I'll see how I do at the Door County Half Ironman in a month.
Lastly, there's my core/strengthening routine I'll be doing every other day. I'm going to post the entire routine in a future post. It will be a short routine that will help my core strength and will help with injury prevention.
I actually spent some time a week or two ago planning all of my workouts for the rest of the summer. I haven't planned out my taper yet, and I think I'm going to tweak my plan a tad this week to make sure I have everything covered. My main focus going forward, other than the bike, is key workouts. I have my key workouts that I need to nail, and everything else is about supporting those workouts or making sure I'm well rested for those workouts.
One other thing that's changing with my program: rest days. I'm going back to Monday rest days. I haven't been doing that and I'm paying the price. Mondays have been swim only days, but it's not the same as a rest day. I did Monday rest days last year and it worked out well so I'm going back to it. My body needs one full rest day per week. Tuesdays I feel pretty good (when I rest Monday) so those are my tempo days - I'll alternate between Tuesday run tempo and bike tempo each week.
And the last piece of the puzzle:
Right now my weight is at about 171 and I want to go into Ironman between 160 and 165 (I was 186 on Jan 1 - the most I've ever weighed). I bought the book Racing Weight to help me put together a nutrition plan that will give me the right nutrients and calories to support my workouts, but also help me shed some extra body fat.
Every time I talk about weight, I get reminded I'm already lean. I know. It's not about body image or anything like that. This is simply about performance and from a performance standpoint, I have body fat I don't need.
200+ miles on the bike per week, 40+ miles running and 15,000+ yards in the water. Add in core work, weight loss and some yoga and that's my plan in a nutshell. Sounds easy....right?