The End Of A Good Month

March was a good month for me.  I got in some very good training volume, bought some new toys and started a new job.  It was a busy month, that's for sure.

After today I'll have biked a little over 600 miles in March, run about 125 miles and swam about 40,000 yards.  That's a pretty big increase in bike miles and swimming especially.  In January and February I swam about 20,000 yards each month.  I decided I need to step that up if I'm going to hit my goals in September.  

Here's my last swim workout of the month:

3/31/2010 Yards

Warm Up 400 100S, 100K, 100P, 100K NA
  500 10 x 50 1:00
Main Set 2050 4x500 9:00
    50 Easy  
  550 5x100 (breathe on left) 1:50
    50 Easy  
  250 5x50 1:00
Cool Down 150 100 Easy/50 Kick NA
Total 3900    


Running With Scissors

I started my new job Monday so it's been a busy week.  Lots to learn.  Lots to do. And my routine has been completely thrown off....at least for now.   

I no longer work in the bike industry, which is a little weird, but the new job seems like it's going to be great.  I like my boss and my co-workers, and overall the company is a ton more organized.  They have processes in place and my role is much more defined than it was before.  With more than 40 meetings already scheduled for April, I can tell I'm going to be busier than I used to be, but it's a good kind of busy. 

I'm the SOC forecast analyst, SOC standing for School, Office, Craft.  So I'll be forecasting sales for a lot of different scissors and craft supplies.  Exciting... I know.

One big difference between this company and the one I came from is the way they utilize their software.  CSG has SAP and didn't utilize it for forecasting, which more or less made statistical forecasting impossible.  If I'd had easy access to good sales history, I could have written some formulas in Excel to generate stat forecasts, but even that would have been too time consuming since each product category had a different seasonality index and different trends and that's too many formulas for one person to try to figure out.  

But FBI (yeah, I went from CSG to FBI) uses JDE and I have access to several different forecast modules and some incredible reporting software.  So I can use the system to generate sales forecasts based on historical data, seasonality, trends, etc. and the system figures out the trends and seasonality per SKU so I don't have to try to figure that out myself.  And there are a lot of automated reports that get e-mailed to me all day.  So basically, I have all the tools I need to be successful right there at my fingertips.  Now I need to learn to use them. It's pretty cool.

But that's just what I do between workouts, which is what this blog is really about.  Today I ventured out for my first lunch run.  I no longer have a bike path that connects to the parking lot, so I ran on the sidewalk through a residential neighborhood.  The route was okay, but I'm convinced there's a better route.  

So I think I'm going to experiment a little with some different routes and see if I can come up with one or two that I really like.  One thing I'm really happy about is the hill I can see from our parking lot.  It's perfect for hill repeats.  It leads up to the Ag Building (whatever that is) and there's virtually no traffic since it's just a road to a parking lot.  One side is pretty steep, and the backside is longer and not as steep so I can run either side and mix it up.  Or I can run in the grass where there's a really short, really steep hill.  So I have three options rather than the one hill I had at CSG (it was a great hill for hill repeats though so I couldn't complain).  I was worried I wouldn't have any good hills nearby with my new job so I'm happy to have options.  And with it so close to work I can do whatever kind of warm-up I want and do hill repeats for most of my lunch hour.  Only a triathlete (or runner) would get excited about running a hill over and over at lunch.

I'm excited about statistical forecasting and hill repeats.  Geek.


IMoo Loops: More Than I Can Chew

I'm not sure if today was an act of insanity or stupidity.  I'm leaning toward stupidity.  I'm leaning heavily toward stupidity.  

The plan was a 7.5 hour workout.  I know it sounds long for March,  but my first 'A' race of the year is a half iron in early June and I'm about to start my build phase.  I wanted to end my base period with a big workout, mainly to give me a benchmark and see where I'm at and what I need to do to accomplish my goals.

The big problem with this workout, which become obvious early on, is that I didn't really do the proper workouts to prepare for it.  The original plan was to swim for 30 minutes at the Y, drive home, bike for 100 miles (two loops of the IM course) and then run 10 miles.  

The swim was good.  I swam with my H2O Audio, which I haven't done in a while.  I forgot how cool that thing is.  I had a good playlist going and kind of wanted to swim longer.  I didn't count laps, but I did check my pace occasionally and I was consistently around a 1:35 pace so I estimate I swam 1850 yards (a tad over a mile).

The bike was a disaster.  It started out with me discovering that the firmware update on my powertap computer made it an ANT+ computer and it no longer recognizes my hub (which isn't ANT+).  I screwed around with it for a few minutes hoping I could load the old firmware and be good to go.  Nope.  So I grabbed my Garmin so I could collect my data, but I don't have a Garmin mount on my tri bike so I stuffed the computer in my pocket.  So I rode without seeing data.  No power, time, speed....nothing.  

Early into the ride my sunglasses got caught by the wind and blew off and broke.  $200 sunglasses....gone.  This workout was quickly going downhill.  So I stuffed the pieces in my pocket and continued without glasses.  I ride without glasses a lot so it's not that big of a deal, but it was only 38 degrees when I left the house so my eyes were watering a lot without glasses on.

My expectations were low for the bike since it's early in the year, this would be my first century for the year, it was cold and windy....lots of reasons.  I figured my speed would be between 18-19 mph, hopefully closer to 19, but I would've been really happy with 18.5.  Every time I checked my computer: 17.5-17.8.  Crap.  Without my power meter, I wasn't sure if my power was low or if I was slow because of the wind (which I swear was ALWAYS a headwind).  I like to think it was the wind, but I think the truth is that I just wasn't riding hard enough. 

17.5 was the number I saw the most when I checked my computer so I figured I'd try to hold that pace the rest of the day.  Around the 75 mile mark, I began to realize how dumb I truly am.  This was my first ride on my tri bike this year, and I was hurting.  100 miles for a first ride on the tri bike is not a good idea.  My neck and shoulders were really sore from the aerobars and I had to sit up quite a bit.  My legs were getting tired, and the climbs were getting to me.  

In the end, I was on the bike almost 6 hours.  My average speed ended at 17.1.  My legs were really tired, and I could tell I didn't take in enough calories.  Not having the time in front of me reminding me to eat proved to be a problem.  I still had a lot of calories left on the bike, and I didn't bring enough for a 6 hour ride in the first place so I suspected I was pretty low on calories.  I was also really cold.  I was warm for the first 30 minutes of the bike, cold for the rest.  I hate spring in Wisconsin.

The run was terrible.  I wanted to run an 8:30 pace or better.  I also wanted to do 10 miles, but since I was on the bike so long I cut it down to 7.  I didn't want to the workout to go longer than 7.5 hours.  Clearly, I wasn't ready for a workout that long, so going longer wasn't going to help matters.  Plus, I start my new job tomorrow and I don't want to be completely destroyed.  

I only managed a 9 minute pace.  And I was still freezing.  I couldn't warm up.  Long workouts in 45 degree weather is not a good idea.  It's hard to dress for that.  Never again.

Looking back on this workout, I think it was a mistake.  I wasn't ready for it.  I learned a few things, but I also feel very discouraged.  It's early in the year, but I feel like I was way off pace and should have been faster if I'm actually going to achieve my goals.  I keep telling myself there's a lot of training time left, but I also keep telling myself that qualifying for Kona is way out of my reach.  I feel like I set my sights too high.  I was hoping this workout would go fairly well and I'd be encouraged to put in hard work and get where I need to be.  Instead, I'm discouraged.


I have a lot of work to do.  


On a positive note: I just finished a good base building block.  For three weeks I did every workout and hit all of my goals - except today.  I did 16 hours, 18 hours, and 20 hours.  Next week is a recovery week so I have 11.5 hours on the schedule.  And tomorrow is a rest day, my first rest day since Feb 23.  I'm looking forward to a day off, but I start my new job and I'm kind of nervous about that.


Form-Work Friday

Swimming is my least favorite of the three sports.  It doesn't come as naturally to me as running and biking, so that means I have to work a lot harder at it and that takes a little of the fun away (I do love the challenge, though).  I also don't like chlorine, and I'm not a fan of the salt water pools either.

But there is one thing I love about swimming that the other sports can't compete with: breakthroughs.  Because swimming is much more of a skill-dependent sport than the others, form is crucial.  If you have bad form, it doesn't matter how hard you work.  You'll still be slow.  But it's pretty fun when you figure out something you're doing wrong and you're instantly faster.  

It's been a while since I've had a breakthrough, and I had to pay for the last one by way of an underwater video analysis.  This one was a freebie (gotta love it).  It started at masters when the guys were talking about the breath control sets (we do breath control sets - 16x25 yards typically - and you can only breath 3 times, then 2 times, then 1, then 0 - I've never made it the length of the pool without breathing).  One of the guys claimed the trick to doing those is not kicking because your legs use too much oxygen.


I struggle the most during longer sets (regular sets - not breath control), and it feels like that is mostly driven by the lack of oxygen. I feel like I work too hard, get tired quickly, and then really struggle.  Maybe I kick too much and I'm using up all my oxygen.  So I decided to do some research on freestyle kicking.  

In the process, I came across a good video on head position and it got me thinking.  I look down.  Straight down.  Maybe my head is too low and I'm creating more drag and plowing through the water.  

So I went to the pool and focused on looking forward rather than down (so the water hits my head in the middle of my forehead) and I worked on kicking a little less.  Boom.  Faster.  Not by a ton, but I swam some of my fastest 100s ever.

This had me fired up and I did some more research and came across a video that talked about getting your butt up to help lift your legs.  Hmmmm....I've always tried to lift my legs by dropping my head.  It makes sense.  Bring your head up, your legs drop.  Put your head down, your legs come up.  But this was talking about a slight arch in your back to get your butt and legs closer to the surface to eliminate drag.  Maybe this will adjust for the slight drop in my legs when I look forward.

Yep....faster.  Breakthroughs are fun.

I typically make Fridays easy days since I train a lot on the weekends, so that makes them good days to dial back the intensity and work on form.  I've dubbed them Form-Work Fridays.  Having just had a swimming breakthrough, I'm really looking forward to today's workout. I don't expect another breakthrough, but I need more work on my recent fixes to my form to make sure I don't revert to my old ways. But I'm kind of hoping for another breakthrough, just not expecting it. Three in one week....unlikely. 

Today I'm going to try a few new drills from GoSwim (if you need a site with great videos of swimming drills, this is the site for you) and some dry land work - dips, push-ups and core work.

Freestyle - Stun Gun from Glenn Mills on Vimeo.

Freestyle - Narrow Your Shoulders from Glenn Mills on Vimeo.


For the latest in douchebaggery, check out this link:  http://content.usatoday.com/communities/gameon/post/2010/03/lance-armstrong-thinks-tony-kornheiser-is-an-idiot/1

I don't really care if people like cyclists or not, but when you say, 'run them down' you strike a nerve.  I think what irritates me most is that ESPN hasn't done anything about this yet.  Being a sports network, you'd think they would promote (to an extent) all sports whether they give them a lot of coverage or not.  Shouldn't they be a network filled with people who absolutely love sports and encourage others to be active and participate, even if the sport they choose isn't as mainstream as football?  

But that's not ESPN's style.  They don't really love sports.  They love to criticize them and the people who participate in them. 



Lance Tweetstrong

I signed up for a Twitter account, mainly so I can follow some people, including Lance.  I've yet to tweet, and I'm not sure I'm going to.  We'll see.

Following Lance is kind of fun, but that guy tweets way too much.  It's over-whelming.  And I'm pretty sure they're not all him.  I think he's got a PR person doing some tweeting and I find it annoying.  I may have to stop following him because of it.  I can barely find Conan's tweets in the middle of all of Lance's.

Anyway, Lance announced a while ago that he's going to do the Kona Ironman in 2011 and that - of course - has sparked the debates.  Can Lance win? Will he even make the top 10?  Will he even win the bike?

I don't know the answers, but I do know it's going to be interesting.  I'm not a big Lance fan, but I wouldn't be too quick to write him off.  Winning will be a stretch and require a very good day and perhaps even a little bit of luck. But I think he's going to be competitive and surprise a few people.  A lot of it depends on how serious he takes it.

For those who think he doesn't stand a chance, don't forget he started out as a triathlete (and a very good one).  Here's a video of Lance from his tri days.  It's Lance at the age of 18 battling the top triathletes in the country.  The quality isn't great, but it's pretty interesting.

Clearly, he's very fast and knows the importance of hydration:


Race Report: Shamrock Shuffle 5K

It's been a really long time since I've raced.  My last race was the Great Floridian back in October.  As much as I love training, I really love racing so it felt great to get out and run hard.

The Shamrock Shuffle isn't a 5k you're going to set a PR at.  You have to climb Observatory Hill...TWICE.  That's A LOT of climbing for 3.1 miles.  

The race starts in  downtown Madison on State Street, which is a gradual downhill, so the pace starts out pretty fast.  I did the unthinkable on Saturday - a 5 hour trainer ride (not recommended) - so I was a little concerned about my legs holding up on the hills.  I wanted to go out easy(ish) and hopefully pick it up a bit toward the end.  I went out at a 5:45 pace.  So much for easy.

I run with a Garmin so I saw early on that I was running too hard so I backed off. Once I dialed it back to a 6:15 pace I was amazed at how many people were passing me.  I started questioning my watch.  Was I really running a 6:15 or was I running an 8:15?  People were flying by me....

....until Observatory.  That's when I knew my watch was fine and they were just fired up about the first race of the year and went out too hard.  I managed to hold a 6:30 pace up Observatory and made up a lot of the lost ground on everyone who went out too hard.

After that, the course flattened out quite a bit and I settled into my pace and tried to save a little energy for the second climb over Observatory.  My legs were holding up pretty well, and I made up a few places as people faded.

The second climb was tough, and I was starting to feel the fatigue.  But once at the top, you descend and then head down State Street to the finish.

I finished with a time of 20:12, 16th overall, 5th in my division.  I'm really happy with my time, and I'm especially happy because my average heart rate was only 89% of max.  That's high, but I'm typically around 93-95% for a 5K.   I think my legs were too tired to allow me to work hard enough to get my HR that high, which makes me think I might finally break my 5K PR this year.  

Courtney and Erika (Courtney's best friend...I mean BFF) also ran the race, their first 5K.  Their first running race ever, actually.  They certainly didn't pick an easy one for their first race, but they gutted it out and did really well.  Courtney struggled a bit on Observatory toward the end and that gave Erika a chance to pull away so she finished 30 seconds ahead of Courtney.  

Their goal was to run 10 minute miles, and Erika finished with a 9:30 pace and Courtney finished at a 9:41 pace.  As far as beating goals goes, they dominated the dojo.

My goal was a sub 6:30 pace, and I finished with a 6:30 average exactly.   So they win.  And like the OCD triathlete I am, I had to take off to get in some more training.  They went to the bar and drank green beer.  They win again.

Me and Courtney after the race.

 The girls drinking green beer at the bar (while I run).


Nerd Persecution

I get picked on a lot for my running shoes, and I didn't help matters the other day when I bought a new pair of shoes - Pearl Izumi Streaks.  The picture doesn't really show quite how blue they really are.  In fact, they don't look too bad in the picture.

Trust me.  They're blue....very, very blue.  And very, very bright.  They're also very light and very comfortable.  I typically hate shoes the first time I run in them, and then I regret buying them.  They're ugly AND uncomfortable.  But I keep running in them and after a few runs I get used to them and like them.  But I loved these right from the start.  And with a name like Streak, I figure if I ever decide to go streaking I've got some footwear (footwear is allowed during streaking, right?).

I don't intentionally choose ugly and/or bright colored shoes.  I hate them actually.  It's just that the shoes I like typically come in atrocious colors.  It's not my fault.   I like racing flats and they tend to come in horrible colors. 

I got picked on for my bright yellow zoots:

I got picked on for my bright red Sauconys (which I still have and run in occassionally):

I haven't run in them yet, but I know I'll get picked on for my Zoot Ali'is.

And, of course, I get picked on for my Vibram Five Fingers:

Here's a good example of what I'm talking about.  I really like the idea behind the new Brooks Green Silence shoes.  A racing flat that's eco friendly.  But they're not green, nor do they scream silence.

Those are some pretty ugly shoes.

Or how about the Plana Terra Vivo Barefoot Evo?  It's a running shoe that's supposed to simulate barefoot running.  But, as far as I know, barefoot running doesn't come with the public humiliation these shoes are guaranteed to come with:

I think people need to be more accepting of those of us forced - yes, forced - to run in ugly shoes.  It's not our fault.  We're victims.

To quote the movie Revenge of the Nerds: We will never be free until nerd persecution ends. 


A Proper Flogging

 If I were a shark, I think I'd have really dull teeth.  At least that's how I feel at masters.  I swim in the advanced lane so I guess that would make me a shark (going by the classification system the Y used when I was a kid - I started as a minnow and now that I'm 35 I've finally made it to shark) but I get absolutely destroyed in that lane.  It's brutal.  It's a beating.  A proper flogging as some might say. 

You're probably wondering why I keep swimming in the advanced lane.  To be completely honest....I don't know.  I'm too stubborn to drop down to the intermediate lane I guess.  And I like the yardage the advanced lanes do.  And I'm convinced it will make me faster.

Last night was especially tough, and I should have seen it coming because the whole night started on a bad note.  Before class I dropped my favorite swim cap in the urinal.  Kiss that cap good-bye (not literally) because there is absolutely no way I'm pulling something from the urinal and putting it on my head.  

Here's the beating:

Warm Up
100 swim/100 kick/100 pull/ 100 IM
8x50 on 1:00

Main Set
4x200 descending
50 easy

8x100 descending
50 easy  

16x50 descending
50 easy

8x25 Breath Control (3,2,1,0)

Cool Down
100 easy

Remember my post about the nipple freeze?  You know, yesterday's post.  I also post my blog on iamtri.com and someone posted a link to this fine product...

It DOES exist.


Be Careful What You Search For

Have you ever searched for something on Google and later had a tough time explaining that search?  I have, and sometimes when I search for things that make sense at the time but are kind of oddball searches, I think about how I might explain that search.

Those of you who have been following my blog since the beginning probably know I have a set of wheels with spokes that come loose occasionally.  They’re great wheels, but for whatever reason I need to take them in about once a summer to have the spokes tightened.  The first time it happened, I wasn’t quite sure what to do about it.  Do I take them to a shop, send them back to the manufacturer or fix them myself?  Being a man who has never trued a set of wheels, but owns a truing stand, I went for option three.  Nothing like learning about wheels on a $3,000 set of wheels.

I talked to a local bike shop about the spokes and they told me that they use a loctite-like product on the spoke nipples called Nipple Freeze.  That should fix it, they said.  Nipple freeze.  I need to get my hands on some of that.

So I went home and Googled nipple freeze.  Believe it or not, the results weren’t filled with bike-related products.  Even worse, as I typed nipple freeze into the search bar I actually expected the first link to be the answer to my problems.  I was so focused on those wheels I didn’t even see it coming.  Clearly, I needed to refine my search.  I never did find the product they were talking about, and after learning more about the wheels I opted to send them back to the manufacturer and not risk ruining them with my backyard mechanics. 

Probably two months later, my ex-girlfriend was on my computer searching for something that started with an ‘n.’  Google gives you search suggestions based on past searches so…..

... she turns to me and asks, ‘why were you searching for nipple freeze?’


‘What are you planning?’

Be careful what you search for.  You may need to explain it later.


No More Distractions

Last week was the first week of my final base period before I begin my two build cycles in preparation for my first 'A' race of the season.  And what a great week it was.  For the first time in a long time, I was completely focused on my training and hitting my goals.  It felt great.  And in the end, it was my best week of training this year.  It was my highest overall volume, my highest run volume, highest swim volume and second highest bike volume. 

Our weather is beginning to break so the snow is melting, the sun is shining more and the temperature is finally tolerable.  While that helps, I don't think that was the main driver behind my great week.  

I don't blog about my job much, but those who have followed my blog for a while probably know I was asked to relocate to the east coast for work, and I turned it down which means my job is ending on April 2.  I tried to block out the stress of financial uncertainty, but that's tough to do.  I'm sure it affected my training.

I was offered a job a little over a week ago, which I accepted.  It's basically the same thing I do now for more money and it's in Madison.  It feels really good not to worry about how I'm going to pay my rent this summer so now I can focus on my training. The only disappointment is that I've really enjoyed working in the bike industry, and it's tough to leave....but I have no choice.

With my financial situation taken care of, I committed to some races this summer.  I registered for two half ironmans, a sprint tri, a duathlon and booked hotels.  Here are the races I'm committed to this year:

March 14, 2010 - Madison Shamrock Shuffle.  5K run.
March 20, 2010 - SBR Coaching One-Hour Indoor Time Trial.
April 17, 2010 - April Du  2 mile run,  12 mile bike, 2 mile run.
April 24, 2010 - Crazy Legs Classic 8K run.
May 1, 2010 - Alexandria Triathlon - 600 yard pool swim, 13 mile bike, 2.8 mile run
May 15, 2010 - Beloit Wellness Duathlon  2 mile run, 11 mile bike, 2 mile run.
June 6, 2010 - Lake Mills Traithlon - .25 mile swim, 16 mile bike, 3.1 mile run
June 13, 2010 - Liberty Half Ironman - 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run
July 18, 2020 - Door County Half Ironman  1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run
September 12, 2010 - Ironman Wisconsin  2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run
I'll probably add some smaller races throughout the year, 5Ks and maybe a sprint tri or two (Silver Lake Triathlon, for example...couldn't find the date or registration info online) but that's the majority of my race schedule for the year.  
With my job situation taken care of, my race schedule and training plan in place, I can now relax and focus on my training and enjoying the summer.  I think it's going to be a good year.



The Best Story...

Some people think it's strange I'm afraid of birds.  I think it's strange Courtney is afraid of rabbits.  Being a zoology major, her response is typically something like, 'lagomorphs are scary.  They're upredictable.'  Well....they definitely unpredictable.  I'll give her that one.  

I don't think they're scary, but the one in the picture is a little scary.  So is the guy holding that overgrown lagomorph.

Anyway, Courtney works for the public health department so she works with the animal control officers.  The other day she told me one of the best stories I've heard in a very long time.

A friend of one of the animal control officers has a hunting dog and their neighbor has a rabbit.  They keep the rabbit outdoors in a cage, and don't do a good job keeping the cage latched so the rabbit gets out and makes its way into the neighbors yard.  She told them she has a hunting dog - trained to hunt - and they need to latch the cage or they may not have a rabbit for very long.

She came home from work one day to find her dog in the backyard throwing something around like a rag doll.  Sure enough, it was the rabbit. Dead, very dead....but not mangled.  So she had an idea.  Rather than let the neighbors think their pet rabbit suffered a traumatic death, she put the rabbit back in the cage so they would think the rabbit died of natural causes.

Later she heard some commotion next door by the rabbit cage.  The whole family was out there and she wandered over pretending not to know about the rabbit.  She asked what was going on.  They said, 'our rabbit died two days ago and now it's back in the cage.' 


Workout Wednesday - Recovery Ride

Recovery workouts, or easy workouts, are often referred to as junk miles.  Then, of course, there comes along programs that eliminate the "junk."  That sounds good in theory, but I'm not a big believer in those programs.  They have people that get good results with them, but I'm skeptical of programs like 'run less, run better.'  It's good marketing, though.  I'll give them that much.

I think those programs work for people who never had intensity in their program, but for everyone else I think you need your hard workouts and your 'junk' miles.  I'm a big believe in volume.  Just look at American long distance running.  For years our elite athletes tried programs that focused on less volume and we fell off the map.  Now, they're all going old school and running 100+ miles per week and starting to become competitive again.

With that said, I say don't make your 'junk' miles worthless.  Don't make them junk.  Keep them easy so you're recovered enough for your hard workout, but this is the perfect time to work on form.  When running easy, I focus on good form, landing on the balls of my feet and I count my cadence to make sure my turnover is high.  Swimming is all about form as well, and my easy workouts typically have more drills than the others.

Below is what I'm currently doing on the trainer for my recovery rides, which is easy but I try to make it beneficial so it's not 'junk.'  When I start doing these outdoors, I'll try to do something similar although I sometimes just go for an easy ride with friends and enjoy the weather (I don't think those would qualify as 'junk' miles either).

Recovery Ride 1:15 roughly 20 miles

Warm up (15 minutes)
7 minutes easy (80-110 watts)
6x:30 (big ring - 180ish watts/small ring 80ish watts - just to get loosened up)
5 minutes easy

10 x 1:00 one-legged drills (alternate legs - one minute each leg)

Main Set
35 minutes 140-160 watts (95+ cadence)

10 x 1:00 one-legged drills (alternate legs - one minute each leg)

Cool Down
5 minutes easy

The one-legged drills can be tough, but they won't kill your hard workout and they help smooth out your pedal stroke.  I like to keep my cadence really high during the main set to get used to spinning fast.  Training for triathlons it seems like I do a lot of time trial type of workouts (even my long rides tend to be like this) and my cadence is usually around 85 so it feels good to mix it up and train my leg muscles differently.  I think it makes you a more well-rounded cyclist.


My Other Significant Other

It’s no secret that Training Peaks runs my life.  So much so, in fact, that my significant other calls Training Peaks my other significant other.  When dating, everyone has their baggage that they need to bring out into the open at some point.  Some have kids. Some have a crazy ex. I have Training Peaks. 

Like any relationship, me and Training Peaks have our rough patches and right now we’re just coming out of one of these rough spots.  A while ago, I spent quite a bit of time creating my ATP (annual training plan).  In one of Training Peak’s many updates recently, my ATP was completely wiped out.  It was frustrating to say the least.  All that work….gone.  And without a plan, I wander around aimlessly.  It was chaos.

So I started from scratch and put the ATP back together.  It’s more or less that same, except it looks like the Rockman Half Ironman may be off the schedule.  They haven’t updated their site with a date for this year, and when I tried to e-mail the race director to find out if a date has been set the e-mail was bounced back to me.  So I found a half ironman in MN one week after the Rockman that I think I’m going to put on the schedule.  That will force me to rework things a bit, but at least I can count on that race actually happening so there shouldn’t be any last minute changes.  And that race is one week after one of my favorite races: The Lake Mills Sprint Triathlon.  This will give me a chance to do that race AND get in my early season half.  Perfect.

My plan is to have two ‘A’ races this season; an early season half ironman (most likely the Liberty Triathlon in MN) and Ironman Wisconsin.  I’ll taper for these and give them everything I have.  I’ll have one ‘B’ race: Door County Half Ironman, and the rest of my races will be ‘C’ races, meaning I’ll go into them tired and do the best I can. 

Once I had the race plan set, I adjusted my training phases and then went one step further than I did last time.  I’ve had a few long key workouts in mind, so I decided to plug those into the schedule to make sure they fit and that I’m not trying to squeeze them in at the last minute.  I knew I wanted to do three long bricks this year, and I knew I wanted one of them to fall at the end of my base building phases prior to my first ‘A’ race.  I’ll do two more later in the summer.  I’ve got a lot of bricks planned, but only three really long ones. 

What’s really long, you ask?  30 minute swim, 100-112 mile bike, 13-16 mile run. 

The first one on the schedule is the shortest at 30 min swim, 100 mile bike, 13.1 mile run.  It wasn’t until I actually plugged it into the training plan that I realized how quickly that day is approaching.  I’m entering my last month of base training right now, which means that workout is only 3 weeks away.  *gulp*

My swim will be at a steady pace, probably about IM pace.  The bike will be below my goal IM power, but not much.  This is where the workout has potential to fall apart on me.  The run will be as close to goal IM pace as possible.  So basically, I hope to hold about 200-210 watts on the bike and run 8 minute miles (I’ll be happy with anything under 8:45 at this point since my bike fitness isn’t up to par yet so I’ll probably be pretty worked after 100 miles). 

You might be wondering why I’m doing such a long workout so early in the season.  Two reasons: build endurance and test my fitness.  I expect to struggle a bit on this one (or perhaps A LOT), but I think it will be a good way to see where I’m at and what I need to do to close the gap between where I want to be fitness-wise and where I actually am.

Then I enter into my build phase where I start to do more race-specific workouts for my half ironman.  I’ll be doing a lot of tempo bricks where I hold tempo power for 2:30-3:00 hours and then run for about an hour.  I did several of those last year, and they helped me prepare for my half ironman more than any other workout I’ve done.

So now that the ATP is back in place, me and Training Peaks are on speaking terms again, and I no longer wander around aimlessly.  A man with a plan. 

Now for the tough part: executing that plan.