Friday, March 21, 2008

You Can't PR Every Day matter how cool that would be! On Wednesday, I hooked up with a Masters' group that swims out of Scottsdale, AZ (near my work) for a lunchtime swim. After a standard warm-up...BAM...the coach says "1500 for time"....yuck! A 1500 is something that I kind of have to mentally prepare for. Within 30 seconds of the coach saying this, I was off on my swim. I had no expectations other than to complete the swim without falling apart. To my left was Lewis Elliot a local pro triathlete who was/is faster than me (100 over 1500 to be exact) and another life-long swimmer-type on my right (a couple of lengths faster than me over 1500). Great pacers to say the least. 19:40 later I was done. PR. 1:18/100y. Just two weeks back I did a 22:40, which I was satisfied with. I am trying to figure out how this happened. 1) I did not have anyone to pace off of two weeks ago, 2) The pool I swam at two weeks ago is more of a rec pool with lap lanes vs the pool I swam in a couple of days ago which is a pure lap pool, 3) My new stroke (catch and work the water back) is coming around. Whatever the case, a new bar has been set. The great thing is that it is only March and I know I can and will get faster. When I compare this swim to the swim I did with a different Masters' group in Mesa, AZ this morning (lots of 200s), I've come to the following conclusions: A) You can't PR every day. I felt sloppy and just flat out slow in the water today. This might be gross to some, but I was working so hard to over-compensate for my lack of form that I threw-up in my mouth after one of the 200s. This display leads me to B) Go to Masters with a plan. We've all been done it. You show up at Masters looking to get a "good swim", but end up throwing down just because. I did this same thing last year over and over again and it ended up leaving me too toasted to get anything else with quality done. Lesson learned!

On tap this weekend I'll be heading out early for a 80+ miles of hilly road riding with one of my local tri buddies, Mike Wares, who just qualified for Kona at IM New Zealand! He rocks. On Saturday I have a full day with a long trail run with zone 4/5+ intervals, a zone 2/3 MTB and a nice swim set with plenty of drills and a little variable speed work, nothing above tempo. Rock and roll.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Wheel Turns

Cruise control has officially been engaged because workouts are getting harder, work never lets up...and....there are still only 24hrs in a day. The good thing is that I never seem to get bored with pushing my body...especially when the positive results continue to roll. The first week of tough Base 3 workouts were tough and have left me pretty tired. Not too tired though to take on another couple of weeks. This week will increase the volume a bit and has me wondering where it is going to fit, but I am confident it will get done. I've found a nice balance doing 4 swims/week. I have been doing 1 short/drill swim solo and then hook up with masters for the other 3 sets. It is prime lake swimming time here in AZ, so I might round up some tri-buds and head to do some open water swimming this weekend. My new Zoot Xenith is screaming at me to be used. I can't wait. On the bike, I am looking at 2 super hard trainer workouts, 2 super easy short/recovery rides, 1 long zone 2/3 road ride with plenty of climbing and 1 fun day w/a couple of hours on the mtb. I have been really pushing the envelope on the trails (Hawes/Red Mountain) near my house. I am getting super comfortable on my Cannondale Taurine and think I have found a nearly ideal tire pressure for desert riding. 25psi front and rear. What good is all this hard training if I waste it all making up for poor handling? The run is progressing well and I pretty much feel more comfortable and faster with each and every run. 1hr on the trails seems par for the course and is readily becoming "fun." I am thinking of throwing in some more run-only races, but we'll see. Time to set up the torture rack (trainer) for tomorrow mornings ride.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Heading in the Right Direction

I have crested the hurdle of how to positively manage higher volume and intensity. This is a great feeling because I no longer freak out about how I am going to fit everything into a day and, more importantly, I am physically and mentally ready for each workout....easy or hard. So, three cheers for a having put in extra long early base training. Fully into base 3 now, all tests indicate that I am not only heading in the right direction, but am ahead of schedule. The first true test will come on April 26 at the Arizona Xtreme Desert Xterra. I'll be out of the lab soon and into race season mode. Key training highlights for the swim are that I've added 1-2 extra easy/drill set swims per week. These are really helping my times consistently come down and are great for all around recovery. Biking is going as planned and, similar to the swim, I have added some additional easy miles. On the run I've integrated higher intensity bricks off the bike. These never feel "good", but really get my mind and body into race mode. I will be throwing in some more race specific workouts as the April 26 race draws closer like lake swims, swim start simulation sets, short interval bricks (swim-bike-swim-bike) and, fortunately, lots of pre-riding the is 15min from my house. All in stride for now. Onto a trainer workout this AM, an easy jog around beautiful Paradise Valley at lunch followed up by a nice easy spin tonight after work..maybe even a night mtb ride instead.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

R&R In Full Swing

I am now on the tail end of a well executed recovery week. I say "well executed" because I think it takes just about as much discipline to follow a lower volume and intensity schedule as it does to follow the alternative. This being said, I can't say I didn't have the urge to get out an train a little extra here or have thoughts about like "my competition is out training while I am getting slow." Bottom line: I am rested and ready to put some serious focus and energy on my next phase of training. Base 3.

This week the final USA Triathlon rankings were published an I finished 2007 ranked 7th in the 25-29 age group with "Honorable Mention" status. This is an improvement over 2006 where I finished being ranked 12th. I was also super excited to see my XTERRA buds to receive high ranks with Trevor Glavin getting 1st (25-29), James Walsh getting 2nd (25-29) and Tom Obrien getting 6th (30-34). Great job All Americans!

During rest weeks I typically conduct some tests. Nothing too taxing in duration. I still question testing during rest week. The workouts are inherently hard and are kinds of tough to get up for mentally. I did set power PRs for the 30sec, 1min and 5min bike tests. Good. I will be doing a couple 300s at the pool tomorrow the check progress there also. Should be good.

Stay tuned for a full explanation of my upcoming East Coast XTERRA trip. My travel crew have all bought plane tickets, so it's on!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

A Full Weekend of Fun

The work / life / training balance has been restored post my week long Arizona training camp. I must say that the time off work has renewed my ability to be more productive at the office, which has allowed me more time and more motivation to train and has added some positive perspective as to what I am capable of with respect to training, which is a lot. Although I am actively pushing through later base training phases with an ever increase in intensity, with the blessing of my coach Brian Grasky, I will add on some smart volume. By "smart" all I really mean is inserting easy/recovery volume, most likely on the bike. My intensity won't change at all. It is where it needs to be. To get the most out of my training and to optimize my time at home, I have committed to get the majority of my working out done in the morning prior to work and at lunch. Biking and running are easy to fit in, and fortunately, I can get to masters swimming at lunch with Sun Devil Masters or in the mornings or evenings with Mesa Aquatics. All bases are covered.

I had a good swim test this weekend. I did 1500m in 22:40 (1:22.5/100y or 1:30.7/100m). Without having done anything this long all season, I'll take it. Looking at my splits, I actually got faster after about 800m, or more accurately, negative split the thing by 3 seconds/100. This means that I need to warm up good when race season rolls around and that I probably need to practice going harder for longer and explore my upper limits. Pacing for 1500m is tough, so this exploration will probably be painful, but time well spent. To aide in my venture, I got a sweet new drag suit (hey, don't judge, it was on sale), some new paddles (red ones) and stretch cordz from Swim Outlet. I am super aware now, that my new stroke will require some significant muscle endurance enhancement.