Archive for June 8, 2011

Like a lot of amateur endurance athletes out there if you walk into our kitchen and glance at the door of the refrigerator, there is a training schedule affixed to the door.  Day after day, week after week after each workout I take a yellow highlighter and draw a line through that days workout.  Nowadays as we are preparing for our first ever triathlon, there are usually two workouts to cross off of our list.

A run and a swim, a bike and a swim, a run and a strength training session or a brick workout on Saturday as I transition directly from the bike to my run with no break.

 I typically have three training calendars a year in 18-20 week increments.  Either an 18-20 week marathon training schedule, or a “transition” schedule where I am working on a specific part of my training, such as improving my speed or hill climbing abilities, or like this spring where I focused on learning to swim.

A lot of athletes and coaches refer to this as periodization.  Periodization is an organized approach to training that involves progressive cycling of various aspects of a training program over a specific period of time.  It is a way of alternating training to its peak during season. 

The goal in periodization is to introduce new movements and activities as you progress through the training cycle to specify your training right up until you reach your “A” race.

Only doing speed work or only running long slow endurance workouts will create a very one-dimensional athlete.  It also will not allow you to reach your maximum potential at any particular distance or event, as there are many, many strengths and characteristics to “racing fast”.  Whether your focus is short distances like the mile or 5K or the half-marathon and marathon.

Speed, strength, endurance and especially becoming mentally tough is paramount to “being your best” as my friend Steve Speirs likes to say.

With only 10 days left before the Holland, TX 5K our “A” race for the spring, my training plan on the magic refrigerator is down to just a few more squares.  Tonight is race number 5 of the Summer Sunstroke Stampede series here in Austin, then it is back to a heavy swim/run balanced ramp up to Holland on June 18th.

Monday June 20th marks the beginning of a new training cycle for me, one that when complete will not only have gotten us through our first triathlon on July 31st, but will deposit us to the starting line of one of – if not the – greatest marathons in the world. 

The NYC Marathon– November 6, 2011.

NYC Marathon

Putting together training plans has become something that I really enjoy.  I have put together quite a few for myself over the years and lately, I have been asked to put together half-marathon and marathon training plans for some of my runner friends.  Taking a step back and constructing a plan from scratch for another runner has really helped me look deeper into my own training philosophies and has helped me be much more conscious of taking my rest days seriously and knowing when to listen to my body.

When it is o.k. to push hard and when I need to back off.  The process has made me a much better conditioned athlete and to the point where I believe that even though I am going to be celebrating yet another birthday in just a few weeks, 2011 will be another year of best performances and PR’s.

I know those accomplishments can’t and won’t continue on forever.  That is just the nature of the beast when you are 43/44 years old.  But I plan on doing the best I can for as long as I can, until “getting faster” is no longer my priority.  At that point I hope it will be all about how many more years I can run and race, not necessarily how fast I can do it.

I had a feeling 8+ weeks ago when we started swimming that I was going to if nothing else find another form of exercise to incorporate into my training.  If it led to me becoming a successful triathlete – fantastic.  But if all it meant was I could add another workout to my regimen, one that would add zero impact to my hips, knees and ankles – that sounded great to me.

Although Jack’s Generic Triathlon on July 31st is my only Tri scheduled this year as NYC Marathon training begins actually 17 days before Jack’s, I will continue to swim throughout the fall and winter as we race in NY and then again at the Boston Marathon next April. 

At that point it will be triathlon season once again, and hopefully we will be in a place where the Austin-based Longhorn 70.3 Half-Ironman becomes our goal to build for in October of 2012.

It is amazing to me sometimes that I can set goals that far in advance and never lose the excitement of chasing them down.  There are always a lot of surprises along the way.  New races that pop up during the course of a training period.  Injuries to battle.  Workouts that seem much harder than anticipated, which will shift my priorities a bit – or perhaps a series of hill repeats that become a bit “too easy” – whatever that means – which will require me to dig a little deeper as I grow stronger.

The road to NYC is going to be my most challenging training period yet.

52 swims covering 88,250 Meters or 55 miles.

28 Bike Rides covering 433.8 miles.

99 Runs covering 877.20 miles.

1,365 miles in sum.  All to reach Staten Island on Nov. 6th.

It’s all part of the journey.  Sometimes I feel like I actually enjoy the training for a marathon more than the race itself.  The more finish lines I cross I think I am starting to understand that is actually the easy part.

It’s the starting line that is hard to get to.  After you go through everything that is required to get there, anybody can finish.

NYC Marathon Training Plan - 2011