Posts Tagged ‘Half Ironman Training’

Here we are.

After more than 960 run miles, 1,672 miles on the bike and 78 miles in the water swimming we only have 70.3 miles to go.

When you put it that way, the half-ironman doesn’t sound so bad.  Of course racing 70.3 miles with only a short 3-4 minute break in transition getting out of our wetsuit, into our shoes and onto our bike and then another short 1 1/2 minutes transitioning from the bike to the run is a little different from just consistently logging training miles.

We have had a good mixture of volume and intensity during this training cycle, very rarely riding any mileage slower than 19-20 mph, and very rarely running any miles that were more than 30 seconds +/- slower than what we hope will be our run pace during the half marathon portion of things on Sunday.

The swim is going to be the big variable – as it is for a lot of triathletes who do not come to the sport with a strong swim background.  I would not be surprised if I am out of the water in just under 45 minutes.  That is what we are hoping for.  But it could be as long as 3-4 minutes more than that if we have some issues with sighting on the course, there could be a current in the river and of course, the entire “swimming in a  crowd” aspect of the open water swim in a triathlon.

I am going to try to stay calm early on the swim, settle into a rhythm and then gradually start to pull harder and quicker after the first 300-400 meters.  1,931 meters is a long way to swim, that is almost as far as Michael Phelps swam COMBINED in all of his olympic races.  The first 200 meters is not going to make or break my day at Kerrville.  In fact, the entire swim is going to make up only 15% or so of my total race time no matter how fast I swim.  It is all about staying calm, not panicking and not expending useless and very precious energy out there in the water thrashing around like a wild-man.

We’ll have plenty of time to go “beast-mode” during the bike and the run.

The swim just isn’t the place for that given our experience level and skill set.

This week has been a good one leading up to race day.  We are 100% over our viral infection.  The antibiotics did the trick and we only have one more “dose” of pills to take on Saturday morning before we are officially done with our treatment.

We had a very nice run on Tuesday, a solid swim Tuesday afternoon (1,000 meters in 20:58) and a quick ride on the TRI bike early Wednesday morning (12.6 miles in 38 minutes).  The bike is tuned up, cleaned and lubed and ready to roll after I had it in for some adjustments and a new rear brake cable at the Bicycle Sports Shop.  Short of a flat tire on race day knock on wood – the bike should function just as we hope it will on race day.

After an easy 10K run Thursday morning and a final 1000 meter swim Thursday afternoon, there are no workouts left on the calendar.  Just complete rest on Friday and Saturday and we’ll be headed off to Kerrville for the race.

This is a two-transition area race where T1 (swim to bike) is in a different location than T2 (bike to run).

That is going to require me to leave my bike overnight on Saturday in the transition area near the lake and our hotel – returning there on Sunday morning pre-race to lay out my transition area mat, my shoes, helmet, glasses, gloves, nutrition and all of the things I will need to flip the switch from swimmer to cyclist.  It also means that coming out of the water I need to “bag up” all of my swim stuff and transition area things (wetsuit, goggles, cap, towels etc.) before I depart on the bike.  The race officials will move my bag to the T2 area for me to retrieve it after the race.

T2 is a “clean transition” area, meaning that my run bag is going to be arranged there on the rack by my race number.  I will have to come in on the bike, find my bag, rack my bike, dump my contents out, (run shoes, visor, watch, race number belt, nutrition) – get changed, rebag my bike items and then head out to the run course.

This is going to make my transition times a bit longer than usual, but it is the same for all of the athletes.  I’m going to use the extra time to focus on the task at hand, catch a breath and get ready to do battle in the next phase of the race.

The bike course is a two-loop course for the Half-Ironman participants, so I will be able to get a good feel for the hills and wind on the first loop, then start to hammer away on the second loop.

The run course is actually a 4-loop course for the half-distance.  So I will run past the same areas many times giving me a great opportunity to see Dawn and Landry and get some much-needed encouragement and smiles during the last phase of the race.

I hate to put a time goal out there on a race like this with so many variables.  But we’re going to call the ball at 5:15 to 5:20 for Sunday.  Anything faster than that we will call a big win.  Anything slower, we will have to just keep fighting to the finish and determine where we need to work harder the next time.  This is the end of the road for the triathlon season for us.  After a recovery week we will fall right into Houston Marathon training for the race on 1-13-13.  Our “A” race for the year, and our assault on that sub 3-hour marathon.

Sunday is a celebration of a lot of hard work and a lot of tough training.  I’m going to remember to smile a lot and enjoy it while I am out there.

There are a lot of people who would love to be out there doing what I am going to be doing in Kerrville – Dom most certainly being one of them.

I’m going to cherish the experience, race hard and hopefully create another memory for little Landry to draw on as she gets older.

Sunday will be the day her Daddy became a half-ironman finisher.  Time to go get ours.

If you would like to track me during the race on Sunday please visit:

After you fill out a quick registration, enter my name:  Joe Marruchella and you can sign up for e-mail or text message alerts during the race.

Thanks for all the great support during this training cycle, especially my two girls at home who put up with early morning alarm clocks, long bike rides with Daddy being gone on Saturday mornings, and some slow shuffling sore muscles and much-needed naps on the weekends.  You guys are the greatest, I could not love you any more than I do.  Bring those hugs to the finish line on Sunday.  I’m going to need them 🙂

On Monday at lunchtime I wriggled into my wetsuit, slid into Deep Eddy Pool and swam 100 lengths of the 33.3 yard pool (3,045 meters) in one hour and 38 seconds.

It was our best swim to date, and if that pace were to hold to form over our 1,923 meter swim at Kerrville – we would be getting out of the water in under 40 minutes with good sighting.

It was a busy day at the pool where I had to share a lane with another swimmer. This required me to swim in just the “left-half” of the lane, be very conscious of my form and line and make sure that I didn’t drift either into the lane divider or the other swimmer. It gave me the opportunity to practice swimming alongside another athlete as I was a bit faster than my lane partner. That served as a great opportunity to deal with some turbulent water and splashing going on that would attempt to disrupt my breathing and rhythm. Very similar to points during an open water triathlon swim. I would have preferred to have the lane to myself of course, but all things considered – it was actually a much better workout for me as it was.

The swim was my only workout of the day – just an easy recovery day to help work out the kinks from our 20-mile long run on Sunday capping off a 180 mile training week. The rejuvenation was very welcomed and we hit the ground literally running on Tuesday with an 11-mile run, fitting on the 11th anniversary of 9-11, and a 35 mile bike ride in the afternoon. For the 6th consecutive week we will swim, bike and run further than we have the week before, further than we ever have in any seven day period and then on Sunday we will finally reach the end of the line. We will have made it through week 21 of our half-ironman training plan.

All that will remain will be our two-week taper period. A time to reduce mileage and intensity that will allow our body to manifest all of the gains made over the last 20+ weeks into a finely tuned, well-prepared athlete who is peaking at just the right time for race day. 191.53 miles on deck this week – 5.33 in the water, 126.00 in the saddle and 60.20 on the running trail. Big mileage, tough workouts, but I find myself attacking each one of them with a great deal of zest and determination.

A runner friend of mine paid me a great compliment on Monday, he said,

“Good progress on the swimming Joe, just as methodical and ruthless as you are about your running”.

Coming from one of the most dedicated, methodical, disciplined marathoners I know – the kind words really hit home. The one word that really struck a chord with me however was “ruthless”.

It brought me back to my ride on Saturday morning, where with a cold-front arriving to Austin in the morning I rode directly into a 20 mph headwind all the way from my front door to Andice, TX. Exactly 26.2 miles ironically.

To describe the ride is something that I don’t really think will do it justice. Instead I will share only my ride time:

1 hour 36 minutes and 23 seconds.

After reaching the General Store in Andice and eating one of my vanilla Stinger Waffles I pointed my Cervelo P1 back towards home and covered the identical stretch of road and hills. My return ride time:

1 hour 7 minutes and 11 seconds.

After being beaten up for more than an hour and a half on the bike, pedaling away furiously into the headwind, I then got to enjoy a strong tailwind pushing me back home. Instead of taking it easy however and just cruising on the return trip, I punished my worn legs and covered the miles at race intensity. Mile after mile, several of which I averaged more than 30 mph I made my way home as fast as my legs would carry me.

My 56-mile ride was actually :30 faster than the identical route one week earlier in ideal riding conditions.


Perhaps that is the best way to describe the past 21 weeks training through another hot Texas summer. No injuries, no unplanned days off, just workout after workout – hoping that all of the hardwork is going to pay off on September 30th and we are going to get a chance to race to the best of our ability in Kerrville.

A half-ironman is definitely not an easy race. Aside from ultra-marathons and other 12-hour, 100-mile type run only events, the only bigger “mainstream” challenge out there would be a full Ironman Triathlon. Something that quite frankly is not interesting to us at this stage in our life as a husband/Dad/amateur endurance athlete. The 70.3 mile test in Kerrville however is one that we are more than ready to take head-on.

There are going to be some dark moments. There are going to be some low-points. There is going to be fatigue. There is going to be pain. All this I am quite certain of and I am actually quite comfortable with.

I also know that there is really only one way that I know to go about competing in a race like that.

Be Ruthless.

Hey Dom, make sure you are paying attention on September 30th. You aren’t going to want to miss this one.

I have been training for races since the summer of 2006.  Some months and years have been more prolific than others depending on the races I have been focusing on.  2009 and 2010 were years where building my base and running long, hard miles were the main focus.  As 2011 started speed became a priority of mine with intervals and hill work taking the place of some of my standard workouts.  It paid off in the form of back to back PR’s in the marathon on hilly courses at Austin and New York.  It also allowed for break-through performances in the 10K (37:30) and half-marathon (1:23:46).

After coming through the chute in Boston this April my focus shifted back “to the long stuff” and the journey to the starting line of our first half-ironman.  Kerrville 70.3 – September 30, 2012.

I knew that I needed to run longer, swim further and cycle both longer and harder to prepare for the rigors of that event.  More than 5 hours of racing.  A pain cave we have never entered to this point.

May, June and July were base building months that deposited us ready to rock the month of August.  August would be our toughest month of training in 6 years, one that would hopefully take us to a new level of fitness that would not only put us in a great position for Kerrville, but also allow us to hit the ground running in our preparation for the Houston Marathon in January and our attempt at breaking that 3 hour barrier in the marathon.

So with a 10-mile run on Wednesday, August 1st – the day after my 45th birthday we started things off.

Last Friday, August 31 – Dawn’s birthday – we ran 12 miles in the morning, followed by a 30 mile bike ride in the afternoon.

Totals for the month:

666.10 Miles.

238.10 Miles of Running.

407 Miles of Cycling.

21 Miles of Swimming.

64 hours and 20 minutes of training.

August Training Calendar

We didn’t do any racing in August, passing on a couple of fun events that we would have liked to have participated in, but honestly we could not afford to take time away from our training.  It’s all about Kerrville right now, and after a couple of wetsuit swims to acclimate to our suit prior to race day, I am starting to feel my confidence building from a fitness and preparation standpoint.  I know as the taper begins in two weeks however, that confident feeling is going to start to wane a bit and be replaced by nervousness and those feelings of wonderment.

Could I have done more?

Should I have done more?

But as I look back through the appropriate lens – now slightly less than 4 weeks from the event, I think we are exactly where we are supposed to be.

We kicked off September with a 2 mile swim and 56 mile bike ride on Saturday morning followed by an 18-mile long run on Sunday that we closed out with a final mile in 6:58.

Two more heavy duty weeks and we’ll start to cut things back a bit for a 2-week taper prior to race day.  In some ways September 30th will be a day like no other.  Distances we have never raced, tests we have never faced.  But at the end of the day I know that those 64 hours and 20 minutes of training in August were well worth it.  There may be faster, stronger, younger and more talented triathletes standing next to us in the water on race day – but I don’t think there will be too many who are more prepared.

Bring it on I say.

“Nothing new on race day.”

Maybe one of the easiest to understand rules about racing and one of the easiest to follow.  However at every single marathon, half-marathon, 10K, 5K, triathlon, Ironman and any other endurance event this is perhaps the most common mistake made by athletes of all experience levels and capabilities.

New shoes, new socks, a different pair of shorts, underwear, triathlon race wear, a different breakfast, hydration plan, calories, compression gear, a new helmet, a different wheel set, the list goes on and on and on.

Chafing, blisters, gastrointestinal issues, running out of fuel – it all can happen – and when it does, that is when the race course rears its head and makes the athlete pay.

Heading into my first ever Half Ironman I am trying to be “one of the smart ones”.  One of the athletes who trains in their race gear, works on their nutrition plan making sure that what I ingest on the bike during my long rides will be identical to what I can get my hands on while I am racing 56 miles on the bike.  The same situation applies to my swim and run.

Nothing new on race day.

So this week I dropped an extra 1,998 yard swim into my training plan at Deep Eddy Pool giving us 4 swims this week.  The increased swim volume was an added bonus, but the reason I wanted to swim at Deep Eddy pool was so I could get some time in my wetsuit that I will be racing in at Kerrville.  The water temperature at Kerrville is predicted to be wetsuit legal, meaning that it will be somewhere below 78 degrees – last year the river water was 74 on race day.

The water will be warm enough of course to swim without a wetsuit – but the added buoyancy that a wetsuit provides and the ability to float better swimming in their suits vs. traditional swim wear makes the athletes much faster in the water.  Perhaps as much as :05 seconds per hundred meters.

In a triathlon where literally every second counts if you are hoping to compete in your age group, picking up time in the water, in transition, on your bike by wearing an aero helmet, having race wheels and of course hauling butt out there on the run course all adds up.  For me, with the swim being my weakest event, I cannot afford to forfeit another :05 seconds per 100 in a swim of 1.2 miles to my age group competitors.

The trick this time of year in Texas of course is trying to find a place where you can swim in your wetsuit to practice, but not overheat while doing so.

Deep Eddy Pool is the oldest swimming pool in the state of Texas.  Deep Eddy began simply as a swimming hole in the Colorado River that flows through Austin.  Cold springs rose from the river banks and people swam in the river where a large boulder formed an eddy.  (Photo Below)

The water temperature is 68 degrees year round.

In the years since, there have been many changes and iterations to Deep Eddy from it’s days as a bathing beach.

But you can’t help feeling like you are stepping back in time leaving the bath house and looking down to the pool below.

View from the top of the bath house on Wednesday

Swimming under the canopy of the oak trees in the natural spring waters is exhilarating.  I now know why so many people make their morning swims at Deep Eddy a ritual.

So on Landry’s birthday I was able to pack myself into my wetsuit for the first time and swim a comfortable 1,998 yards with cool water washing over my toes, hands and face, the rest of my body covered by my Xterra suit.

I didn’t push things too much out there, just trying to get comfortable.

I swam the 60 lengths of the 33.3 yard long pool (1,998 yards) in 35 minutes and 42 seconds.  About 2 minutes faster per 1,000 meters than I do normally without a wetsuit.  Nice.

At race intensity in our suit that bodes very well for us on race day.  If we can stay smooth, sight well and stay on course, we should be able to use that added buoyancy to our advantage – we may just be able to hang a little closer to the front of our age-group in the water.  Once on land, we know what we have to do.

Crush the bike.

Kill the run.

That will be our mantra for race day and hopefully, if we get everything right, we will put together a debut performance in the Half Ironman that we can be proud of.  But in the meantime we are going to enjoy every bit of this journey to the starting line of Kerrville 70.3.  I’m sure that race day is going to grant me a lot of great memories, but not too many of them are going to top our first wetsuit swim at Deep Eddy on Landry’s Birthday.

I think it is important to remember how much hard work you put in to prepare for an “A” race.  Those mornings by yourself running hill repeats, more miles on the bike pushing up long hills against the wind and every one of the thousands  of laps in the pool to prepare for a 1.2 mile open water swim.  They are as much a part of the journey than those final miles approaching the finish line on race day.  Afterall, without them, race day can never happen.

My lane just off of the railing

The end of my run on Sunday marked 7 weeks until Kerrville 70.3.  We are now inside of two months to go until race day, and that means that with a 2-week taper period where I start to back off distance a bit to help my body recover from a tough training cycle and get ready to peak for race day – we have 5 final weeks of knock down, drag out training to get through.

I feel like my swim and my bike are really starting to come together.  Being the two events that I am far “newer” to than the run, that is to be expected.  More time in the pool, longer continuous swims, more saddle time, longer “long” rides are sure to make a difference as I am becoming more fit, more efficient and a lot more confident in the water and on the bike.

The run is the one area where I’m starting to focus more and more of my attention mentally and will continue to do so as race day draws near.

When it comes to the Triathlon here are the facts:

I am a below average swimmer.

I am an above average cyclist.

I am an exceptional runner.

Weakness, Strength, Big Strength.

When I first took up the sport of triathlon last year I thought that the training principles that I had learned over the years of road racing (running races) would not necessarily translate.  Even my swim coach told me when I first started lessons, “Joe, no matter how hard you try and no matter how much you want to, you can’t turn swimming into running.”  Her point was that trying to apply run workout principles to swim improvement was not going to get it done alone.  Yes I needed to improve fitness and endurance – but swimming fast is highly technical.  Form rules the day.  I needed to clean up my form if I wanted to move faster through the water.

Running form plays a role of course in how fast you are, but you can “out-muscle” and “out-hussle” poor form by working hard in road racing.  Not so in the water.

The bike also has some form issues that have to do with your pedal stroke and your ability to stay in the aero position for long periods of time.  Thankfully or luckily, I took to the bike very quickly.

The run will always be there for me I thought – just “maintain” your fitness and it will be there for you on race day.

During the shorter distance triathlons, my run was indeed there for me.  I just got off the bike, switched shoes and hammered away.

But for Ironman 70.3 the run is now 13.1 miles.  Not just a 5K or 10K, but a full half-marathon after a 56-mile bike.

I came to the realization a couple of weeks ago that if I focus all my energies on improving my swim and my bike and I do not pay careful attention to my run training, when I get off the bike, my biggest strength is going to be neutralized.

Instead of being the fire-breathing dragon who hits the run course looking to swallow up every Male 45-49 competitor in his path – I would be just another runner.  Just like everybody else.

So over the past few weeks I have gone back to the formula that has worked for me in preparing for run only events.  Essentially laying out my run training first, and then adding my swim and bike work over top of it.

Run #1 of the week – up-tempo. 

Run #2 of the week – Long and Easy. 

Run #3 of the week – Hill Repeats. 

Run #4 of the week – Recovery. 

Run #5 of the week – Long Run (16-18 miles).

When I look at training plans that the majority of Ironman 70.3 athletes use to peak for an A race, none of them feature the run as much as my workouts have.  I questioned my own training a bit at first, wondering if I was focusing too much of my time and energy on the run.  But the reality is that I have to.  I need to hit that run course with a ton of confidence, knowing that even though my body is fatigued and I am not starting out on the run course “fresh” and ready to fall into 6:20-6:23 pace for the half-marathon as I would in a run-only event.  I need to know that 7:30-7:40 pace is something that we are more than ready for.  That although it hurts more than usual, we are equipped.  We can and will hold pace late.  We will get stronger as others get weaker.  As they slow down, we will speed up.  When they feel like walking, we will not.  When they glance over their shoulder and wonder who in the hell this guy is closing on them like a banshi we will draw down even deeper into our reserves and find yet another gear.

Most triathletes tell you that “it all comes down to the bike.”  The bike represents the furthest distance, the largest amount of time and the highest percentage of activity among the three triathlon disciplines.  In some ways it is about the bike.

But in Kerrville on the last day of September that is not going to be the case.  For us, it is all going to come down to the run.

I plan on making sure that we have done all we could to strengthen our weaknesses before race day, but that we also strengthened our strength.

The half-marathon in Kerrville will certainly be the slowest half marathon we have ever raced.  But it can still be our greatest.

Right now we’re putting in the work to give us a chance.  I’ve said it before other big races and I’m sure to say it again.  That is all I ever ask for.  A chance.

On to Kerrville.

Well here we are.  It’s Sunday and we’ve just wrapped up a 143-mile training week.

Three swims, three bike rides and 5 runs including 16 hot grueling miles for our Sunday long run.

That is the easiest week we will have until race week for Kerrville.

The next 7 weeks shape up like this:

144 miles.

155 miles.

156 miles.

173 miles.

174 miles.

185 miles.

170 miles.

114 miles – 70.3 of those will take place all during Sunday’s race.

That is a lot of mileage between here and the finish line – 1,271 of them to be exact.  A lot of them will be no to low impact in the pool and on the bike, but we will still be running what amounts to a marathon training schedule for many a runner in the 53-60 mile per week range.  I think the plan we have in front of us is a sound one and even though true “rest days” are absent, I do have a couple of days each week that feature only an easy run workout with an afternoon completely off afterwards.

The goal is to keep the easy days “easy”, make the hard days “hard” and show up to Kerrville in the shape of our life, prepared to compete to the best of our abilities across all three disciplines.  Swim, bike and run.

The road to Kerrville is certainly not paved with unicorns and rainbows.  I have a lot of hard work ahead of me, but I feel totally in control right now.  That is what a sound training plan can do for you.

It eliminates the wiggle room.  It provides the focus and structure that makes deciding what your next workout will be a non-issue.  I need to continue to monitor my body and the accumulating bumps and bruises – even make sure that mentally I am staying sharp and not getting too worn down.  But on a daily basis I don’t have a lot of decisions to make other than what pair of running shoes make the most sense for that day’s type of workout or if I want to swim in my black jammers or my blue ones.

The rest is spelled out.  I’ve done all the shopping and I have the recipe.  Now all I have to do is put all the ingredients together and bake the cake.  7:36 a.m. on September 30th we should have a pretty good idea how things are going to turn out.  I’ll just set the knob to “Kick-Ass” and press start.

Should be ready in 5 hours and 15 minutes.  Give or take a few.

We’ll then take a week to recover and it will all be about the Houston Marathon.  We will be 15 weeks away from race day – which including a 2-week taper period before the race, gives us 13 weeks of focused marathon training.  I won’t swim except to help aid recovery and I won’t bike unless I want to get some cross-training in to work out the kinks.

We will go back to a 5-day run schedule, with 6 runs per week including “doubles” on Tuesdays.  But on Monday and Friday we will essentially be “off” with the exception of some strength and core workouts at the gym.

22 weeks to Houston and what will perhaps be our last attempt at breaking 3 hours in the marathon.  It sounds like a lot of time, but I know that before I know it I am going to look up and race day is going to be staring me and my friend Brendon squarely in the face.  I’ve never beaten Brendon in a footrace at any distance.  January 13, 2013 probably won’t be much different as my goal is to simply stay on his left shoulder for 25 miles.  If I can do that I know we will be on sub 3 hour pace when it becomes every man for himself.

I hope Brendon blows past me and crushes Houston in under 3 hours going away.

I also hope that I’m right on his heels watching him do it.  That will mean we are well within striking distance of our “A+ Goal”.  The only goal we have set in any event, at any distance that we have not met.

You never know what is going to happen on race day as the weather, illness, injury and just an “off day” can always rear its head unexpectedly.  I do know one thing for certain however.

It is definitely going to be interesting.

About 3 months ago I went for a run without my iPod.  The weather was getting hot, the cord and ear buds never seem to behave themselves this time of year when after a couple of miles I am literally drenched from head to toe.  I stopped racing with music more than a year ago as I felt it was a much better way to stay “in tune” with my body and the signals it was sending to me while pushing pace over the course of a race.  Every PR I have ever set has come while running without music, so something must be working.

The strange thing is that I haven’t missed my music one bit on my training runs like I had thought I would.  I may go back to it this winter preparing for the Houston Marathon for my 20, 21, 22 and 23 milers, but for the time being, I am now firmly entrenched in the “no music” running crowd.

One product of this shift is that I tend to have random thoughts pop into my head, seemingly out of nowhere, and very disconnected to anything else I had been thinking about previously.  An item for a shopping list.  An idea for work.  Something Landry said to me that made me laugh.  Sometimes a song will pop into my head and others I replay miles from a particular race course like New York or Boston.  The other day while I was running the movie Good Will Hunting popped into my head and I was thinking about some of the quotes from one of the most quotable movies of the 1990’s.

One particular exchange between Robin William’s character Sean and Matt Damon’s character Will struck a chord with me and stayed with me over the final 5 miles.  It was the part near the end of the film during Will’s final session with Sean when they were talking about Will’s file and the physical abuse he experienced as a child in foster care:

Will: He used to just put a belt, a stick, and a wrench on the kitchen table and say, “Choose.” Sean: Well, I gotta go with the belt there. Will: I used to go with the wrench. Sean: Why? Will: Cause f$#% him, that’s why.

“Choose the wrench” I thought as I pondered taking the uphill turn up and over the dam vs. the flat section of the trail for my final 4 mile loop.  That decision adds more than 250 feet of climbing to those final miles vs. only a 46 foot climb on the flat section.  That decision is akin to choosing going up and over a 25 story building instead of a 5 story one.

The next afternoon I was faced with a decision on a 100 degree afternoon.  The lawn needed to be cut and I needed to knock out 28 miles on the bike.  Do I cut the grass first and then ride on tired legs or do I get the ride out of the way first and then cut the grass at a leisurely pace.  “Choose the wrench” I thought again as I fired up the mower, did the yard work for 1 1/2 hours under the summer Texas Sun, then hopped on the bike and rode 28 miles at 20.7 mph pace.

It seems to me that when it comes to training you have more choices than just whether or not to get out the door and hit the pool, the road or the trail vs. punting and skipping a workout.

For those athletes who are dedicated to their pursuit of the Marathon or Ironman very few skip a workout for any reason other than injury or illness.  You don’t get to that point by doing anything other than working hard.

But during each workout there are decisions to make.  Do you tack on an extra mile at the end of the run?  Drop pace over the final 2 miles by :30 to push yourself?  Do you ride the hilly sections of Parmer Lane or do you turn around and tack on some flat miles at the end to finish up your workout?  Do you swim that extra set of 100M repeats on :20 seconds rest instead of :30 to increase your ability to recover?  Do you drop it to :10 of recovery on the final set?

Those are the choices that manifest themselves on race day.  To me that is the difference between setting a PR by a handful of seconds or missing by the same amount.

For the Kerrville 70.3 I believe I have found my mantra for the final 8 weeks of training.

Choose the wrench