Monday, February 21, 2011

Planning Ahead... Way Ahead.

Registration for an Ironman race opens up almost a full year before race day. A handful of hours later, it closes. By capping participation at only 1,000 competitors, race organizers ensure high demand for spots on the starting line. Six hours into open registration, most Ironman races have already sold out.

Ironman New Zealand '11 takes place on March 5 and registration for next year's race will open on March 6. That means I have about two weeks to decide whether or not I want to be on the start line in Taupo in 2012. Yikes.

That's a lot to think about. Early spring isn't necessarily the best time for the biggest race of one's calendar year. There are a few other options I've been considering - Australia or St. George in May, Nice in June, or Canada in August. I bet Switzerland in July would be a lot of fun...

All of this thinking makes me sleepy.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Plodding along

The Itch seems to have disappeared again. It was here for about a week, but then I went to (and enjoyed my time in) New York and Dublin. Then... poof! It doesn't help that the weather's turned, either. Come back, Itch. Come back, motivation!

I'm wondering if I actually do need an extensive base-building period this go 'round. I was already at a very high fitness level when I began last year's 24-week program. This year, not so much. There might be value in some of those long, mileage-based weeks. (The very thought makes me shudder.)

I've given two "tech talks" about my December Ironman in the past two weeks. As I get more and more removed from the race, it feels more and more like I'm telling somebody else's story. Was that really me? I did that?

I just registered for the full Vineman 140.6 on July 30 in and around Santa Rosa. I might have made a mistake in doing so, but as much as I regret signing up for the race now, I'm sure that if I hadn't, I would have been kicking myself in mid-May when my juices are finally flowing again.

Plan to come out and cheer me on. I'm going to need some encouragement!

Friday, February 4, 2011


For Ironman Western Australia, I designed an aggressive program (based on a lot of Friel's advice) broken down into three phases that consisted of one or more four-week blocks. For this year's race, the general plan will be much the same... but I'm going to make some key changes. Improvements? That's what we're going to find out.

Yes, I've used this picture before.

My workout regimen for that last race was about as extreme as I could have afforded. It required more time and energy than I'll ever really be able to devote to any other event. By the final four weeks, I was bordering on burnout. Truth be told, I'm glad the race happened when it did. I don't think I could have maintained another four weeks of training at that intensity.

You've got to have goals before you can have a plan, so I'm going to come right out and say it: I do not expect to better my time this year. In 2012, I'm hoping for another epic, all-out, trip-based Ironman in an exotic locale. Before I get to 2012, though, I want to experiment with some variation in my training. I learned a lot training for IMWA, and I got a lot of advice from a lot of different people. Without feeling pressure to top last year's time, this year's race can be my chance to see if I can make changes for the better.

That being said, there are a few things I'd like to do differently this year. In no particular order...

Run more, faster. The focus for this race will be on my run split. I know I can improve this - I ran (and walked) well enough to break the 4-hour barrier in December, but I know I can do better with more focused training. This year, I need to turn myself into a runner.

Avoid injury. This is where things get tricky. As any follower of this blog knows, my body does not like running. I'm going to have to work very hard to prevent the usual injuries from cropping up. I've been doing some reading on the subject and may do

Train smarter. Very few triathletes have the ability to log 25-hour weeks; many of them are still able to excel.  And also, training that much isn't fun. Seriously, trying to train that much and not get fired from a full-time job is stressful and unpleasant. The focus this go-round will be on quality, not quantity. I have a few ideas about this, but the main three are:

  1. A shorter base phase, a longer build phase. It was great to come into the build phase last year with such incredible low-zone fitness, but I don't think it was entirely necessary.
  2. More running (see above).
  3. Less swimming. I just can't get to the pool as often, so I'll be forced to swim much less this year (2-3 times per week) than last year (5-6 times per week).
It's hard to believe I'm about to embark upon another one of these crazy, life-sucking escapades, but what can I say? There's something wrong with me. 

I have 5 ½ months of workouts to plan. That's 24 weeks. 168 days. Let the brainstorm begin.