Friday, October 26, 2012

The Off Season Plan

So in past years I've gone long periods with no update.  Not this time.

Overall, things are going pretty well.  My training load really hasn't changed all that much from the season itself.  Just a bit less volume and a bit more intensity.  The other difference is trying to run 7 days per week.  So far I've only made it about 2 weeks without missing a day of running, but that's been due to life/laziness as opposed to actually needing a day off.

As far as overall progress is concerned, my running feels fantastic.  I've been doing some harder interval running as well as a lot of easier days of running and am finding that my natural run pace has improved to around a 7:50-7:55 type pace without any conscious effort.  That's a pretty big improvement as in the past my typical pace was 8:05-8:10.  And that was during the season, so not that long ago.

On the bike I've been having some trouble.  The new fit has really begun to aggrivate my glute and hamstring.  I saw the fitter and he really feels the problem is in my technique as I am pulling up on the pedal too much and engaging the hamstring/glute when I should be pushing more and using the quads more.  Basically my feet are in the wrong position thereby engaging the wrong muscles.  So for the next couple weeks I'll be really focusing on flattening my feet out and not hammering on my hamstring.  If that does not work I will be moving my seat down by about 2mm and see if that helps. 

Swimming is swimming.  I'm very unmotivated in the water.  Its not that I'm tired or anything like that, I just don't want to get up out of bed.  And when I do get in the water, I don't really want to be there.  I'm going to have to swap days so I am swimming with Scott.  If I can't motivate myself, I'm sure he can help.

My weight is doing pretty well.  I'm sitting at 197, so all the weight gain from a couple weeks off has been re-lost.  This week has been kinda bad, but I will be doubling my efforts next week.  I think part of my problem is the hamstring bothering me.  I have a nasty habit of slacking when I have an injury.  And when I say slacking...I slack in all ways.  I really get bad about things.  So I need to break out of that a little bit.

The crohns has been pretty well behaved.  I typically run into some issues as the off season starts up, and this year was no different.  But it was all pretty minor and didnt' cause any issues.

I am really hoping that in the very near future I will be replacing my mistress (bike).  I have been drooling over a speed concept 9 series for quite a while now.  I'm hoping this off season I'll be able to pull the trigger. 

As far as races and goals are concerned, I've signed up for the entire RACC run series.  So I'll be doing 6 10k's between now and March.  That will be more run races than I've done in my entire life combined.  I may throw in a 5k or two as well.  Possibly a half marathon or two.  Now that I've broken 20min in a 5k, I would like to see if I can get under 40min for a 10k.  I've never actually run a stand-alone 10k, so it should be fun.  November 11th is the first one.

Into next year I am pretty sure the plan will be to look for a 1/2 Ironman brand race in August to use as my A race.  If I do well I'll be able to qualify for the World Championships in 2014.  As far as other races are concerned, I'm still not sure.  I know I want to do a race in Minnesota so I can visit some friends.  Aside from that I think I'm going to look for some different races in the area that I've never done.  I may also do a very early season 1/2 ironman, perhaps Galveston TX.  I'm not quite sure yet.

Alright, that's it for now. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Season in Review

So its that time of year, time for the off season.  Time to think about the past.

So as a little recap.  I missed all of last season due to a hamstring tear.  Took forever and then some to rehab.  Despite that I was able to cobble together some halfway decent race results.  But certainly not where I wanted to be.

So, first lets review the plan.  Working with Scott made the plan simple.  Run 6x per week, swim 4x per week, Ride 4x per week.  With work I do what I can in the early mornings so my afternoons aren't too busy and I can spend time with Aimee.  For the most part minus a few disruptions the schedule worked out well.

In terms of expectations I really didn't have too many for the season due to my leg.  I was hoping for some PR's and great results.  But I also knew I might have some set backs along the way.  All in all, despite the failures I am calling this season a success.  A little more than a year ago I thought I'd never race again.  I wasn't sure I'd even be able to run/ride casually as the doctors thought I had that bulging disc in my back.  So in a lot of ways this season has been a gift, and a success.

Lets get into it and see where that leaves us. 

The negatives: 
First, the leg cramping was an obvious problem.  I shouldn't have fiddled with my bike fit.  I knew better and decided to be cheap. 

Second, run pacing.  While my cramping was a problem, it really had very little impact at Racine.  At Racine it was hot and simply ran to hard, didn't drink enough, and ended up with problems at mile 7.  It was a valiant effort ultimately leading to death. 

Third, consistency.  Overall I was pretty consistent, but not great.  I missed several workouts including some longer stuff.  In this sport consistency is king.  More is more until it is too much, as they say.

Lastly, my performance in Vegas.  I still don't fully understand why my bike split was so slow.  Thinking back I am sure that impacted everything else.  I was on the bike 10 minutes longer than I expected without nutrition.  I was more tired than I thought, and the cramping was worse than at any other race.  I'm glad I went and experienced it, it was a lot of fun.  But the overall performance was poor.

The positives:
First, I managed to qualify for the world championships despite a poor performance at Kansas.  Granted it was a rolldown, but considering how bad Kansas really was...the fact that I managed to make it is something of a big deal.  I've come a long ways.

Second, My olympic distance racing and speed has really come around.  I PR'd in all my shorter distances.  To me, this is a really good sign.  It tells me that I have the speed, I just need to do a better job of pacing.  With my bike fit corrected, I should be able to see some big improvements.

Third, run durability has improved.  Because of the base I have now built up, I am able to switch over to a plan with 7 runs per week and more speed work.  Due to injuries of old, I had not been able to do a lot of fast running and relied on volume.  This off season I can do both.  It should be fun.

Fourth, I was able to race again.  Duh.

Fifth, I kept my weight way down.  Its always been a challenge.  In college I was a chubby 215lbs until my Crohns diagnosis.  I dropped to 205ish, but put it back on and stayed around 215 for a long while.  Balooned up to 265 about 5-6 years ago, but was able to get back into athletics and triathlons and have since dropped to about 195 where I am right now. 

What's Next.
Well, I've already decided that I want to go back to Vegas, I just can't next year.  As a kid my father used to take me on some really great fishing trips in Alaska and Canada.  It is time I repaid the favor when we are both old enough to really appreciate it.  So, we're heading up to go do some fishing in early September 2013.  As that is when Vegas is, I can't go.  In my eyes, well worth the sacrifice.

So I am thinking I am going to start the season a bit earlier with New Orleans or maybe Galveston 70.3's.  Have a really fun year of doing a lot of smaller races, and then see if I can go to Steelhead in August to qualify for Vegas 2014. 

From a speed perspective, who knows.  I feel like I have a lot of gains left to make.  With my bike fit I am really hoping to get a lot more power.  But I am need to be sure my hamstring can take the pressure of this fit.  My old fit had the seat lower to take the pressure off my hamstring.  So we'll see if my new fit needs any modifications as we go.

In any case, I won't get much faster in swimming.  Not much point in trying to get faster either. Fortunately I do have that to fall back on.  Running and biking are another story.  So this off season will primarily focus on getting faster in both. 

Of course there is my weight.  Its time I got down to 185.  I've never seen my abs and want to!  Even if it is just for a day so I know that they are there.  I'm not sure 185 is low enough to do that, but its a good starting point.  The lowered weight will make my biking and running faster too!

For the moment, I think that's it. 

To bring out the geeks:  Do, or do not.  There is no try.