It seems absurd to be recapping my winter training, what with record-setting snowfall blocking the roads and literally enclosing the windows of my subterranean Pain Cave. I feel a strange kinship with Rocky IV training in the Russian winter, only my enemy is winter itself. But I digress...Transitioning to March means moving on to the Race Preparation phase of my training for Ironman® Texas regardless of what it looks like outside.
School Vacation Week: I closed out the OutSeason Training Block with a week of snowboarding with the family in New Hampshire. I brought the trainer with me to ride, and I even managed to get in a 10 mile run on one "non-mountain" day of the week. Both kids got the 24-hour flu on different days -- add in some great wine and friends and things were less than ideal for actual training. But it was a blast!
Got Sick with Hacking Cough: After a few weeks of fighting it off, I finally came down with the cough that my poor family has been incubating since December. I have high days and low days, and the medication has really messed with my Perceived Exertion...but I am doing my best to sleep a lot, stay hydrated and stay focused.
Overall OutSeason Training Thoughts
General: One of the bigger changes I made of for this winter was following a "fixed" week, both in terms of what was done each week and day, but also similarity in the type of training was done each day. I have found that it takes a few weeks of a particular plan for my body to adapt to the workload and then force improvement.
I also decided to keep the intervals fixed as well -- rather than changing the workload in each weekly interval session, my focus was on seeing increased power within each session.
The Swim: Averaged 2-3 Swims Per Week After having some shoulder trouble post Kona due to my aerobar placement and my weak shoulder / collarbone, I had to do some solid rehab back in December. The focus on Jan/Feb was to work in some more rotation in my stroke to engage the lats / back muscles more than simply using my shoulders / rotator cuff.
While there hasn't been anything spectacular here, I do feel pretty good about my baseline swimming heading into the final 12 weeks.
The Bike: Averaged 3 Rides, 3 Hours Per Week I followed the basic protocol of Tues/Sat FTP rides of 2 x 12 minutes at FTP, with Thurs being a VO2 / 110% FTP ride with 4 x 4 minute intervals. I started off with my 12' intervals in the mid-320s back in December and finished with them consistently in the 340s.
The VO2 4' intervals went from the 350s to the upper 360s. I am pleased with being able to get the 12' intervals up to the 340s...that's a really solid place for me to be as I am usually locked in the 330s range.
Interestingly, the week of vacation where I rode some 90% intervals -- vs 100% or 110% of my usual training -- actually had me return to some really strong FTP work. But that could have been some rest from that week as well.
The Run: Averaged 5 Runs, 4 Hours Per Week, 30 miles-ish. My plan was essentially two longer runs on Tuesday / Saturday, with shorter runs of 4 to 6 miles on other days. These shorter days were areas for intensity if I felt good. When I started out running in this fixed plan, I was running most of my efforts at sub-6:45/mile pace -- even the "longer" runs of 10 miles.
That said, I never really ran intervals. My plan was to do one day of FTP mile repeats, but after the first week I realized that I could do ^that^ work, plus keep my overall running a pace pretty fast, PLUS push the bike workouts. So I made the executive decision to keep the overall pace high vs the interval work. This was cemented by the insane winter we have had so far, where many of my runs have been outside in snow, slush and ice...not to mention the usual wind.
While my average pace has slowed a bit, I think it's just as much a function of the conditions as of fatigue.
Pros of a Fixed OutSeason Week
- Great for planning / scheduling.
- Easy to track progress.
- Improved odds for consistency.
Cons of a Fixed OutSeason Week
- Lacked spontenaiety / Not so much fun.
- Possibly left bike fitness on table with rigid workouts.
- Schedule hard to tweak with multiple snow days / pool closures, etc.
Outlining A Race Preparation Block
Again, my best laid plans are really being challenged by the weather. Looking back on my 2012 training calendar, when I last did Ironman® Texas, I was riding outside in March!!! Since that's not an option I have outlined a schedule that gives me a family-friendly plan and will (hopefully) build my fitness up through Texas.
My targets are about 12,000 yds swimming, 7 to 8 hours on the Bike and 40 miles of running.
Here is the basic outline:
- Mon - Trainer Ride with FTP / Skill Swim
- Tues - Tempo 10 Mile Run / Swim Long
- Wed - Trainer Ride with VO2
- Thu - Tempo 10 Mile Run / Swim Long
- Fri - Long Trainer Ride
- Sat - Split Long Run (1:10 in AM / 1:10 in PM)
- Sun - Long Swim (Make up any missed yards.)
Of course along the way I have the Texas Training Camp (http://www.endurancenation.us/camps/im-course-rallies/) to build in some miles and, if fate allows, perhaps one more warm weather expedition in April (TBD).
Thanks for reading and for your support!