#59: 2012, a new chapter of a familiar story

2011 was a really wild ride……wild is usually fun, and 2011 didn’t disappoint……but history is history right?  And now that 2012 is officially here, it’s as good a time as any to move-on right?  No, I promise not to do a resolution blog……I don’t put much faith into them personally…..but, as anyone who knows me can attest……I usually put a little effort into planning…..OK, a lot.

So how about a preview of 2012’s attempt at the Red-iculous?  This isn’t exactly how it’ll all come together, but close enough that you get the gist.

Jan 1 – Jan 29:  Aerobic Base, Swim Technique & Strength

It’s going to start with several weeks of base-training, the easy-going, low-intensity training that is designed to build an “aerobic base”.  On land, this will mean starting to get back into a routine of low-intensity brick sessions (bike trainer to treadmill).  In the water it’ll mean form and technique sessions.  The hard part about base-training is really just consistency……it’s a matter of not letting yourself over-do it physically, but rather letting your body build in a low stress way.  I’ll be throwing in some general strength training as well during these next 30 days.  This was only solidified last Thursday, when I attended a special staff-only session of Major Rich’s Bootcamp workout (we like to experience the various Pro-Activity offerings when we can).  I was more sore than I should have been…..this endurance stuff has a lot of benefits, but getting strong is not really one of them…..after the better part of a year focusing on going longer and getting faster, I’m pretty weak….need to correct this.

Jan 30 – Mar 31:  Endurance Phase 

The next phase for me will be to begin bringing up my endurance……this means logging lots of training hours and steadily increasing my mileage.  Still at a relatively low intensity, but perhaps not quite as low as base training……I’ll be working toward increasing my capacity fast enough to be on track, without any lasting harm.  I’ll continue to emphasize swim sessions here in an effort to take another jump in my swim technique (and since doing much outdoors here is my least favorite)……but the bulk of the time will be on the bike trainer…..an area that I know I’ll be relying on come raceday.  I’ll likely need to cut down to 2x/wk strength training in here with an emphasis on the core, enough to continue to gain, but not over emphasize.

Apr 1 – Jun 2: Build Phase

This is where the real heavy work begins……training hours start to increase significantly and workload becomes focused on building “lactate threshold” (top-end endurance).  I loosely look forward to this phase……as the fitness gains are impressive, but the chance for over-training fatigue is high.  The work in the pool begins to emphasize propulsion on top of the form gained and the feature workout becomes longer and longer brick training.  This is the phase that will make-or-break my training efforts.  If I enter injury-free and mentally focused, I think I’m poised for another big step forward.  If not, well, it could be frustrating.  I’ll be ending this phase with a checkpoint, the Black Bear OLY Tri on June 3rd.  Early season and short (relative) distance, but a good test.

Jun 4 – Jul 28: Power Phase

At this point, it’ll be about putting some speed into the equation and peaking at the right time.  By June, the endurance work will mostly be done and my emphasis will be about fine(r) tuning…….about covering big distances…..quickly.  This is the phase I love to hate.  It’s the lung-busting, muscle-aching, sore-body, drained-mind phase…..the ultimate “feet to the fire” phase…..nice.  I’ll have 1 test in this phase as well, the Amica 1/2 Ironman (70.3), in Providence, RI on July 8th.  It’ll be the best chance for me to know what sort of hand I’m playing with; something I didn’t really have with the early May racing date last year in UT.

Jul 29 – Aug 11: Peak Phase

The last 2 weeks will be about maximum intensity, although dialed back volume…..putting a bow on it and not losing focus even though raceday is lurking. 


So not including a few other events here and there I’m likely going to stuff in the mix, that’s the next 7 months in a nutshell…….seems pretty straight forward right?  Or something. Thankfully, it should be a bit easier this go-around having had some level of experience and knowing what to expect a bit more than 2011.  That’s positive.

The negative, is that the outlook for 2012 is equally, if not busier than 2011 in other aspects of life.  The kids are another year older which means more going on in their lives and professionally it’s looking like a very busy year ahead. 

It’s not at all lost on me that despite the fact that I’ll be doing the bulk of the physical workload, this is not at all an individual sport.  So much of my success will ride on my family’s ability to endure right along with me….Lindsay has now been down this road once as well and I’m sure she’ll have moments where seeing the benefit in my hours and hours of training is difficult to say the least……No doubt, I am blessed to have such supportive people in my life and I understand 100% that part of the balance of training for me is understanding when I am taking too much.  I will be putting greater emphasis on that balance in 2012.

Follow my Path: In addition, I’ve decided to try and change my approach a little with the blog.  I’ll continue to capture the week-in-review, however, I’m going to try to add a multimedia feed as well using a cool new iPhone App I was turned on to (PATH).  I did a quick video entry after participating in a 14 mile jog that included a section referred to as the “death hill” (a 15 year Jan-1 tradition for a few guys I run with). After seeing my heart rate up near 190 (my theoretical maximum should be 185), it didn’t disappoint. Definitely time to go back an build a base.

Don’t worry, I didn’t try to capture any media during that portion (it would’ve been all gasping)……but it’s a cool concept that is part journal, part journey….so right up my alley.  I’m still learning how to use it, but I think I can feed twitter with it…..so if you’re a “tweet” person, be sure to check me out (@mikeeisenhart). 

OK…..simple enough…..now to go and do.

Hope 2012 puts you one step closer to your goals.  Thanks for taking part in mine!

Happy New Year,

Mike E.