#110 – Making plans – with 34 weeks to go, it’s good crazy.

It’s only crazy if….

I love the movie Braveheart – it’s one of my favorite movies of all time. Yes, Mel Gibson appears to have largely gone crazy, and yes, that makes me a fan of a (largely) crazy-person…..but it’s still a great movie.  When I sat down to reflect on this week, that was what popped into my head….  Not because I relate to the character (or the actor per se), but because at some point, it has to be about action.  And although I’m thankful that I have 34 more weeks – and that my goal is a bit less lofty than achieving independence for a country through gory battles resulting in disembowelment (ouch), it’s time to be about action.

Do you remember the scene when they show Wallace running along the hilltops and the unbelievable panoramic views of the landscapes?  At some point I really want to find out where that was and run that path, but I digress…..That scene is called “making plans” (and gathering the clans) and if last week was about putting myself back out there (and crying for your help), then making plans was what this week was all about.  Shortly after I published last week’s blog I printed out a calendar to write down the skeleton of a plan and cracked open a few key triathlon resources to reacquaint myself with. After deciding on a basic structure, I started to make plans.

There were a couple of themes that emerged – areas of training that I really need to focus on this go-around: 

1. Racing – although not typically considered a part of training by most folks, this is something I’ve decided to come to terms with: I just don’t race that much and don’t have a long history to pull from.  Although I’m now 6 years into my endurance habit, that’s a pretty shallow well of experience to pull from, when you consider many folks race for a decade before they attempt ultradistance. If I include all of my races (from local 5K through 140.6), I’ve only done 26 races, 8 of which were triathlon.  Some athletes will do this many triathlons in a season…..so I’m still a bit of a newbie when it comes to racing. After thinking through how much I learn each time I race, it was clear to me that I can probably shave some time by simply getting more practice at racing itself.  So whereas I’d love to invest more in gear…..I’m thinking I need to just dig a deeper well.  So I’ll be building my racing calendar.

2. Power & Pacing – when I compare my relative performances in those 26 races, I tend to do better (relative to the field) the shorter the race – my 5K time is better (compared to my age group for instance) than my 10K, which is better than my OLY-Tri time, which is better than my 1/2 ironman time which is better than my Ironman time.  It’s not always the case, but in general the trend holds. I need to try and figure out what variables have the greatest impact here, but this is really important since my goal is in a longer event.  Maybe it says I’m pushing too hard initially and then dropping off faster than I should during the race?  This is very possible.  Maybe it says I’m just more accustom to racing at higher-intensities and/or my anaerobic system is a bit more efficient than my aerobic relative to the field? Maybe it says a lot of things……but one thing’s for certain, I’ve got to get this figured out so I can put the work where it’s needed.

3. Consistency is King – this is something I know all too well, but it still is important to train with this goal first and foremost in my mind…. plain and simple, establishing my training rhythm is job 1.  When I get into the habit and build training into every thing I do, I can accumulate enough training hours to get the adaptations I’m looking for.  When I don’t have this rhythm, I struggle.  I relearned this lesson this past summer, and 2014 is too important to me to pay the price for goofing off again.  If I stay focused, by the end of December, I should have met this goal.

At least this isn’t crazy – Is that Chuck Norris?

4. Strength – There was a time (although it seems like a distant memory at times) when I felt pretty strong, however as I’ve gotten into endurance-sports, I’ve let this slip some to build my aerobic base and reserves.  I’ve been trying to give this a greater emphasis and so far…..well, my body isn’t a huge fan.  But soreness fades and the added strength will be an asset – so it’s buns of steel for me.

5. Nutrition – This of course never ceases to be important, but it will continue to get more important from here.  I have somewhere between 10 and 15 lbs of body fat to shed by raceday.  It’s not terribly urgent right now.  In fact, although I can definitely NOT say accumulating the fat was intentional, some folks advocate for carrying this extra weight during the early training…..sort of like training with a weighted vest I guess.  Either way, I will begin to make some slow changes in my diet – initially a concerted effort on increasing water consumption and a shift to reduce some sugar/carbs…..but nothing drastic – at least until training consistency is met.

 More to come…..but for now – here are the tunes that are stuck in my head, 

Mike E.