Sunday, December 16, 2007

Birthdays, 2 Runs = 1 Christmas Tree

Friday's workouts were shortened up due to a certain special person's birthday. Got a good swim in at lunch, 1,900 metres at a relatively pedestrian pace (or would that be at an aquarian pace or something like that?). I have been extremely pleased with my first week back in the pool. My stroke is in good shape, and I feel like my balance and "feel for the water", are all good. The next couple of weeks will remain the same as I focus on technique and form. I use a modified version of the Total Immersion method for swimming. This method focuses on getting your "sweet spot" in the water and using mostly your arms so that you are saving your legs for the bike and run. I took a two day course a couple of years ago and I really think it has paid dividends in terms of my technique. Didn't do much for my speed, but I do come out of the water fresh and ready to go.
The run on Friday was a quick 5k in 21 minutes just to stretch out the legs before we went for a family dinner for Angela's birthday. We had a wonderful evening together with some good food, a few drinks, and lots of laughs.
Yesterday I was scheduled for an 8 mile run which took the form of two back to back 4 mile runs. The first one was with Angela and was essentially a slow paced run in the snow searching for a Christmas tree. The weather was beautiful and we ran a route we call the Black Cat Trail, just because there is a sign at the trail head that indicates the Black Cat Ranch is 16 kms away. It is a nice loop through the woods and we usually see some mule deer or occasionally an elk or two. The trail was a little snow covered and we took a few detours to check out potentials but after 4 miles when I dropped Angela off we still didn't have the "one". Once I left her off at home I headed west on the rural road towards the mountains and a few other trails which follow the ridge of the Athabasca River Valley. It was nice and the footing wasn't too bad, however I was still in Christmas tree mode and was enjoying the scenery. Lots of them looked good until I got close and then I would notice there was actually three trees making up the bushy one I thought I saw. Finally there was a nice tree that was full and tall so I noted where it was and headed home for the truck and the saw. Run ended up at 31 minutes and 4.5 miles, for a total of around 8.6 miles for the day, first half slow, second half faster. Pictures of the Christmas tree will follow once we put it up.
Today's workout will be a long bike, 2 hours or so. For the next few weeks I will try and hold the training at a total of 8 or 9 hours for the week. My plan will kick in twelve weeks prior to the race. The plan will peak at about 18 hours per week and have an easy week every fourth week. There is a little bit of weight work in this plan but I am not likely to do that and will probably substitute either a swim or a bike for those days. The bike is my biggest opportunity for improvement so I will put any extra time toward it. Plus the word is that Arizona is a very windy course so I will need to have some good strength to manage that. Twelve weeks is short but this assumes you have a solid fitness base. I am coming off a marathon in October that I trained well for as well as having maintained the biking miles so this program should work well for me. Last year I trained too long and had motivational problems near the end. We'll see how this works.
Have a great day!

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