Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Green Binder

The Green Binder is where I store all the tid-bits of training information and plans that I come across over the years. And it is invariably where I turn to when I struggle with getting myself on track. As mentioned in my last post I was at that point a week or so ago and so I dug the old binder out and started looking through it again.
What I was looking for was just to introduce a little more variety into some of my workouts, especially around the swim. As is always the case, we tend to start doing the same thing over and over again because it is either easy or because we can’t think of anything else to do. More than likely I was in the latter camp, as I just wanted to get the metres logged.
Now, armed with some new options, the first couple swims this week have been much more challenging and enjoyable. The funny thing is sometimes it is just some small little changes that make a world of difference. Giving yourself some options as far as distance or choice of stroke or using a swim aide, all can contribute to making the session different and more enjoyable. One of the key concepts to any work out success is based on the 4 “S’s”. Basically this rule of thumb is that you need to cover off four elements in a coaching plan:
Self directed – you have to feel you are somewhat in control of the planned workout
Sensory – there should be things in the work out to stimulate the senses, be it visual, auditory or feel
Social – try and make it involve other people
Success – structure the workout so that you will achieve a measure of success when you are done. This can be done in a variety of ways but generally if you give yourself a range of outcomes you can ensure a measure of satisfaction when you are done.
So this week I have been thinking about making sure my workouts have some or all of the elements.
Monday – Swam 2,400 metres – 51:33 – Ran 6.25 miles – 41:36
Tuesday – Swam 2,600 metres – 1 hour
Wednesday – Ran 6.2 miles – 45:15 – Biked 21.1 miles – 1:05
Thursday – Swam 2,200 metres 46:43 – Ran 7.5 miles – 50:57
The week has gone good with a good mix of workouts so far and a variety of intensities. The weekend I will focus on bike work and at least one long run.
Have a great day!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Last Week

It’s been well over a week since I have had time to jot down some thoughts on my training. Things have been quite hectic with the arrival of our latest addition to the family. He is a bouncing 180 pound, thin haired, 47 year old boy! Actually my younger brother, Blair is living with us and working in our plant. It is great having him here and he is no trouble at all. Actually because he is quite handy I am expecting I will get a lot of nagging little jobs completed around the house. Also last week was Reading Week for the University of Alberta so Francesca was home for the week as well. When she comes home, the house just bustles with activity as she is on the go all the time and always after us to do things with her.
Workout wise I short changed myself a little bit as I had to defer a couple workouts. The pool has been crazy busy lately so I only got 2 and a bit of a swim done. On Friday I got too frustrated and cut short my swim after 14 minutes. First off someone was in my lane and then we ended up with six in the lane that I had to go in. Just too much bother dodging people and I couldn’t get into my workout at all. I did manage two other decent swims of 2,500 metres and 2,250 metres respectively.
Monday I did a good brick workout, completing 18 miles on the bike and then pounding out 4.6 miles in 30 minutes flat. Tuesday was a one of the swims and a 10 k run. There was nothing really special about the run other than I have been feeling really strong. Wednesday and Thursday I biked and also did a good long hill run. The hill run was just a course I chose which covered a lot of elevation. Friday I had the abbreviated swim and then did nothing in the evening. We ended up going out for sushi with Blair and Francesca. It was fun and the food was great as usual.
Saturday I went for a run on the trails. I thought the footing would be better because of the long stretch of warm weather but they were still icy. It took me 1 hour and 25 minutes to cover 10.5 miles as I spent a lot of time dancing around puddles and ice slicks. It was still a nice run, just really slow.
Sunday was the end of Francesca’s break and we drove her back to the city. The weather was nice which made for an easy ride.
I have re-jigged my loose plan this week as I found I was getting a bit too caught up in the running and not getting enough cycling in. The plan I have has better defined cycling workouts so that may help me get better focused.
Have a great week!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Slow Mo' and Fast Forward

My week was a mix of good and not so good workouts. Looking in the rear view mirror at the week I am generally satisfied with how I fared. This week was a planned (kind of) cut back week as I have done 3 weeks of 11 hours plus. My goal for this week was to get around 8 1/2 which is exactly where I am sitting this morning.
The title of today's post is in reference to my Thursday and Friday runs. On Thursday I went out at lunch time for a quick tour of the trails. Over the last two weeks we have had plus temperatures so I was anticipating good footing, but I was quite wrong. The trails are still relatively sheltered from the sun and were dangerously icy. I was running rather gingerly along the pathways and there were few opportunities to open up my stride and really run. As a result I completed a 6.3 mile run in 50:30.
On Friday I had an up tempo session in mind when I got home from work. Unfortunately I had limited time so in those circumstances, the treadmill it is. I don't really do a lot of speed work, or should I say I don't do any speed work. As recently mentioned I just run, however on the treadmill a progression type run works quite well. Everything is controlled and using the proper mix of speed and incline you can give yourself a solid work out. That is what I did yesterday. I only went 5 miles, but it was at 6:24 pace with the incline set at 2%.
Overall the week went well with 4 swims, 3 rides and 4 runs with a longish ride or run planned for today.
Four weeks into the training and things are going well thus far. As usual, the cycling still needs the most attention, but I was happy to get in 3 rides this week. Hopefully the good weather continues and I can soon get outside for an occasional ride. I am also looking at seeing what running events there are in Edmonton in the next little while as I am anxious to see how I would perform in a race situation. I know there is a 10 mile race in April but I am hoping to find something a bit sooner.
On the reading front I am just about finished reading "Young Stalin". It is a very interesting book, but he was one nasty dude right from the get go!
Musically I have not found much lately that I want to add to the iPod. I did pick up a greatest hits compilation by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, but that has been it.
Have a great weekend!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Older I Get The Better I Used to Be!

Have you ever heard that? A friend of mine once mentioned it in a hockey dressing room as someone was going on about their past triumphs. It is amazing what time and a faulty memory can do for your athletic prowess.
I run into this on a regular basis, usually at the pool for some reason. Someone will start asking me how many lengths I am doing or how far I am going to run. My usual answer is "I don't know, I'll see what happens." That's usually when the story starts. "Yeah, well I used to run a lot but you know, the knees gave out." If I had a dime for every time I heard that one. So now your exercise consists of bringing a bottle of water to the pool and sitting in the hot tub? And it seems to be working for you since you can no longer see your feet.!
Or the other one is "I used to work out a lot, but the doctor told me to stop." Who is this doctor and why did he tell you to stop. Were you getting in too good of shape, or was it the wrong shape. Perhaps the shape you are in now is more what he was looking for, 240 lbs and 5'7".
Unfortunately the pool was full of more than a few of these yesterday. For some reason the "resolutioners" have started later this year. Not quite sure of the reason, but I think the nicer weather has suddenly got people out and about. There had to have been 16 people in the pool and another bunch waiting on deck or in the hot tub. Now as I have mentioned before I am happy when a person decides to make a positive change in there life. That is absolutely the right thing to do. But you know what, keep the goals modest and to yourself. The old "Don't write a cheque with your mouth that your ass can't cash." would be the proper approach. I had to listen to one guy go on and on about the program he had set up and was going to follow. Six days a week, running, weights and swimming. And this all from a prone start, with a bag of Cheetos in one hand and a Coors Light in the other. C'mon man! Get real! How about I am going to limit myself to one bag of Cheetos a week and I am going to walk 15 minutes a day, and build from there. I can guarantee that I will see this guy until it either gets cold again (which it will) or until you can get 2 Teens for $6 at A&W. Point about all this is just be realistic, set achievable goals and build on them. Nothing too scientific or profound, just some common sense.
Anyway I have to go as I have a billion mile run and a 23 hour workout planned on the bike!
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Quick Recap

The first "official week" of training for IM CDA is just about in the books and it has gone relatively well. Actually it has gone quite well.
Sunday - Cross Country Ski - 1 hour and then a 10 mile run @ 7:05 Pace
Monday - Biked 1 hour - big gears - 17.5 miles - Swam 2000 metres easy
Tuesday - Swam 2,700 metres
Wednesday - Ran 9.2 miles @ 7:20 Pace - Biked 1:10 20.5 miles - high cadence 94 RPM average
Thursday - Swam 2,800 metres - Ran 6 miles @ 6:57 Pace
So the total for the week thus far is just over 8 1/2 hours. This will be my third week at 11 plus hours so next week will be a bit lighter.
Swimming continues to be fun because of the distinct improvement in my times. I am almost afraid to miss a day because I know how fleeting the improvements can be. It seems you can lose them as fast as they came.
The cycling is gradually coming together, but it is a chore with every workout on the trainer either staring at "Coach Troy" or trying to read from a sweat-stained page. But that it what it will take to get to where I need to be.
And running has been great as our weather has been perfect. Sunny skies and temperatures ranging from +8 C to +12 C. There has also been a fair bit of wind, but at least it is not cold.
Have a great day!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Lottery

Normally I am of the mind that lottery's are taxes on fools. The odds of winning are generally ridiculous and I am better off keeping the money in my pocket. But what if that lottery was for a chance to go to Kona and compete in Ironman Hawaii? The odds are just about as ridiculous, there are only 50 spots, and the ticket price is $35.
After shelling out the $35 and filling in the page long application I have now entered the lottery! I am officially a fool for those of you who don't know me, and for those of you that do, have confirmed it!
My odds of qualifying for Kona are long at best. If the perfect day came together I might be on the fringes, but the damn guys my age are still doing ridiculous times. So it has come to this. apply to a lottery. The other option is to outlive everyone in my category.
The other thing I have been thinking is maybe with the economic downturn fewer people will enter the races. Maybe all the fast guys will lose their jobs and won't be able to go. It's an evil thought, but it could happen!
So my name is in the hat and the $35 is out of my bank account. Now I just need to wait until April to find out.
On another note today I went cross country skiing. It has been awhile and as a result it took a while to get ready. I skate ski so I needed to do a hot wax ( of my skis) prior to going. I was a little out of practice, but it did turn out fine and my wax was ideal for the conditions. Cross country skiing is quite a workout and I forgot how tiring it is. However it felt good and I was still able to do a 10 mile run afterwards.
Today is the first official day of training for IM Coeur d'Alene. A little less than 5 months to the race.
Have a great day!