Sunday, June 14, 2009

Week 25: Review & New Targets

Was a pretty good week this time around, and while the weather again interfered with a few of my rides I did manage to get my first 100K ride in yesterday. As expected, it was certainly a long way and the route that I selected had a few nasty hills to make it that much more difficult. Either way, despite the fact that it took almost 3.5 hours to complete (3:29:09 to be precise, about 6 seconds longer than my marathon) it was an enjoyable ride with some pretty nice scenery. With that said, I ended up doing this ride solo (the group didn't materialize this week) and it was a bit of a concern going that far out on my own.

One thing I do have to remember for future attempts, however, is to bring some gels with me on rides like this. Fortunately I didn't have any problems this time, but my records show a consumption of over 2100kcal which is dangerously close to the limits. I saw the numbers getting up there at about the 80K mark, and as I was running low on fluids as well I made a quick stop into a convenience store and grabbed a Gatorade and a couple of cookies to help refill the tank a bit. Finding an appropriate store was a little difficult, however, as one has to worry about where to put the bike when you go in (another thing that's much easier with a group).

Due to the energy consumption of yesterday's ride, I elected to push today's 11 mile run back to the afternoon as I wanted to squeeze in another meal to make sure that my stores were sufficiently refilled. Unfortunately, today was a pretty hot day so running later in the day didn't help with that. When I set out, the thermostat was reading 29.4C with 60% humidity and as my body's still not really used to running in the heat yet that made things pretty difficult. I brought along 16oz of Gatorade, and unfortunately with the heat I ended up running out after 13K. As I approached the 10 mile mark, I elected to just cut the run short to avoid running into any problems. I did some additional mileage on Wednesday, so I'd still have more than enough to cover my weekly target.

I also managed to squeeze in my second swimming session this week which went a good deal better than last week. I'm still horribly slow, but I think I've got most of the kinks worked out so it's just a matter of building some upper body strength and a little more endurance in the pool. I'm still a long way away from being able to race in the water, but I've still got some time to work on that one ;)

Weekly Totals:
Running: 56.7km (35.2mi)
Walking: 3.2km (2.0mi)
Cycling: 142.7km (88.7mi)
Swimming: 1.3km (0.8mi)
Total: 203.9km (126.7mi)

Year to Date:
Running: 1,295.0km (804.7mi)
Walking: 167.6km (104.1mi)
Cycling: 1,882.9km (1,170.0mi)
Swimming: 2.4km (1.5mi)
Total: 3,347.9km (2,080.3mi)

Last week marked the end of the recovery phase of my marathon training program, so I'll be restarting the Pfitzinger 55mi/18wk program again this week. Working the rest of my activities into the schedule is going to be a bit challenging going forward, but with the mileage still relatively low that won't be a huge problem for the time being. Tentatively, my schedule will be as follows however I may need to make some adjustments depending on the weather and other logistical details.

Upcoming Week:
Mon 50K Ride
Tue 8mi (12.9K) LT w/4mi (6.4km) @15K Race Pace, 1hr Swim
Wed 30K Ride, 10K Recovery (Group)
Thurs 9mi (14.5K) GA
Fri 30K Ride
Sat 75K Group Ride, 4mi (6.4K) Recovery
Sun 12mi (19.3K) LSD

When I ran my first marathon back in May, I managed to chew through my long term goal (finishing a marathon before my 30th birthday) so for the last few weeks I've been trying to figure out what goalpost to set up for the next little while. When I went into marathon training, my intention was more to get that notch into my belt and be done with it. The sheer ammount of work required to train for one of these races is daunting for someone who has never done it before (4.5 months of nearly continous training), and the thought of doing it over and over again is almost unimaginable ;)

As my training progressed, however, I found myself enjoying it and, while it was undeniably a lot of work, once you got into the routine of it it wasn't all that bad. The few short distance races that I did during my training showed marked improvements as well, so hitting all of those little mini-goals along the way helped to make it more enjoyable. When I actually ran the race and crossed that finish line below my target, however, I found myself focusing on what I could do better the next time around and wanting to give it another shot.

At the same time, after working cycling into my routine I've been tempted by the idea of playing around with giving Triathlons a shot. Over the last year and a half, I've steadily increased my targets and aimed for longer and longer distances. The marathon is about as far as I realistically want to run at this point, so aiming for bigger targets means going in a bit of a different direction. A few months ago the idea of an Ironman was pretty much insane, but at this point the concept is kind of floating around in the back of my head in much the same way that the marathon did a year ago.

Either way, after a bit of playing around with various ideas I'm likely going to split my attention a bit between achieving two different goals. In the short term, I'd like to work my way into qualifying for the Boston Marathon and I've got to shave 18:04 off of my time to get there. As such, I'm looking at targeting 3:20 at the Goodlife Toronto Marathon this fall and then, hopefully, working my way down to 3:10:59 at Mississauga next spring. Those are both pretty aggressive goals, so if I have to scale back my plans I don't mind doing that - but getting to 3:10 is not an easy goal, and one has to push pretty hard to get there.

The longer term goal is to work my way into doing some Triathlons. I'd like to attempt a short distance race later this summer to get a feel for the sport - not so much to run it competitively, but to get some experience with the transitions and see how well my body takes to it. Tentatively, I'm aiming at the try-a-tri (375m swim, 10K ride, 3K run) in Orillia in late August as the date and location work well for me. The bike and run legs are short enough that they shouldn't pose too much of a problem (even with tired legs), but the swim will require significant improvement and the transitions will likely be pretty messy the first time out.

Ultimately, I'd like to work my way up to an Ironman but thats a long ways off and will depend critically on how well the shorter races work out for me. Either way, I likely won't begin to really ramp up the triathlon side of things until the Boston goal is achieved. I hope to pull off a few short to medium distance Tris next summer to further my experience, but I won't even begin to think about the longer distance ones until I'm clear to focus 100% on them.

The tricky part at this point is to figure out how to integrate my training to accomodate both of these goals. While my running is strictly regimented by a formal training program, my cycling and swimming have simply been done by feel. If I do want to get serious about this, I'm going to have to find some sort of formal program that is flexible enough to deal with the running requirements that my primary goal will require.

The one idea that I've been flirting with is giving the Running Room's Triathlon program a shot. Their Aurora store has a clinic that started last weekend targetting the Orillia race, and their running programs did do a lot to help me when I first started out. The caveat, however, is that (a) that store is a good distance away from here and (b) I havn't really been able to find much information about how their program is structured. It has to deal with athletes with a wide range of backgrounds, and whether it can be sufficiently flexible to deal with my requirements (ie weak swimmer, relatively strong runner/cyclist).

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