Sunday, March 28, 2010

Week 12: Working Out Plans...

As with the previous weeks, logistical concerns made me move stuff around a bit this week and I didn't quite get all of my planned mileage in. Cycling suffered the most, as while I was able to squeeze in three sessions I wasn't able to go for as long as I would have liked. It was pretty rainy on Tuesday, so with the rest of the week looking nice I pushed that run back - I did manage to get in all of the sessions, however that meant five consecutive days of running so I didn't push quite as hard on the remaining days to be safe.

The one upside to moving stuff around like this was that I converted one of the standalone runs into a brick session on Friday. As last week's brick failed to cause the intended fatigue when starting the run component, I increased my power level up to about 240w to see if that would change anything. That didn't appear to do the trick, so will have to aim for a ~260w target next time I try this (should work out to roughly 32.1km/h (~20mph) on my trainer).

I also ended up signing up for the Harry's Spring Run-Off near the end of this week as I wanted to get some racing in to see how the legs are doing. I've done this race the last couple of years and it's a great course so I figured that it was a decent opportunity. With that said, I'm not really planning on pushing too hard here as I haven't really done any speed or hill work since the injury. With the May marathon off the schedule, the focus has shifted more to rebuilding my endurance base rather than worrying too much about speed.

Week 12 Totals:

Running: 50.0km (31.1mi)
Walking: 2.3km (1.4mi)
Cycling: 85.0km (52.8mi)
Swimming: 7.4km (4.6mi)
Total: 144.7km (89.9mi)

Year to Date:
Running: 459.4km (285.5mi)
Walking: 33.4km (20.8mi)
Cycling: 500.2km (210.8mi)
Swimming: 70.6km (43.9mi)
Total: 1063.6km (660.9mi)

I'm also at the point where I need to start solidifying plans for my races this year. Muskoka has a price increase coming up in April, so I'm thinking seriously of formally registering for that. I had hoped to put that off for a while given the high registration fees ($235CDN), but I don't want to risk it filling up on me. I also have to look at registering for a hotel, as we're required to drop the bikes off the night before and it's way too far away to make two full trips up and back.

Aside from that, however, I need to figure out my schedule for races to build myself up to that distance. Ideally, I'd like to do another sprint triathlon at the beginning of the season, and build up to an Olympic distance race in July/August. Unfortunately, looking over the schedule most of them are either at the beginning of the year and the end. Right now, I'm gravitating towards Woodstock (1K, 32K, 8K) on June 7th and Guelph Lake (1.5K, 42K, 10K) on the 20th - I'd like a little more time between them, but it doesn't look like that's going to be an option. If I do go down that route, I'm likely going to have to find an additional race to fit in during the mid-summer period to keep my skills sharp.

As for running, I'm flirting with either doing the Half Marathon at Mississauga or possibly the Sporting Life 10K. The former is probably more useful (the running stage in an Ironman 70.3 is a half marathon), however I've yet to actually run a 10K race and I've wanted to run the latter for the last couple of years. The SL10K also has the benefit of giving me more time to recover before the Triathlon season. Doing them both would potentially be an option, but with Woodstock following shortly I'm not sure if that's a great idea.

Latter in the year, I'm thinking of mixing in Midsummer Night's Run (not decided between the 15K or 30K) to test out my endurance. Further, depending on how quickly I recover from Muskoka, I'm also flirting with the idea of trying to leverage the remaining fitness and give the Toronto Marathon a shot. There are five weeks between those two races, and coming out of Ironman training I should be in pretty good shape, so it may be a good opportunity to aim for that 3:20 target. It's the last time this race will be run in the fall (the city is moving it to spring next year), so I'd like to give it a shot before that happens.

Either way, still plenty to think about but wanted to get these thoughts down ;)

This Week (Tentative):
Mon 50K Ride
Tue 3.25K Swim, 6mi Recovery w/Speedwork
Wed 30K Ride, 6mi Recovery
Thurs 3.25K Swim, 4mi Recovery w/Hills
Fri 40K Ride
Sat 5K Race
Sun 8mi LSD

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Week 11: Review

It was another beautiful week again and although it did cool down over the last couple of days, it's still quite comfortable for running out there. While I did loose a bit of mid-week mileage due to scheduling issues (got all of the sessions in, but had to cut some short), I added a couple of miles to my long run this morning to make up for it. Cycling is a bit behind due to a combination of timing and the fact that I did last week's long run on Monday (when I usually do a cycling session), but I'll try and make that up this week.

Thanks to the great conditions, my legs have wanted to start pushing faster again so my paces are starting to climb back to where they should be. For instance, on Friday's brick session I felt great coming off the bike so I just allowed myself to accelerate through the run finishing off just short of a tempo pace. I'm not sure if I'm doing something wrong, but every time I've done these sorts of sessions I've felt stronger than just running alone - will have to try pushing a bit harder on the bike segment I guess.

With that said, for my slower runs I've had to explicitly concentrate on keeping my pace down. When it's nice out there, my instinct tends to be to push a bit harder so it takes more effort to keep my recovery/long runs in the right zones. During the winter it's a little easier as the legs seem to be a little more willing to take it easier ;)

On the swimming front, the pool was extremely busy for both of my sessions. Aside from the March break crowd adding to the traffic, they were using half of the pool for lifeguard training so we were crammed into three lanes. As such, for the first hour I tended to be stuck continually passing slower swimmers and then the second hour I had to swim like a maniac in order not to get in the way of the faster guys ;) In my first session I tried to keep up with my normal sets, but that's difficult in heavy traffic so on Thursday I just did one big set with smaller warm-up and cool-down sets. Either way, it was probably good practice for the chaos I'll be running into when racing season starts again (even got some drafting in behind a friend on Thursday's last set).

Week 11 Totals:
Running: 52.2km (32.4mi)
Walking: 3.0km (1.9mi)
Cycling: 50.0km (31.1mi)
Swimming: 8.1km (5.0mi)
Total: 113.3km (70.4mi)

Year to Date:
Running: 409.4km (254.4mi)
Walking: 31.1km (19.3mi)
Cycling: 415.2km (258.0mi)
Swimming: 63.2km (39.3mi)
Total: 918.9km (571.0mi)

As my speed is starting to come back, I'm going to continue to try and increase my mileage again to get to a better base level. I might introduce some light speedwork back into the program this week, but I'll have to see how things feel before I do that. If things go as planned this week, then I'll start to transition into a more formal training plan again and begin to build back up to get ready for my races this year.

This Week (Tentative):
Mon 50K Ride
Tue 3.25K Swim, 6mi Recovery
Wed 30K Ride, 6mi Recovery
Thurs 3.25K Swim, 6mi Recovery w/5x100m
Fri 40K Ride
Sat 4mi Recovery
Sun 13mi LSD

Given the improvements I'm thinking seriously about giving Harry's Spring Run-Off a shot in a couple of weeks - I'm not going to be in all-out racing shape by that point, but it would be a good test to see how things are progressing. I'm also looking at formally registering for Muskoka in the near future, as I don't want to risk it filling up before I get around to it. Given the price I'd ideally like to hold out until I run a few medium distances, however there aren't many of these races in the vicinity so if this sells out then I'm pretty much screwed until next year.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Weeks 9 & 10: Review

It's been an extremely busy couple of weeks, and I never got around to writing up last week's review so I'm just combining the two ;)

The weather recently has been spectacular, with temperatures well above zero and minimal precipitation I've pretty much been using the summer running gear exclusively. After being bundled up in long pants and jackets for the winter, it's quite nice to be back in comfortable clothes once again. Naturally, the winter has been pretty tame so far this year so this is just icing on the cake ;)

I've been tempted to get the tire switched around on the bike so I can take it out, but I'm not sure that I want to tempt the fates with that just yet. We're not really into the clear until May comes around, so there is plenty of time for nasty weather to make a comeback ;) Either way, that doesn't make riding inside any more fun when it's so nice out there (especially with a shiny new computer and aerobars that I'd love to play with off of the trainer).

What I ultimately need to do is either (a) learn how to switch my tires around myself or (b) get another wheel/cassette so that I can switch back and forth between indoor and outdoor riding at will. While I know how to do the former in theory, I've never actually gone through the process myself so I'm a bit concerned about messing up my tire/wheel if I don't get the nuances right. I've still got unlimited free service at my bike shop for another year and a half, so it's difficult to justify the risk ;) Ideally, I'd like to find a clinic somewhere so that I can get some practical experience without risking my equipment, but they never seem to line up with my schedule.

Either way, for the time being I'll still be riding inside and just do whatever I can to take full advantage of the weather when out for my runs!

Week 9 Totals:
Running: 48.4km (30.1mi)
Walking: 1.7km (1.1mi)
Cycling: 40.1km (24.9mi)
Swimming: 7.0km (4.3mi)
Total: 97.2km (60.4mi)

Week 10 Totals:
Running: 45.3km (28.1mi)
Walking: 1.5km (0.9mi)
Cycling: 90.0km (55.9mi)
Swimming: 7.0km (4.3mi)
Total: 143.8km (89.4mi)

Year to Date:
Running: 357.2km (222.0mi)
Walking: 28.1km (17.5mi)
Cycling: 365.2km (226.9mi)
Swimming: 55.1km (34.2mi)
Total: 805.6km (500.6mi)

This week is march break for the kids in the area, so there are kids playing pretty much everwhere. The pools, as expected, are chaos as many more people are out and the lanes are going to see a lot more traffic. Compounding that, in my session earlier today they were running lifeguard training in half of the pool so all of those extra people were crammed into three lanes. It's likely to be like that for the rest of the week, so I'm roughly considering heading down to UofT's 50m pool on Thursday to get away from the hordes.

Regardless, the weather is supposed to remain immaculate until the weekend so I'll be doing everything I can to take advantage. While they're calling for rain on Saturday and Sunday, the temperatures are supposed to remain high so that likely won't be a huge problem either. Once you're wet you're wet, and as long as the shoes don't get saturated a nice light rain can actually be pretty pleasant when the temperatures are at this level!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Week 8: Changing Plans...

Last week was crazy, and between the weather and other obligations I ended up missing a good deal of running mileage. Cycling was a bit down, but I did manage to squeeze in a speedwork session this week to try and make up for it. Fortunately, I was able to exceed my swimming target for the week so not all was bad ;)

Either way, I've pretty much settled on amending my plans a bit and dropping the 3:20 marathon attempt at Mississauga this year. The back injuries took me out of commission at a sensitive time, and while I'm close to being back into it there is really no margin of error in the 12 week program so it's likely smarter not to risk it. Pushing myself back into my full blown regime too quickly just risks re-injury, and that could easily cause a lot more problems down the line.

I'll instead focus on building my base for the Triathlon season this year, and depending on how I feel coming out of that I might take a shot a the marathon in the Spring. Naturally, that won't leave enough time for a conventional marathon training program, however if I do build up to the half ironman I should be starting in relatively good shape and should be able to build back up. That's a long ways away, however, so I'll worry about the details of that further down the road.

I had hoped to do a few races in March, however as I've pulled back the intensity in this recovery phase I've been focusing more on endurance than speed. Back in January I was focusing a lot on speedwork in the hopes of maybe squeezing out a sub 20 minute 5K, however at this point I'm not sure that I can get back there in time for Achilles. I'll have to look at the race calendar and see what else I can find down the road a bit. Harry's is about at the right time, but there's no way that I can pull of that kind of speed with those hills.

Week 8 Totals:
Running: 25.5km (15.8mi)
Walking: 0.9km (0.6mi)
Cycling: 65.0km (40.4mi)
Swimming: 7.6km (4.7mi)
Total: 99.0km (61.5mi)

Year to Date:
Running: 263.5km (163.7mi)
Walking: 24.9km (15.5mi)
Cycling: 235.1km (146.1mi)
Swimming: 41.1km (25.5mi)
Total: 564.6km (350.8mi)

In removing the fall marathon from my plans, I now really have to focus on finding a good training plan for the triathlon season so I can effectively build up to it. The original concept was to worry about that after Mississauga, but with that out of the way I might as well take full advantage of the extra time to better prepare myself. If I do end up doing the half ironman, I'm likely looking at somewhere in the vicinity of 6 to 7 hours, which is a lot longer than the 3.5 hours that the marathon took. As such, the sooner that I can get started in building myself up the better my chances of making it to that point ;)