Monday, January 3, 2011

2010: Year in Review

While I had substantial plans for 2010, they were largely short circuited by scheduling issues preventing me from hitting my primary targets. Physically I had a good training year, seeing improvements in all three sports and getting in some solid training. Unfortunately, without the races it's difficult to quantify those improvements as those all-out efforts are typically the best way to test things out.

The one thing that I did mange to do very well this year is avoid any injuries getting in the way. I did have some back issues at the beginning of the year, but they were largely a result of trying to do too much mileage during my base period at the end of 2009. I've had a few things pop up since then, but on those occasions I was able to detect them early, back off and prevented them from flaring up. Catching those signs is a good step in the learning process, as straddling the line between avoiding injuries and working out hard enough to see gains is critical to squeezing out maximum performance.

If there is one thing that I do need to learn from this year it's not to put off registering for races. My primary goal for 2010 was to race Ironman Muskoka but the high cost to register had me holding off due to scheduling concerns. With a $300+ registration fee, that's a lot of money to lose if I couldn't make it so I wanted to be 100% sure that nothing would get in the way. Unfortunately, work was unpredictable this year and I kept putting it off until it was too late. The other races I wanted to do this year fell to similar fates, and that resulted in me only getting one 5K in (which I didn't really race).

The Numbers:

Running: 2,247.0km (1,396.2mi) - 188h12m (5:02/km avg.)
Walking: 97.2km (60.4mi)
Cycling: 4,482.4km (2,785.2mi) - 148h30m (30.2km/h avg.)
Swimming: 345.5km (214.7mi) - 138h42m (2:24/100m avg.*)
Total: 7,172.1km (4,456.5mi)
* Note, swim time and averages include breaks and drill sessions.

Relative to 2009:
Running: -447.5km(-16%)/-41h50m(-18%)
Walking: -139.8km(-59%)
Cycling: +423.8km(+10%)/+14h17m(+11%)
Swimming: +164.8km(+91%)

My overall mileage this year was pretty much exactly what it was the year before although the makeup was significantly different. As my focus largely shifted to Triathlons, my running and walking mileage dropped while my swimming and cycling mileage climbed. I'd have liked to see most of those numbers higher than they were this year, but unfortunately scheduling time on the bike and in the water is a bit more complicated than on foot as there are more constraints to work around.

With that said, pretty much all of those totals were effected by the lack of racing that I did this year. Without the races I never built up to the extreme mileage weeks that I normally do, so the miles this year were more evenly distributed throughout the season. For illustration purposes, the following is a diagram from running free online plotting my mileage from this year (Polar's ProTrainer software generated a better plot for last year, but unfortunately I have no way to import my Garmin Edge 705/800 files into it):

For comparison purposes, last years mileage looked like this:

As you can see, the peaks don't quite reach the same levels as last year, but there is less up and down over the year. The other thing that you'll likely notice is the drop off in cycling mileage at the end of this year, as the weather wasn't nearly as accommodating as it was in 2009 near the end of the season. That meant going inside on the trainer earlier, and it always takes a while after that transition to get back into the routine of things.

On the fitness side of the equation, my weight continued to creep up a little higher than I'd like so that will have to be a focus this year. A portion of that is likely upper-body muscle mass due to the addition of swimming into my routine, but I don't think that can account for all of the gain this year. I'm still within the healthy range for my height, but the more mass that I have to drag around the harder I need to work so getting back into the low-160s/high-150s should be an objective.


2010 Racing History:
As mentioned above, I didn't really do any significant racing this year. The only event that I did run was the Harry's 5K, but that's more of a social event and I rarely go all out. Given the hills on this course a PB isn't likely to happen, so while I pushed reasonably hard this year it wasn't really a full effort race.

Looking Ahead

As I didn't really hit my objectives for last year, they're pretty much going to carry through into 2011. With that said, the main difference this time around is that I had a chance to build up my swimming and cycling this year so I can go about things in a more aggressive manner. Ideally, I'd like to run a half iron distance race in late June as a test and then build up to an all-out race of the same distance in Muskoka. That wasn't possible last year as I hadn't build up enough, but with this year's training in the bag it should be feasible. As Welland isn't an official M-Dot race, it's a lot less expensive so I won't feel so tempted to go all out on it.

I was thinking about making a BQ attempt at either the Mississauga or Toronto Marathons in May, however doing that would require me to hold off on the above a bit as it would require more focus on running training. Unfortunately, with the threat of the BAA adjusting the qualifying standards I'm leaning away from that idea as there is no sense in putting in that level of effort if I can't get there. Aiming for 3:10 will be extremely difficult, but I think that it's within the realm of possibilities - if that's adjusted to 3:05, however, there isn't much point.

As with last year, I'd like to try and get my 5K time under 20 minutes at some point this year, but it's not a huge priority. My fastest time in this distance so far was 20:55, but that was nearly two years ago and on an injured ankle so 20 minutes should be within reach. With that said, this needs a different type of training that the endurance focus that I'm currently working with, so finding a way to slot it in without disrupting the primary objectives may be difficult.

Either way, I need to look over the race schedules for the year and formulate a plan to achieve those goals. The schedules for the Triathlon season are still tentative, so I can't really get into too much detail until the organizers nail them down. Muskoka is going to be somewhat questionable as the WTC moved the World Championships to the same weekend so it's likely that that's going to be moved around a bit. I'm also hoping that the BAA speaks up sooner or later about what they're going to do, as if I want to make that attempt I'm going to have to start training for it in the very near future.

On the cycling front, I'm also going to have to find a way to get some longer rides in this year. While I got decent overall mileage, my individual rides still maxed out at a little over 100K. I don't like doing much more than that solo, and unfortunately I wasn't able to talk my friends into doing anything longer than that. I'd like to progressively work my way up to at least 100 miles at some point this year one way or another.

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