Friday, February 5, 2016

January Training Update

With the month of January behind us, I thought I would give you a little insight into what my training looked like on regular basis. I think a lot of people think that one must train the magic 20 hours+ a week to get ready for an Ironman, never mind to compete for the top step, but that is very far from the truth. Of course we are all very different, and what works for me, may not work for you, but my training fits within MY schedule, MY life and is based on MY own needs, goals and limitations, NOT someone else’s.

Before we take a look at the month of January, here is a snapshot of my weekly hours for the entire 2015. If you look closely, you will notice I only hit the 20 hour + mark 6x the entire year (The first 3 weeks was due to training camps so I had the privilege of just swim/bike/run/eat/sleep repeat, and the next 3 were in the final build up to Kona).

On average I trained little less than 13:30 hours per week, but I can assure you that most of my sessions included a lot of quality work vs. quantity (volume type work). Why? Because at the time, I simply didn’t have time to properly recover in between sessions due to “life” to put in the 20+ hours week after week.

Could I do it? I could (at least I think I could), but I can tell you that after 2 weeks of 20+ hours, I am able to fall asleep in just about any position and anywhere, my workouts begin to suffer unless of course I can find some more time to sleep or $$$ to use for weekly massages.

Bottom line is, training should be FUN, and not something that you dread doing every day. While for me training is a blast, it too is tough. Tough physically (the easy one to realize), and mentally (the tougher one of the two that most ignore). Just pay attention and tune in with your body/mind during one of your workouts and you will realize the difference between being mentally present or not in no time. 

Mental toughness matters more than you may think! 

I sometimes wish training was like magic! I wish that I could swim like Katie Ledecky at the snap of my fingers but that’s of course and fortunately NOT the case. Have you ever watch that girl swim? (If not, just do yourself a favor and type her name in google – you will be amazed). I wish my power would just keep going up and up and up every week so I could keep up with the likes of Daniela Ryf a.k.a the Angry Bird, and so I could run as effortlessly as Mirinda Carfrae makes it look, but that’s not how it works. There is no magic, just good ole’ fashion hard and consistent work! Consistency leads to results, but is tough to accomplish for many for many reasons, but that could be another blog post of its own. Train smart - make training fit your life with which will come consistency, and the big dreams and goals will happen. It just may take time!  

 The longer it takes, that sweeter it will be when you get there! 

So what has training been like for the first month of 2016? Take a look. 

Quick little side note – My last race of 2015 was IM Kona, so I took two weeks completely of, and then slowly started to build back up. By slowly I mean – week 1 back was 4 hours of training, week 2 was 6 hours, week 3 – 7 hours, week 4 – 8 hours you get the picture. I actually didn’t run for 6 weeks post Kona (I had to make sure my foot I had issues with pre – Kona was healed before I jumped back into it). This break allowed me to not only physically but also mentally recover. It made me hungry and super excited to train again. It should be fun remember?

By January 1st, training was in full swing! Since I was still very much in the “General Preparation Phase” of my training, I spent the month of January not only building fitness, but also focusing on weaknesses. What better time for that now before the move into the “Specific Prep Phase” which this year will come a lot quicker than in the past since I will be racing Ironman Texas on May 14th with (shockingly I know) high hopes of winning the overall amateur title and qualifying for Kona again. 

Swimming: 7x a week (Around 20,000 yards per week)

If you have been looking for me on any given day of the week, your safe bet would be to look for me in the pool.

I do eventually get in the water ;) 

Again, I didn’t just jump into the pool and swam every day. I had built up to 20K after I started swimming back up in November. What started with 10K had grown to 20K by the New Year, and I was actually on quite the roll until I wasn’t.

I have been swimming every single day of the week almost the whole month of December and January (I did make it to the pool on January 1st but that was definitely a bit rough), until I came down with a sinus infection. Sinus infection meant no pool for 11 days! With that I also missed out on an amazing opportunity to attend swim camp with Tim Floyd in Texas. To say I was bummed was an understatement. I still get sad thinking about it now.

When I jumped back in after the forced break, I felt like a foreign object – but at least a floating foreign object. It took me good 5 days to get the same feel for the water I developed before the break. That’s just how it is withe me. I am happy to report I closed out the month strong, and swimming every day again.  

I love a good routine! And I also love the hot tub! (That is my secret to mustering up enough body heat to stay warm for at least half a day). I actually try to stretch in there too and it always helps when your muscles are already warmed up – maybe that’s how my arms haven’t fallen off (yet).

Without too much detail – every Monday is my active recovery day, which also means an easy short (no more than 2K) swim mainly focusing on technique, and every Sunday is my long distance/endurance builder day (4K+) The rest of the week my workouts vary from anywhere between 2.5 and 3.5K for now, and consist of a combo of drills, speed work, and endurance sets. 

Just a few toys including the snorkel as well as tempo trainer and few others 

Drills help me focus on my form, and the snorkel (besides form) on my turnover – one part of the stroke I have been working on. (If it was up to me, I would glide all day but that unfortunately that apparently doesn’t get me anywhere anytime fast). 

What is really happening under water 

There are days where I feel great and like I have made so much progress in terms of both how I feel & my times, and then there are days, when I should just probably go straight to that hot tub because I feel like it’s the first time I have been in the pool in forever. I have definitely made improvements, but I do still have long way to go to where I want to be.

Swimming has definitely caused some great and some very frustrating moments, but I am determined. I have a dream, and I’ll keep chasing It until I get it – I am stubborn like that. 

 "The number one reason why people give up so fast is because they tend to look how far they still have to go, instead of how far they have gotten" 

Biking: 3x a week/sometimes 4x

If it was up to me, I would ride every day – I LOVE to ride my bike whether it’s exploring the outdoors or just spinning away in my living room. Unfortunately I am not much of a cold weather rider if at all, so you will find me in my pain cave (living room) sweating away.

Zwifting while watching some bball

With the addition of Zwift, my indoor cycling routine has been taken to another level! I love Zwift even when I don’t (yet) have one of those smart indoor trainers. I do have a powertap so I can still ride with others even on my trusty CycleOps trainer and some days collect various jerseys ;) or pick up random friends along the way that like to sit on my wheel (See it’s almost like riding outside and adding strangers to your back wheel because they don’t like being chicked). I could keep going on about Zwift, but that’s a post for another day. Bottom line is – it’s fun!

 Orange Jersey for the fastest lap

 Apparently your jersey can be split into two - green (sprinters)/orange (fastest lap)

Aaaand the QOM jersey even though Mr. KOM had caught me

And finally where else can you ride your bike through an underwater tunnel? 

As for my actual workouts, I have been doing a lot of Anaerobic/VO2 Max type intervals (read – super short, and super hard), while riding longer (So far only around 2ish hours) on weekends. The long rides are no joke either, and certainly always feel tougher indoors than outdoors. To give you an idea I usually end up averaging around 80% of my CP on these but break down the time into 30 min chunks within which I further focus on smaller segments ranging anywhere from 5, 10, to 15 min with varying intensities. It makes the time go by much faster (Zwift helps with that too and it’s always nice when a tougher/higher intensity segment happens to match up with one of the segments on Zwift). I create awesome of sweat puddles! 

 Just a little sweat puddle - no big deal

And another one (after just 1 hour of work) - you get the idea 

I have also just recently (the last 2 weeks) started to run off the bike, but super short. I do reserve to the treadmill because by the time I dry off the sweat and put on clothes, I am done with my run on the treadmill.

So here you have it, 3 quality rides per week!  Some weeks, I’ll add a recovery spin to my Monday routine making it 4, or add a short 1 hour ride before my long run on Sundays (although my long run isn’t all that long yet either).

It’s all about smart build up and consistency!

Running: 4-5x week (Around 20 – 25 miles per week)

Since I really haven’t been running very much at all, and my first run since Kona was around the end of November to make sure all is 100% healthy and healed, there is really nothing much to report here besides the fact that I have been just building run fitness/durability while trying to slowly increase the frequency/mileage. Most runs have been at my EZ pace, and I have just in the last two weeks of the month started to add some strides or hill repeats. The first time I did hill repeats (last week), my legs were so sore I could barely sit down or stand up for that matter for an entire week – ouch!

I do run with HR monitor to mostly keep me from going too hard. I have been focusing on my form, running relaxed (whether it’s uphill or downhill), and really trying to get in touch with how everything feels! Knowing your body, can and will make or break your race!

Sweating it out on the treadmill post bike 

Strength Training: 2x per week
SMART: 2x per week

Not much to report here, I have been mainly focusing on functional strength type exercises, core strength, as well as plyometrics, and making sure I spend some time with the foam roller, lacrosse balls and all the fun (not really) self torturing tools. 

And that’s January for ya.  Not a perfect month of training due to that little time period of being sick, but regardless of me moping around for a week freaking out about losing all the fitness I have gained, I have actually found myself feeling strong since I came back.  No fitness was lost, but fatigue has been shed, and that's a great combination ;).  

So that's what I have been up to! Hope you all had a great month of January, and I’ll “Czech” back again with another training update at the end of February. Keep on training and having fun! 

I am now officially 99 days away from IM Texas! Yikes ;) 

Coming up next: some very exciting sponsor news for 2016!