Monday, March 18, 2013

Triathlon Training Log: 3/10 to 3/17 (Week 1)

Interesting week.  We had a new guy show up at practice this week, Jay.

Jay's young, ran in college (I'm assuming Cross Country but didn't ask), not yet married, no kids.  He's training for the Ironman Lake Placid, and I'm not gonna lie, hanging around him has been a little intimidating.  He is, at once, both my personal nightmare and the best kind of student to have.  Nightmare because here's this kid, more than ten years younger than I am, and his best thing is my worst--by far.  But he's the best kind of student because, let's face it, not every adult athlete is easily coachable.

My experience is that adults never want to admit that they don't know something, they don't want to show weakness or fear, even in the face of an obvious disadvantage or learning opportunity.  Jay, for all that I am quite sure he can crush me on the bike or run, is at least smart enough to realize that he can learn something from me swimming, and it was pretty awesome for me to have a chance to work with someone who has both tons talent and a willingness to learn.

With that said, positioning yourself to teach someone isn't always a slam-dunk.  Moreover, I think every West Pointer can see when their message isn't getting through.  It's just something you learn; the difference between, "Yeah, I'll do what you say because you're the boss," and "Yes, I agree.  That's a good idea."

So what happened with Jay this week is that he needed to see me in action before he believed.  He needed for me to show him a reason to listen.

All of this is a very long way of explaining why this weekend's Wednesday night swim was the hardest workout I've had in years.  I knew I didn't have much time, so I came in with a plan to bang out 15 x 100 freestyle before transitioning over to full-on coach mode, at which point I'd do my best to help folks fix their strokes.  What I didn't count on was having to impress a new, already fast guy--or my desire to do the same.  And what resulted was a Hell of a hard workout.

  • 5 x 100 freestyle @ 1:30 tempo
  • 5 x 100 freestyle @ 1:25 hard (holding about 1:12)
  • 5 x 100 freestyle @ 1:20 (holding 1:10 or less)
  • 50 warm-down
My first 100 of that last set was actually right at 1:06; I dare say that's the fastest I've been since college.  Certainly, my heart rate was up there.  At the end of that last set, I was at about 175 bpm.  

That might not actually be healthy for an almost 40 year old.

But.  Jay let me help him with his stroke, even going so far as to work with the stick on his catch-up drill.  He believed.  He bought in.  And then I got to spend some time with Letty, too, who if I do say so myself, has a great-looking stroke a year into the program.

Saturday I decided to take it easy.  I came in and put in a long, slow 2000 on no specific interval.  Kind of a modified SKIPS set.
  • 500 swim
  • 200 kick
  • 400 IM
  • 400 pull
  • 500 swim
Swim Total: 2 x swim (3550 yards); 35.5 pts.

It was a big riding week.  I rode my regular commute four times and then I put in a long ride with my friend Ben on Saturday after my easy swim.  We rode a little more than thirty-five miles, with the first thirteen including some legitimate climbs.  And I loved it.

I started riding in 2007, and now, six years on, I'm finally starting to feel like climbing isn't a liability anymore.  It feels so good to say that.

Riding Total: 5 x bike rides (79.7 miles); 79.7 pts.

I only ran once this week, but it was a hard run, doing short, sharp intervals.  I warmed up for ten minutes and then did 10 x 1:00 hard / 1:00 easy.  The hard intervals were about 7:00/mile if MapMyRun is to be believed.  The easy intervals were about 9:30/mile.

I was happy with that, but I wanted to run long this week, too.  However, that didn't happen, first because I ran out of points, and second because I hadn't taken a day off this week, and after that long ride, I decided I better take Sunday completely off.  My knees were sore, and that's not trouble I need.  Better to rest now and stick to the plan than to over-achieve and wind up injured.

Run Total: 1 x run (4.25 miles); 17 pts.

Training Total: 132.2 pts.

Final Thoughts
When I was a young Army captain, one of the small group instructors at the Armor Captain's Career Course told me that a decent runner needed to run three times per week: once fast, once long, and once short and easy.  That's advice that I've found to be pretty good, but it's hard to work it in with a real life, a real job, and the rest of the demands of triathlon.

Next week, I plan to really focus on running, and I guess I'll just have to alternate between riding and running focus until I build up enough of a points budget to cram it all into one week.

Still, it was a good week.  I feel good, and I'm proud of what I accomplished.

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