Monday, December 29, 2014

It's Been So Long, What's Up?

Well here we are closing in on the end of 2014. It has been a pretty good year sports wise for me, and so many other part timers that I have had the fortune to share my limited knowledge with.  I think come the new year I may do a blog post on my equipment choices for triathlon, maybe. But for now I figure a quick update on the happenings of now.

After my rest month of November, I started back into training. Last year I started a 24 week training plan that took me to the Bluenose Half Marathon and a new PB. While that was great, it was very run focused and left me a little off when it came to Triathlons and Duathlons. So this year a more balanced training plan was needed.

To start I have really been good about getting into the pool at least twice a week. I have also been very good about forming a swim plan and sticking to it. While my speed hasn't been coming up, it has been getting good and steady and my endurance has been creeping forward. That is great and thanks to my new swim watch I think I can make some real progress in this area (more on that in a future blog post).

My cycling has been coming along as well. Sure I am continuing my cycling commuting during the winter, but thanks t the great weather we are having, I have continued to get out, especially on the weekends for long more sustained rides. And when  I can't get out I have done some very nice harder short sessions on the indoor trainer.  The indoor trainer rides have been done using heart rate, as I frequently talk about. And thanks to a lap top and some good videos, I can actually stand sitting and riding the trainer for more than 10 minutes (ha ha).  I think as the winter goes along and gets less fun for outdoor riding, I will be hitting Kinesic Sport Lab for some of their awesome indoor Computer Trainer sessions.

Now last year I broke my run training into 4 specific periods of training, each with a specific focus. I also took to running 5 days a week. Now, don't get me wrong, that worked wonderfully and got me to new levels of running, but I think this year I will be refining that even more.

For starters I will be cutting back to 4 specific runs a week. This allows me to be fresher on the bike and swim sessions and get more out of them. It also allows me to go harder on the hard run days and still have good recovery time. And of course, I am not just a runner, but a multisport athlete, I I know I can't neglect the other aspects of racing.

The 4 phases of training will also see some alterations. For one thing, I found the 6 weeks blocks too long and by the end I was mentally not excited about the work. Perhaps if I was running in a group setting that might be different, but as I do most of my training solo, I decided to alter my sessions into 3 week blocks. Three weeks are a minimum to allow the body to adapt, so I can't go less than that.

To start I just finished off the first 3 week block of base training. Four runs a week at 7.5 km a run. All of this was done at Zone 2 or easy pace and I certainly saw my pace start to creep back to were it should be by the end of week two, which was actually much quicker than last year.

The first week of the second block has begun as well. I am adding the long run back in now, though as usual, all new things are added in cautiously to avoid injury. So my long run is currently 10 km. And finally I am already adding in a little bit of speed work. Not too much to start though.

I am adding in my interval / core training session to start. 30 minutes which consists of warm up, intervals interspersed with core exercises and a cool down.  I wanted to add some strength training earlier this year, and the intervals are helping to push that anaerobic barrier a little earlier as well, which should help with some of the mid winter races. Those intervals are done at Zone 5 intensity. No threshold work yet, though.

Anyway, enough rambling. I hope your training has started and remember there is great help out there if you feel stuck in a rut, are constantly getting injured or want to take things to the next level. So don't be afraid to reach for it.  Til next year!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

What the heck happened to November?

Well here it is and we are in December already. So what the heck happened to November anyway? Well it does seem like it flew by really fast and while I was busy, it wasn't so much a sporty kind of busy, so here's a quick recap.

The last 2 years now I have made an effort to use November as a rest month. No structured training, limited to no running, and work on any ailments. Seems simple enough. That of course also mean no racing!

So in the month of November I think I ran twice for a total of 10 km, and frankly I did that because I wanted to try out a new shoe. I did stick to my regular cycling commuting and managed to add in some nice lazy bike rides both with my wife and solo, on the weekends. That was nice. Swimming? Yup, I did that, and in fact actually started to build back up my pool time in anticipation of an extra push this winter to prep for a few more sprint triathlons in 2015.

November is also a great time to work on some physio and getting my body stronger, so that I can hit the ground running, literally, in December as I make my push for another strong Spring and early Summer season. This was curtailed a bit due to a fall off my bike on an icy morning which may have lead to a mild wrist sprain. Now that it is better I am back on track though.

Oh and I managed some bike maintenance. Some bikes get prepped for their winter nap, other get ready to take full advantage of the less than stellar weather. Headsets are cleaned and greased, chains, derailleurs, cassettes are all shiny. A nice coat of wax to finish it all off of course.

But November is really Movember for me. I spend the month growing and grooming my awesome moustache and prepare for the great and exciting Halifax 6K Movember Trail Run. My buddy Mike and I have been putting this on for three years now and it is always fun. Great sponsors jump on board, the weather never cooperates and we get a great turn out. For the first time ever we actually sold out with 100 online registrants (we accepted a couple of walk ups as well). We raised a great bunch of money for the Movember Charity as well.

So all in all, a busy month, a relaxing month, a spill and fall on the ice month, and now it is great to get back to hitting the pavement with my feet under me (ha ha). Talk to ya soon.