Thursday, June 20, 2013

Training Baseline - The Starting Point

Alright, so where am I currently with my training?  Well, it's not pretty.  Turns out having a 1yr old and starting a new job isn't as easy as I expected. 

My son TJ was born in March of 2012.  Shortly after that I signed up for Timberman 70.3 and managed to have a solid lead up to the race.  It was a challenge, but I did what needed to be done.  4am workouts, lunchtime swims and very limited sleep was sustainable for a short time, and I pulled out a solid 4:41 for the race.  I was pretty happy with the time, and allowed myself to slack off afterwards.  Turns out that focused training period took it's toll and I struggled to regain the mental and physical rhythm needed to get back into training. 

 This changed everything!

 Timberman Run

I tried setting some new goals, but when I started my new job in November, my routine was turned upside down.  My commute tripled in length and my work hours shifted.  Now I was at my desk by 6am and didn't get any free time until 8pm once TJ was asleep.  It wasn't a good time to prioritize training for a triathlon. 

 There was a lot of this...

So I did what I could to stay active, raced a duathlon in February and did some physical therapy to work on an irritated shoulder.  A few weeks of good training would be followed by a week or two of inconsistent training.  Not what you want for fitness gains.

The graph above outlines my training since February '11.  This is a great illustration of what you DON'T want your training to look like.  You can see a good build in 2011 leading up to Buffalo Springs 70.3 in June, followed by an off season of fitness loss.  Then in 2012 you see the build for Timberman, followed by an offseason of fitness loss.    Since August of '12, I've had a few spurts but not enough to sustain increased fitness.  

Consistency over time is probably the most critical element of gaining fitness.  My training lacks that consistency on both a macro and micro level.  You see huge swings in fitness on an annual basis, but if you zoom in on the daily, weekly and monthly level, you'll see a similar lack of consistency. 

Getting ready for Ironman Cozumel, I can't help but have wishful thinking about what could have been if I'd just filled in those gaps with some more training.  But I still think I have a solid base.  My Critical Power (CP) is about as good as it's ever been.  My running fitness needs to be sharpened a bit, but it's the one sport I've stayed somewhat consistent with.  And swimming, my constant weakness, is showing some real promise now that I'm doing Master's Swim three times a week.  

I have a ton of work to do, but I'm also optimistic.  I've figured out the work routine, I'm getting sleep for the first time in 15 months and I've got the support of my wife, Analise.  Below are my current numbers:

Swim Pace:  100yd time of 1:20; Threshold pace of about 1:30
Bike: Critical Power of 279W
Run: Critical Velocity of 6:43min/mi

These values were tested earlier this year and all are due for updating.  Testing is ongoing now, so by the end of July I expect to have some new values to share.   I'm not sure what my target paces will be for the Ironman, but there's a lot of time to build!

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