Five months to go. I just finished a very strong February (the most I've ever done in the winter by a fair stretch) and the trend is continuing into March. It will hit a bit of a hiccup next week when I travel to New York for work, but nothing to derail me too much. Here's hoping the weather is better there than it has been of late (although the long range forecast is calling for some rain at the end of the week back east). I suppose that will make coming back to Colorado all the more sweet.
February didn't get off to the smoothest of starts. I began the month with a nasty stomach virus, and so I took the first week to ease back into training (Ironically, this easy week would have been a pretty solid week a year ago). Throughout the month I hit the rest of my 33 scheduled workouts. I even wound up running further than I'd planned. These runs were generally done after my longer bike rides on the weekend, and after getting my planned 2 miles in, I'd just keep going.
As part of my training for Ironman Boulder, I've tried to set some monthly goals. In January, it was to consistently hit all of my workouts, and I came pretty close to that. Here's what I'd planned for February:
As I look back on the training over the last 4-5 weeks, I can easily say that I hit my training target for February in terms of building strength and hitting the volume targets (barring the week I was sick) that I'd set. After the recovery week where I only managed 66 miles of riding, the next three weeks of cycling looked like this: Week 2 (112 miles, 6 hours 45 minutes), Week 3 (94.5 miles, 6 hours), Week 4 (132.21 miles, 7 hours 7 minutes). The monthly volume for riding came out to a total of just over 350 miles.
More important than the "total" of riding that I did, was the quality of the riding. The majority of the riding that I did was on the trainer using workouts from Trainer Road. Specifically I focused on their Mid Volume Half Iron Distance Plan. These workouts included a number of tempo rides, intervals, and my favorite form of torture: "over and under" rides, which consist of intervals first spent riding above FTP, and then shifting to just slightly below FTP.
Since I began triathlon, my approach to cycling has been mostly just to go out and ride. I will occasionally do some hill sprints or short intervals, but it has never been very consistent. In past winters, I would ride occasionally outside when the weather was warm, and I might put in a half hour of casual spinning on the trainer, but that was really about it. Trainer Road has added more structure, intensity, and interest in my riding this winter, and I've noticed a big difference.
Yesterday, was a lovely day with temps in the mid 50's so I decided to get my riding done outdoors for a change. After driving over to CSU-P, I did a popular ride out on the DOT road to the test track.
|Not much to see out at the track!|
The "S" and the "R":
Although they weren't my focus during the month of February, I also had a pretty good stretch of swimming and running in February as well. I made it to the pool a total of 7 times, and covered 13,500 yards, even managing to get a couple of longer swims in that I hadn't expected. I know that these numbers will have to "grow" a bit in order to accomplish the 2.4 swim of the Ironman, but given the time restrictions I have at the moment, they'll have to do. One thing I really tried to do in February was pay attention to my form and technique in the water. I'm trying to stay consistent and not swim just for swimming's sake.
When it comes to running that has also gone well. I ran 8 times in February and 5 of those were after a long bike ride. Usually I'd run somewhere between 3-4 miles, but as I move into march, I'm lengthening those runs a bit, and starting to focus more on the amount of "time" running as opposed to the distance covered. My pace on those runs has been above my estimated Ironman pace by about 2-3 minutes, so I'll have to back off of that a bit to see what a slower pace feels like off of the bike (It's much easier to run 7:30-8:00 minute miles when you're only running 4-6 miles compared to 26.2!).
Now that I'm a ways into March, I've been looking at plans for the month and the goals, I've established. In terms of biking, the weather hasn't been super cooperative so far, so I haven't been able to do a lot of riding outdoors. I'll stay hopeful and maybe I can log at least one outdoor ride each weekend on either Saturday or Sunday for most of the month. I also have a SBR workout planned towards the end of the month. I'm going to continue building with the Trainer Road workouts and since I'm getting into the back half of the Triathlon Build Plan so I'll follow through on a few more of those workouts before the taper phase kicks in. As it stands, my planned cycling volume will continue to be fairly close to February. It may stretch a bit higher if I can get some more outdoor rides done. I'd also planned to add an additional day of swimming this month, but it looks like that may get pushed back a month. I'll be traveling and there are a few other obligations that I have, which will make a 3rd weekly swim kind of hard. When I look at my training schedule right now, I'd need to either double up with a bike day, or swim on a Friday morning. Usually Friday is my rest day before the weekend, and I'm not sure that the value of an extra swim would make up for losing a day of rest. I'm also not sure how that would impact my key workouts on the weekend. I'll probably push the extra swimming back into April. I do know that once June rolls around, I'll have ample opportunity to do some more swimming, so I'm not too worried about that.
|March Goal will probably be adjusted.|
There are two things that I'm trying to do with regard to nutrition. First, I'm really working to be more aggressive about consuming nutrition during exercise. I know that it's the only thing that's going to keep me from having a complete bonk, and I want to make sure that my stomach can handle the combination of energy drink, gels, etc. well before Ironman. I'll keep using a mix of GU gels, Power Bar Gels (they're on sale right now), and Gatorade. So far they haven't done a number on my stomach, but I haven't done more than about 3.5 hours, so we'll see.
In terms of my overall eating, I'm still doing fairly well, although not as strict as before. The truth is that if I'm too strict, I tend to keep losing weight. Earlier this week, I weighed in at just over 163 lbs. That's fairly thin for my 6'1" frame. I'm still trying to eat well, and I'm really avoiding the junk food (and absolutely no fast food), but I'm also allowing myself to indulge a bit more. One thing I continue to do is eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. This seems to have a huge impact on how I'm feeling.
There are now less than 150 days until IM Boulder. I'm still very excited and I'm pleased with where I'm at in my training. With spring approaching, I'm certain that my enthusiasm will only grow!