2016 is off to an awesome start! I'm back to structured training which is exciting after a few months of staying fit without following a schedule. It seems like half of Bend has got some sort of sickness to start the new year as well, and unfortunately April and I both picked that up. I haven't missed a workout because of it, but I have been very mindful of reducing the intensity when necessary to allow my body to rest. This time last year I started 2015 off with the swine flu, needless to say, I'm excited to have kicked the sickness and to be starting the year off in a much better place! Before I dive into some goals for the year and the outlook I'm approaching the year and season with, I've got to share some fun personal news. I grew up in Alaska with Golden Retrievers, and I've always wanted a big dog that I could take running, hiking, and exploring. April and I have talked about it for years (literally) and without getting into the details, we decided to make it happen in December. We didn't want a dog that sheds, so we locked in on the Goldendoodle breed - they have the athleticism and intellect of a poodle, the great looks of a golden retriever, and they don't shed. They are amazing dogs. We found a family not to far away that had a few puppies and we fell in love with one of the males in the litter - I'm excited to introduce you to Riggins :)
New season, new approach
This season I'm taking a different approach than I've taken in the past. I have 3 years of Triathlon specific training under my belt, with an additional 2 years of running volume. That's not a LOT when you compare me to other competitive age-groupers, however, I know that I have a big base and a solid amount of experience at this point. I'm entering this year a much more confident athlete, I know my strengths and my weaknesses, I know what gets me excited along with what keeps me motivated, and I know how to balance my triathlon lifestyle with real life. I'm choosing to focus on the process this season vs. obsessing on the outcome of my races and I'm so stoked to see the big improvements this year.
Last year, I started off the year very strict and rigid - putting too much emphasis on volume without truly attacking my weaknesses while working to maintain my strengths. This left me feeling burnt out before my racing season began which made for a lackluster second half of the year, something I am determined to avoid this year.
Being 7 months away from my A-race of the year, Ironman Canada. I'm not focused on volume at this point, as I believe that it's the 12 weeks leading into your race where specificity is key - for an Ironman this means volume mixed with race pace and effort work. I'm attacking my weakness (opportunity!) on the Bike with focus on increasing my threshold power, ultimately trying to increase my strength and ability to push out a lot of power. Simultaneously, I am maintaining my strength as a runner with 30 miles or so of running per week including 1 tempo run, a shorter interval workout, and a general endurance run. Most triathletes dread the swim, but after a 1 hour Ironman debut swim last year, I've realized that the swim could be one of my big advantages. I'm swimming 4 times per week right now focusing on strength and speed.
Process goals vs. Outcome goals
My goals for this season are going to be different than they have been in the past. I'm leading with process goals and not focusing on the outcome. Trusting that when I execute the plan and follow the process I've set in place, that I will achieve the best outcome possible, for me. Here are a few examples of process goals that I have incorporated into my training:
- Swim 4 times per week. Incorporate WORK into each workout and learn how to suffer in the water. Each week swim 10 x 100 on a send-off that gives me :10 rest. Each week have an endurance focused set where I swim at least 5 x 400 to develop shoulder endurance. Develop my top end speed while doing 20 x 50 each week with at least :20 rest between each interval.
- Bike 4 times per week and train specifically, don't waste rides just spinning easy - that is what riding outdoors is for in the spring. Increase my upper end power by executing workouts that are hard and make sure to increase power output as my fitness builds.
- Run 30 miles each week. Spend 20 minutes working under my 10k effort each week along with a short, hard workout that I would tend to avoid (example: 12 x 400 @ 5k w/ 200 slow recovery).
I believe that if I structure my training this way, that my race goals can be that much more specific. I will know my abilities and rather than saying I'd like to ride a 5:35 at Ironman, I can plan to ride at 75% of my FTP for the Ironman Bike (which I do believe will put me under 5:30!!!). If I train to the best of my ability, rather than shooting for arbitrary numbers, I will be able to race to the best of my ability. I can't be disappointed if I give my best.