Time to get back to work.
Technically, we're still in the offseason, and we'll stay there until mid-November, when base training really begins. But on Monday Team Two embarks on the Next Great Adventure as we start structured training again.
This season is divided into 3 essential phases. Phase 1, starting Monday, is a sort-of build phase, and lasts about 5 weeks. We'll train similarly to how we'd train for a Sprint triathlon, with short distances and workouts, mostly to blow out any cobwebs and get our systems ready to go for training again, so that we don't start base training with too much a lack of fitness. We cap this phase off with a 5k to keep as a goal and assess our progress.
Mid-Novemberish, we start actual base training. This is 16 weeks long, and will be all about strength and endurance. We'll be training our bodies to ride at high watts, developing the strength to get faster on the bike. We'll be incorporating lots of strength and speed workouts on the run as well - we want to condition ourselves, over the next 2 years, to not just survive the Ironman distance, but thrive in it. This phase is capped off with an an early sprint half marathon, sometime in late March/early April. The goal of that race is to P.R. the distance, or if not P.R. than to have a quality race, true to the fitness developed, and with a clear understanding of why a P.R. wasn't possible.
Finally, we take 2 weeks off and in Mid-March start training for Spirit of Racine, our July 20 Half Ironman. While Ironman is the prize we eye all the time, this season is all about executing the right training and fitness to race - not just endure - a half Ironman. I've never actually raced the distance, just had my ass kicked by it 3 times.
Our training program is generally a concoction of everything I've learned in the last 4 years, and a hybrid of training plans from Gale Bernhardt to Rich Strauss and lots of players in between. 'Zilla's crazy enough to trust me, so we'll see how it goes. Generally, though, there are a few philosophies. First is: flexibility. Workouts can be moved around, and entire weeks taken off here and there to stay fresh, not get overwhelmed, overtrained, or fatigued. Another is: modularization. Is that a word? We're breaking up what is otherwise a reallllly long 9 months (a year if you consider the marathon we both intend to run next October) into manageable chunks, with a race of some distance always on the forseeable horizon to keep our heads wrapped around. This should keep us focused, and hopefully keeps us from getting bored or into a rut. Third: Strategery. We have a series of road races and triathlons on the agenda that are all purposeful - we're running them for a reason, with a strategy and goal in mind. Maybe it's to P.R., maybe it's to rehearse, maybe it's to experiment. Any additional races we do are just "fun" - fun runs, an occasional sprint or olympic distance, maybe. But those are optional to the essential races that will keep us driving forward. Fourth: Sensibility. We're not even getting into the pool until March. This is 3-6 hours a week that we'll NOT be training. Until then, we're focusing on getting strong on the bike and run, and building endurance. When we do hit the water, we should have the lungs to get efficient workouts in, and we should build towards peaking at the right time. We also have lots of days off or x-training days built in, so that we don't run ourselves raw with the grind. Finally: Perspective. We're talking about an end goal that's 23 months away, and it's kind of dumb to even plan that far ahead for anything. A missed workout here and there, a shortened run, a rearranged long bike ride, a few days off - that's not going to kill us. The object is to avoid burnout, get to the starting line healthy, and train smart to race. The rest are just details.
This is my second Ironman, and 'Zilla's first. For me, the objectives are so totally different this time around. I'm much more interested in the training, in the work involved. So much of the personal discovery was taken care of last time, and while I certainly always hope there's more of that to come at every turn, I'm looking forward to not being overwhelmed with it like I was last time. For 'Zilla, I hope he engages in the same crazy awareness of self that I developed for IMWI '06 - the experience made me a changed person.
I also want to do it smarter. If training quantity suffers for the new family developing around here, then the quality has to ratchet up. If I'll be tired and exhausted from real life, then the training has to be a catalyst for invigoration, not further exhaustion. How all of that will manage is yet to be seen, and is part of the fun.
Welcome aboard Becoming Ironman everybody. We'll be leaving the parking lot shortly.
Please put your chairs in their upright positions and fasten your seat belts as we prepare for takeoff folks.
Yep, this is it, this is the big one. Or something like that. Basically all I can say, in a nutshell, is that I'm a giant ball of clay for XT4 to mold. I'm with him and agree 100% on the above. He says bike a 40K at such and such watts...I'll drink a case of beer. He says run a race pace 10K...I'll eat two pints of Ben & Jerry's. He says swim 1600 meters with a pull buoy...I'll float down the lazy river on my inner tube. In actuality, I plan on doing the EXACT opposite of what he tells me in hopes to hit 300 pounds by 2008!
Wow, the creative well of mine, although never that full, is completely empty right now. I'z got nothin. It's been a long week, bare with me.
On a serious note though, I'm getting antsy, anxious and excited as all hell. For the first time in a long long time, I'm basically pain free. I've had some nagging, not so much injuries as they are/were nuisances, in my left foot, hammy and glute. Miraculously and inexplicably, all three went away yesterday. So I'm stoked and feel pretty well rested and ready to go physically. My main goal other than having the most fun I can possibly have is to not over do things and burnout like I did this year for the how every many time in a row this is. 23 months is a LONG time for anything. It's going to be a slow, grueling process and I'm looking forward to the challenge and all the unknowns it's gonna bring my way.
If you're reading this, thanks for tuning in. No doubt, I'll be enjoying the ride one step at a time. 70.3 here we come!