Saturday, September 26, 2009

training and training

the run in PG
I'd like to keep the content rolling on my blog, which means when I am not racing that either I have to talk about others racing or myself training. Today, I am gonna post about about my training over the last several weeks.

When I was in France during my altitude training camp (early August), all I could do was train and rest. Besides frequent naps, I did a lot of talking, and hopefully, more listening. I had the benefit of being around, and training with, some of the best triathletes and coaches around.

I talked with several people about how poorly my season had gone so far this year, and several specifc things I could do to turn it around. This brings us to today's post. One of the key components that has been absent from my training is speed-work (on the run). I am not talking about running close to 10k goal race pace, but getting up and firing off some 400's all-out! There are several reasons specific to me that I need to especially work on this, but I will save those for another post.

The structure of the last few weeks has looked very similar. This is the first time I have done the same workouts week-in and week-out for a long period of time, but I am really am enjoying it! There have been just slight progressions in either the speed or duration of the interval from week-to-week. Since my run is the limiting factor right now, the weeks have been organized around 3 key sessions (4 if you include my long run). Here they are:

Tues: 6-10 x 400 FAST on 3:00--Started out at 6 and am building up to 10-12 holding the same pace.

Thurs-AM Run, Hard Bike w/intervals and then straight to the track: 2x3200m w/2min; 3x2k, 1k w/90; and 4x2k w/90 was the progression over the last few weeks. Distance has increased and the pace has gotten faster.

Sat-Hill Repeats. 4x2:30min repeats @ 8%, and 4-6x30s @ 8%. These were done to focus on my toe-off/drive part of my run, and to work on increasing my stride length. As I move into the last few hard weeks of my season, the Saturday Hill repeats will be phased out and I will start to introduce another speed session on the flats....probably off the bike.

Sun-14-16 mile long run, but cruisy

The other runs have been double runs and fillers to get me to around 55-60miles per week (90-100k). This has been the formula for about the last 5 weeks now, and it has been working well.

I have been swimming extremely well in the pool, and the bike has been rolling along. I ran decent at Pacific Grove after a very, very hard ride, and I think there will be even bigger improvements to come in my last three races. That is it for now. Just wanted to give you a little glimpse into wha tI have been doing over the last 5 weeks. Thanks for reading.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

a step in the right direction

I got 4th this past weekend in the Pacific Grove International Triathlon in California. I ended up 8 seconds behind 3rd so I was tantalizingly close to the podium!! Overall I am happy with how the race went, but a little peeved at a small mistake that cost me a higher finish...

I had a great start to the swim even though it was about 53 degrees! I was in the lead pack of 4 (including myself) for the swim and stayed there for the entirety of it. We had a lead of about 55s or so on the rest of the field....this pack was the race! Normally I have a great T1 and am super fast taking off the wetsuit. Not that day. It got stuck around BOTH ankles. While I lost maybe 6-10s because of this, it was just enough to keep me from making it to the bike with the 3 others. I hung right behind fora while but could not bridge up, and had to wait/get caught by another small group of 2 behind me.

I rode the whole bike with the 2 guys (Manny and Jamie Stephenson from Canada) and we couldn't hold the time to the front group (Flash, John Dahlz, and Kyle Leto). For 3 of the 4 laps we were holding steady at 1min, but the last lap we ran out of juice and lost another 30-45seconds. Coming into T2 I was really fatigued from the ride, but still down 1:30+ to the leaders.....not the plan!

Onto the run my legs felt surprisingly ok! I ran well and steady for the first 2 laps with Manny and then made a surge on the last lap to try to reel in John Dahlz. I knew I was closing on him, but due to the twisting nature of the course, I couldn't see him until right before the finish line. I ran in 8 seconds behind him for 4th place with the 2nd fastest run split. If I would have been in the group that I swam with??? That is the nature of many variables. Transitions are the 4th discipline, and I will start working on mine!

All in all it was a great weekend and really gave me some confidence back. I am in really good shape and I needed a race like that to get my head back into the game. I am starting a 3 week block before I head to Asia to do 2 races in the middle of October. I am excited to continue to build on the gains I have made in the past several weeks.


Saturday, September 05, 2009

back to blogging

not a bad view, eh?
Haven't blogged in a while, but I am not too sorry about it this time. I needed some time away from writing my thoughts down as racing has not gone as expected (to say the least). Last time I blogged I had just arrived at the Centre Nationale de Entrainement Altitude (CNEA) in Font Romeu, France. I am no longer in Font, but back in Fort Worth, Texas so I will fill you in on the details.....

I spent 3 weeks up at altitude in Font Romeu w/ about the best training group you could hope for. France, New Zealand, Switzerland, Australia, Belgium, Luxembourg, Scotland, and Hong Kong were all represented there. While everyone had different plans, we all swim, bike, run and thus were able to train quite a bit together. By far it was one of the hardest, most consistent blocks of training I have done. But it was also the most fun. Training in groups with great people just seems to make the miles tick away faster and keep the motivation high. If only l'autre amercains would get this.... Font is beautiful and challenging. As one would guess, when you live on the side of a mountain flat spots are few are far between.I got in quite a bit of volume and still managed a sprucing of intensity (not too much since it was my first time at altitude).

I came down from Font to race Tizzy WC. Coming down from Altitude can be a tricky thing. Sometimes things go brilliantly and sometimes they go pear-shaped. Everyone seems to be different in their responses to coming down. The 3 days leading up to the race, I felt awesome. It was really easy to breath and I felt good with extra rest and extra oxygen.

During the swim I felt a little sluggish, and had a little trouble getting out the first 300m. After that I moved up the field as best I could and thought I was right in the middle of the first pack. I felt great. It wad the easiest swim for me in while. And that turned out to be the problem. I was in the 2nd pack! I hopped on the bike and started chasing. We made up ground quickly and started to reel in the first group. Right as we were about to catch them, there was a crash in our group that took out half our pack. Ouch. We were like 10s down. It totally killed our paceline and motivation and we lost heaps of time. Never made that first pack. Got on the run and had nothing. I gave it a go, but was dead and having trouble breathing. I ran well for 2.5k and then went backwards...literally. I called it a day. I friggin hate dropping out...

Then it was back to the states to get in some more training and racing. I raced nationals two weeks later, missed a buoy and got DQ'd. I wont go into details, but race buoys shouldn't move!
So here I am in September looking back on my season. It has not been good. So the question is do I call it a year early, regroup, and come back firing for next year?? To be honest, this is what I was thinking. I was pretty disheartened after nationals. You should never make a decision right after a race. I took a few days to recoup, regroup, and rethink.

Since June, I have had some of the best, most consistent training I have ever had. While my races haven't shown it, the data is there. I am fit. I need to race. I want to race. I consulted some of the experts I know to try to figure out what I can improve on. I got some great ideas and have been implementing them in my training, and they seem to be paying off. I will get into those in another blog as that is a different topic. Training theories sounds like better off-season blogging material to me.....

So here I am in Fort Worth continuing to tick off the sessions. Things have been going great and I am excited for the "start" of my new season. I am racing 4 more times this year. Next weekend I will head to Pacific Grove in California. I love that race and will be looking to get on the podium (my best result there was 4th, so it is the only logical step). After PG I will return to Fort Worth and do a block of training before I head to Asia. I will race the ITU Indonesia Asian Cup, and the ITU Hong Kong Asian Cup in the middle of October on back-to-back weekends. My last race will be the ITU Hualtulco World Cup in South Texas (read: Mexico) on November 10th.

Looking forward to racing well! Here are some pics from my time in Font Romeu.....enjoy!

the swim squadstuffing my face with cola66 kilos in that pic baybe!contemplating life, triathlon, or maybe nothing...In Andorra @ 2400m...long climb up!got to go to Dirk's "place" on the beach for an afternoon

The gang out at l'ermitage