Goals should be a challenge, a stretch of your ability, a journey of self discovery rooted in your values. They must also be realistic and achievable with focus, discipline and hard work. For the most part and importantly, fun too! My 2011 goals encapsulate, for me, all of the above.
#1 Complete an Ironman Distance Triathlon – A Goal
Quelle Challenge Roth, Bavaria, Germany, July 10 2011 (entered)
This is the biggie. It is the horizon that my mind’s eye has gazed at since I started triathlon in 2009 I had learned to swim the previous winter and although the Iron Distance fascinated me, I really believed it was beyond me. Just finishing a 3.8km swim was a mountain to me let alone a 180km cycle and a Marathon afterwards! I’ve learned a lot in a short space of time, most importantly that you get out of this sport what you put in. This log will mainly concentrate on how I cope with the focus, discipline and hard work that is required to become an Ironman in a busy life.
#2 Run a Marathon in under 3 hours – B Goal
Berlin Marathon, Germany, September 25 2011 (not entered yet)
This one is a stretch. It would require knocking about half an hour off my 3:27 personal best. I’ll have a 10 week block of Marathon specific training and speed work to get me in shape to have a go at least Ambitious perhaps, but if I complete Goal #1, I won’t be too hard on myself if my best effort doesn’t cut it. First things first… the Ironman!
Going long a couple of years earlier than originally planned worried me enough to put it all under the scope in the last few weeks. Creating the plan was like swatting for an exam and it’s almost complete. I’ve based the pattern loosely on Don Fink’s competitive programme with my own tweaks. 20 weeks base training employing a progressive pattern and addressing my limiters early. 12 weeks of progressive IM specific training starting March 22nd and a 4 week taper block. It probably a long base period but my key limiters in both the bike and run is base fitness, extensive aerobic... whatever you want to call it.
I’ve worked hard at it this year and feel generally happy with the progress. Building the distance won’t be the problem but staying efficient and maintaining stroke length for the distance is paramount. My training focus is on technique/drills and long sets with stroke focus.
I’m confident with general strength. Good roads and long straights suit me but I need to work on power/weight ratio and maintaining a good cadence for hills. My main focus is on extensive endurance. I have rarely cycled for longer than 2 hours so like most training for an IM, the long bike is the key session of the whole programme. I’ll incorporate some progressive lower end FTP work too but building to a 5-6 hour bike without cardiac drift is fundamental.
My biggest limiters are base endurance and cadence. Basically after 60-70 mins running I have significant cardiac drift or if I maintain a capped heart rate my pace can drop dramatically (up to 30sec per km). This is largely due to how I ran the 3 Marathons I did before I found Triathlon. Like many novices I had no experience of road races so all training consisted of predominantly chasing times in the dead zone between base and threshold. As a result I rely on my glycogen store all of the time and feed it with far too much sugar in my diet. The plan is to convert the sugar burning furnace into a fat burning efficient engine! In terms of cadence has been a case of plod, plod, at 150spm L Over striding and I expect my legs to hit a pace off the bike?! Speed work will not be a focus but developing my cadence will undoubtedly increase the speed I can hold for certain zones. Cadence checks will be a key feature of the 2 key run sessions each week. The LSR and the transition run.
The 36 week IM programme kicks off on Nov 01. I have the fun job of pacing the 4 hour group at the Dublin Marathon before then. I also promised myself after the horrid recent return to the pool that I’d never go more than 2 weeks without swimming again!
I started my first boards’ log the same day I started my Thursday night group swims. It was the start of my Tri journey then. As the Swim groups starts back this evening I figured it to be apt time for a new log. Last time the session kicked off with a TT to sort us into lanes. I presume more of the same tonight…
Deep Breath ... Roll on 2011
PS (just in case) 140.6 = 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run..