Tuesday, December 16, 2014

You Know, It's Not All About The Base

I wish I had a dollar for every time someone told me "training is like a pyramid...you must build a big solid base..."  Hell, I wish I had a dollar for every time I said it.  But 16 years into my endurance "experience" and I am quite confident that I can flip that analogy upside down.  Literally.

There is no denying one needs a sufficient base to build the engine on.  But like I said...I'm 16 years into this gig, with never a break longer than maybe a week.  If it's base...I've got it.  So how does one approach the off season?  My old school of thought was...well, back to base training.  Build the miles on the run...build time in the saddle on the bike.  More is better and a shit-ton is best.  But why?  What good will a 3 hour winter ride in my garage at a modest effort level do me?  Besides hate my bike?  So a few winters ago I got on board the #WorkWorks approach.  Intervals.  Grueling, bloody intervals.  Increase the power.  Don't count the time...make your time count.  Get WAY out of your comfort zone.  Make it hurt.  And your legs will (someday) thank you.  

Now...once you emerge from the winter garage with new-found power...put that power to the test on 3 hour rides that you used to do in your garage.  See the difference?  I did.  My winter schedule has looked at lot like this:

Monday: Morning yoga & 40 lb ruck (morning walk with the dog), evening workout
Tuesday: Morning workout & easy run, evening bike intervals (longer session)
Wednesday: Morning workout & 40 lb ruck, afternoon quality VO2 max run session
Thursday:  Morning hike, afternoon bike intervals (shorter sessions)
Friday: Morning 40lb ruck workout, afternoon easy run
Saturday: Brick (longer ride with hard intervals) and run, workout
Sunday: Long run, climbing session  
I usually try to work in a complete rest day every 10-14 days.  Notice...no swimming right now.  More on that later...

The winter in Northern Illinois has been...weird.  It's December 16th, and I still haven't had to run in pants/tights yet.  

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Running Gods (Salomon) Smiled On Me

For as long as I've been running on dirt, I've had a bit of a crush on Salomon.  Ok, let's be honest...it was a full blown love affair.  I bought my first pair of Salomons in 1999, and thus began a beautiful relationship of ugly toes and Gore-Tex.  Every year I've returned and bought another pair.  Sure I've dabbled with other shoes along the way, but none have graced my feet as often as Salomons.
Last week, I headed out to buy my first pair of cross country skis...and there was never really a doubt what kind would end up underneath my size 12.  But a funny thing happened along the way.  Actually...a beautiful thing happened.  My good friend Adam and I were talking in the store about our deep devotion to Salomon...when we were approached by one, Brent Knight, Midwest Salomon Tech Rep.  What ensued was a love fest for the shoes and brand that all three of us love.  The result of our conversation was a chance for us to become Salomon "ambassadors".  Sharing our love of Salomon to the world....so that's what we plan to do.  I hope we get diplomatic immunity.  Viva la'Salomon!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Truth About IM Running

Truth #1:  I do NOT know the truth about Ironman running.
Truth #2:  Be honest.
Truth #3:  Sometimes I forget about the Alamo.

So my question is (and was) a simple one:  How fast should I run the IM marathon?  Ask 5 coaches and you'll likely get 5 answers.  Ask 5 athletes and you might get 10 answers (think about that one...).  Bottom line, pacing the early part of the marathon is critical to the success of your finish.  This is assuming you've paced the bike correctly, which is another huge assumption.

Long story short:  Be honest.

My open marathon PR is 2:58...but I'm not that guy any more.  Last year, lining up for Lake Placid, my deep dark secret was the I could run a 3:30-3:45 split.  I reality, I was probably in 3:30-3:45 OPEN marathon shape.  But in the back of my mind was my ego.  I'm a sub 3 hour marathoner.  But not anymore, Bud...I wasn't being honest with myself.  So in hind sight, I overcooked the bike a little, and now I am willing to admit that I was a little over zealous on the run.  All the more information and data to go into the brain to help build the machine for next time.

If I do plan to run a 3:30 IM split, I think I need to get my half marathon time back down into the lower 1:20s.  So that journey begins as I target a spring half marathon with a goal time of 1:30-1:35.

The weather has turned cold and I think we're in for another brutal winter in the midwest.  But once again, I'm looking forward to winter training.  I always think it's one of my super-secret powers: training in conditions no one else wants to, or is willing to train in.  It's like Rocky going to train in Russia in Rocky IV.   Plus, this year I'm picking up some cross country skis.  Viva la'winter...

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Return

I'm back.  Not that anyone has probably missed my weekly musings...but if nothing else, I am glad to be back writing for my own good.  It's always good to put pencil to paper and get down the things rolling around in your head.  Even if there's no pencil or paper.

It's been a very reflective year for me and I was happy to explore new avenues and push my mind and body in new directions.  Most importantly, I tackled my first ultra run.  May 10th...the Ice Age 50k.  Training through a bitter cold winter presented its own challenges, but it was great to get back to the thing I love the most.  Running...and running long.

The 50k itself went really well...I had a game plan and stuck to it.  I finished 18th and went sub 5 hours, accomplishing both of my goals (top 20 and sub 5).  My early goals were top 10 and around 4:30...as race approached I knew those two might have been a stretch.  With 50k under my belt now, the 50 mile bug has been flying around me.  No hurry for that one.  But I imagine it will happen sooner rather than later.

I spent the summer tapping into some my "speed" (bike and run).  And if you know me...the notion of "speed" is funny.  However, I read Ben Greenfield's latest book Beyond Training and it really got me thinking of my approach to training (as well as the things "beyond training"...clever name, huh?)  I plan to write up a review in my next blog.  Overall, a great book with lots of great ideas...and to be fair, lots of crazy ideas.

But perhaps the most import "triathlon" related summer accomplishment was plotting out my return to Ironman Lake Placid.  I have lofty goals for the return to the magical place that is Lake Placid.  Those goal are so lofty, I think they will take several years to even give me a chance to accomplish them.  So that's what I've given myself.  Return to Lake Placid: 2018

A short (non-conprehensive) list of my intermediate goal races:
2015: Rev3 Olympic (Wisconsin Dells) & Ironman 70.3 (Racine, WI)
2016:  The Year of the Bike
2017: Rev3 (Wis. Dells) & Ironman 70.3
2018: IMLP

Until next time...