Ok, I'm finally ready.
Last year I would have been shocked to imagine myself taking 3 months almost completely off from training. I thought the post-season rest was un-needed. And then I did an Ironman and it all made sense. I loved training. I missed a total of 1 workout in my 10 month training program. But as much as I loved it, I hit a real low point. I think it happens to everyone. 5 weeks before the race. You have 2 last really hard weeks and you start to unravel emotionally and physically. You have had 9 months of 4:45am wakeup calls. And now you have 2 workouts every day. And they are not short. And they are not easy. You wake up at 4:45 to go swim for 90 minutes straight. In a pool. In your wetsuit. Then you go to work and try your best to rehydrate. Things get crazy and you don't get home until 7pm. You're hungry. You're tired. You just want to crawl into a ball in your closet and cry yourself to sleep. But you don't. You have a 120 minute hard trainer ride that needs to get done. And you know that you can't eat first. You climb on the bike, spin your heart out, and then collapse on your bed. You lift your tired arm just high enough to set the alarm for 4:45. You have a 90 minute run to do in the morning.
And finally, today, I look back on those days and smile. I want that back. I want the passion and dedication. I want the sweat and the tears. I want to be a triathlete again. So it's time to lay it down with a plan and some goals.
October-December. The preparation phase
I made a big mistake last year. I didn't prepare myself for the build. I was a tad bit injured, a tad bit over my optimal training physique. So this year, for 2.5 months I will prepare myself for my base. I will lose weight. 115 pounds by my 29th birthday. Which just so happens to be December 31. I will baby my knee and work up to 10 mile runs with unwavering consistency. My ass will be in and out of my Terry saddle doing some short but intense trainer rides. I will swim when I can (with my schedule that's the most realistic I can get). If I need to get up at 4:45am, I will. I will start to cook again. As much as I'd like to think it's possible, the body can't train optimally on peanut butter sandwiches alone.
Jan-March. Base building
Workouts start getting longer. The goal of this three months is endurance. A little more each week. Training volume ramps up. Some intensity is thrown in. I start to add some speedwork into my runs once per week. I swim more consistently. I beg my CTC girls and my Shaker cycling buddies to join me for indoor trainer marathon sessions. I head out to the towpath on crisp weekend mornings and hit the trails for long runs, listening to snow crunch under my feet.
It's time to put it together. Long sessions with extended intervals. Hard workouts. Bricks. Long runs. If all goes well with my schedule, icing will begin with a return to spend 10 days with some of my favorite people back at Smartasscamp. Nothing kick starts your icing phase like a 40 hour training week.
June-November. I race
With no Ironman on the schedule, next year will be for racing. I will have to be a little choosy since there will be some busy months with school. But I want to do a half marathon, a sprint, an oly, and at least 2 halfs. And if all goes well (real well), one of those halfs will be in Clearwater, FL in November. A girl has to dream, right? My goal is to take at least 20 minutes off my half ironman time and qualify for the 70.3 Championships (which used to be easier since the slots rolled down deep, but it is getting harder).
May- Cleveland Half Marathon
June- Local sprint and a road race
July- Oly somewhere
August- Steelhead 70.3
September- Italy and another Oly
October- Towpath half marathon
November- Clearwater 70.3 Championships
There. I said it. The hard part is done. Now the fun starts.