Week 12 was my best week ever training with a full week of school in the mix. My total training time was 26 hours and 45 minutes. I was able to do this much volume by getting up early before school and getting some easy bike rides in. Along with that I finished most nights by getting a late night ride in often times climbing off the bike at 11:00 or midnight. I'm feeling extremely fit...I'm feeling the benefits of the hard work. It always takes the body some time to adapt to the training load but by this point I feel I'm adapting very well. For the week I biked 200 miles (10 hours of trainer time), swam 14,300 yards, and ran 60 miles. This was my 4th week back to regular running and I haven't felt a bit of achilles pain in that time. I'm starting to log the kind of running miles I hoped to be in the pre-season. In addition to those totals I lifted weights, did speed drills and strides all three times, did lunges and plyometrics twice, and core work a record 8 times. In my 12 weeks I haven't missed a session in the weight room. I'm considerably stronger than I was at this point a year ago. I write down my weights and keep a close eye on my progress each time I lift. To give some examples on my improved strength...last year on my heaviest day of the week I was doing a leg press with a single leg at 160 lbs. This week I did my single leg press at 270 lbs. I do some lifts on a multi-hip machine. One of them is where I press the weight down working the glute. A year ago I was doing 120 lbs. on my heavy day. Now I am at 170 lbs. Some of my best workouts of the week...an interval workout on the bike Tuesday, a track workout at Augustana on Wednesday, a 5 mile progressive tempo run on Friday in which my mile splits were 6:00, 5:54, 5:47, 5:44, and 5:31 to finish it off in a time of 28:58. It was very comfortable until the last 1/2 mile when I dipped the pace down below tempo pace. On Sunday I got a 5 hour training day in. I began the day with my longest run of the year at 13 miles which felt very easy. Immediately following that I went to the pool where I struggled through the first 500 yards. I took 2 GU Energy Gels and almost immediately felt much better. I finished a 3,000 yard workout and then later in the evening I rode the bike for 2.5 hours during the Super Bowl. This was my 3rd or 4th five hour training day this year and it was definitely the best I've felt at the end. Once again, I'm adapting to the long days in preparation for the 1/2 Ironman race distance.
The two questions that I field most often from people when they find out I'm a professional triathlete are...1. Do you have any sponsors?...and 2. Do you have a coach? As for the first I'm happy to have a great group of people helping me on this journey. As for the 2nd I now answer that I have a great coach. My coach is a tremendous motivator. He keeps me excited to train day in and day out. He sets up my training plan in detail a week ahead highlighting the goals of each workout with the weeks and months ahead in mind. He is great about helping me realize when the workout goal is to recover and when the workout goal is to hammer. My coach pushes me to set weekly training goals that will lead to long term improvements and success. My coach knows the importance of easy days when I'm feeling fatigued mentally or physically. My coach reminds me of the importance of eating healthy. He knows that to a great degree I have lots of untapped potential by reducing my body fat percentage. My coach reminds me of the importance of balancing family, work, and training. My coach helps me visualize success on long lonely rides and runs. When I worry about my swimming weakness he reminds me not to worry about things beyond my control...just to work hard and believe that improvements will come by the summer. My coach shouts words of encouragement to me on the toughest workouts. My coach forces me to DREAM BIG each and every day...to believe that nothing is impossible. He has me believing that I can race and compete with the best long-course triathletes in the world. Who is this guy?? It is me. I am self-coached and am having blast doing this. It is one of the things that makes this journey so much fun. There may be advantages to hiring a coach. There are lots of great coaching companies out there like TrainingBible.com if you need advice on how to set up a training program. I believe my background in competing and coaching has helped me. As I set up my training program I know that developing my mental toughness and confidence are 2 of the most important things I can get out of workouts...so now when people ask me if I have a coach, I respond by saying, "yes, and he is doing a tremendous job of preparing me for success." Next Saturday I'll be racing 3,000 meters at an indoor track meet at Augustana College. A year ago I ran 9:31. This year I think I'm ready to run under 9:20 (equivilant to a sub-10 minute 2 mile). I'll post a race report next Sunday night. THANKS FOR READING! DREAM BIG!