Week 3 of training was my best week since last March before I started having problems with my achilles tendon that ultimately led to surgery and an end to the 2010 season. For the week I had a total of 17 workouts that added up to 19.5 hours of training time. I ran 41 miles (my most since pre-surgery), biked 100 miles, and swam, 17,500 yards over 3 swimming workouts. I also lifted weights, did lunges, speed drills, and strides all three times, core work 7 times, and plyometrics twice. I'm really beginning to feel like I'm getting back into solid shape. I have settled into a pretty good training routine which makes the total time not feel bad at all because it is well organized throughout the week. I think it is important to lay out a weekly schedule for when you can do workouts. It helps to give you a "roadmap" that will allow you to get where you want to be. For me this "roadmap" is laid out every week. Jen and I communicate with the things we have going on so I can make necessary adjustments but for the most part I'm running 6 days, with a day off on Tuesday. I'm swimming on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, lifting weights on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and riding whatever 5-6 days the schedule allows. I take the day or two off biking when I feel I need the extra recovery. My hardest run day is typically on Wednesday when I do some sort of intervals. I also do a tempo run typically on Friday and my long run is almost always on Sunday morning. The 19.5 hours did not feel overwhelming in any way because I was well organized. I still have quite a bit of potential workout time so I'll be able to increase my load as I get in better shape. This week I only work 2.5 days with the Thanksgiving holiday week so I'm planning to bump things up for the week with a recovery week to follow next. The recovery week will still be training every day but it will be considerably less volume since I will be coming off 4 straight weeks of building up. It is important to have easy weeks in training just as it is to have easy days.
My hardest running workout of the week was a hill interval workout on Wednesday. I'm hoping to get in a solid hill workout every couple weeks to help prepare myself mentally and physically for the hilly course that Ironman St. George will be. I ran 8x 400 meter hills with a jog down recovery. I also increased my tempo run this week to 4 miles. I call this workout a progressive tempo run because I get progressively faster each mile of the workout. My mile splits over the tempo period were 6:14, 6:07, 5:53, and 5:37. I like to gradually cut down and finish the last mile at about 10k race pace. My total time for the 4 miles of tempo running was 23:52 and the pace never felt too stressful.
My favorite workouts of the week were definitely my swims with the high school team. On Tuesday we got out of practice a little bit early and the yardage totaled 4,100 which was my most of the year so far. Thursday the workout was 6,200 yards and I wondered at times if my arms were going to fall off. After the first of 3 rounds through the main set Coach Tweedy moved me to the fastest lane and I got absolutely drilled by those guys. I was struggling just to make it through the workout but it was great because it forced me to focus on keeping my technique together when I was really worn down. The 6,200 yards missed my most ever in a single workout by 100 yards. This total was completely obliterated on Saturday when I joined them for a 2 hr. 10 minute practice in which I totaled 7,200 yards of swimming. I was back down to my regular lane and led the lane through the entire workout so I never had a chance to recover by drafting which I regularly do. I've really enjoyed working with these guys. It amazes me that in addition to the workouts after school they practice every morning at 5:30 a.m. I know my technique has come a long way over the past year. I am rotating my body through the water much better than a year ago when I made that a major focus. The other thing I spent lots of time on over the past year is on getting my elbow higher out of the water. Coach Tweedy has given me great feedback on my stroke and wants me to begin thinking about the "catch" phase in my stroke.
Today I was able to watch the finish of Ironman Arizone online and it was awesome. The field was completely loaded as 3 guys went under the previous course record. I was really inspired by 3rd place finisher Tom Lowe's race. He exited the water 8 and a half minutes behind the leaders but used huge bike and run legs to move all the way up to a 3rd place finish. This inspires and motivates me because I know I'll be giving up big chunks of time to the leaders over a 2.4 mile swim that the Ironman requires. I will need to get myself into phenomenal bike and run shape so I can move my way to a podium finish in St. George. In fact 3 of the top 7 finishers today came out of the water anywhere from 8.5 to 10 minutes behind the leaders. The most inspring performance of the day definitely came from Britain's phenom female Chrissy Wellington. Wellington has never lost an Ironman race and she is a 3x Hawaii world champion but had to miss last month's race due to an illness. She decided to race in Arizona shortly afterwards and today she set the world record Ironman time for a female! Not only did she win the female race by almost 30 minutes but she only lost to 7 guys! She was only 3 minutes behind 2008 Olympic triathlete Matty Reed. She finished with her famous smile and then gave credit to the fans on the course for her amazing performance. She set the world record by 11 minutes! Congrats to all the finishers at Ironman Arizona. It was very inspiring. Thanks for reading! DREAM BIG!!