8 weeks in...9 to go until my first triathlon of 2012. I'm really excited with the direction things are going right now. This was my biggest training week yet this year at 27 hours. I ran 60 miles, biked 170, and swam 21,800 yards. I also lifted weights and did plyometrics twice, speed drills, strides, push-ups, and lunges all three times, and core work 13 times. My weight has continued to drop and I'm inching closer to my race weight. I weighed in this week at 155 lbs. which is 4 lbs. more than the lowest number I saw throughout the entire 2011 season. I saw 179 on the scale on New Year's Eve so I've cut that down rather quickly. My younger brother Josh has organized a weight loss competition for 26 individuals that have lost a total of nearly 400 lbs. since the New Year began. It's pretty amazing. My older brother Justin has gone from 280 lbs. down to 246 and he looks awesome!
My biggest change in training this year has been more of a focus on swimming. I don't know if the additional yardage and workouts will leave me faster or not this summer but I'm trusting it will make a big difference. I learned in my first year of professional racing about the dynamics of the pro races. Typically after the swim the riders will stagger 10 meters behind one another and the weaker riders will get pulled along in this manner. It is impossible to take advantage of those dynamics if you are the last one out of the water...hence my increase in swimming. Through 8 weeks of training I have surpassed 15,000 yards every week. Last year I didn't get my 8th week at that yardage until the beginning of July. The days when I would show up to the pool and be in and out within an hour are gone. I'm now in the pool for anywhere between 90 minutes and 1 hr. 45 minutes. I swim 4 days every week and when I can get a bonus 5th swim in I do. This week I got my bonus today because we didn't have school and Monday isn't one of my scheduled swim days. I also think I'll be able to get in the water on Friday so I'll have 6 days of swimming this week. For most triathletes I would recommend spending the majority of the time on the bike and run because the swim is the shortest aspect of a triathlon. Due to what I learned about racing professionally last year however I'm making a committment to becoming a stronger swimmer. I've been fortunate to have help from Stacy Zapolski and Tara Christensen who lead another great swim clinic this week where we met 3 new members. It's been super fun for me to watch this clinic grow. We'll be back for another session at Augustana's pool in 2 weeks.
I've been contemplating my own training schedule lately. I like to increase the volume but when I do the quality of the workouts suffers a bit. My track workout at Augustana on Wednesday did not go well. My legs were too tired to get a 2nd bike interval workout on the weekend so I did more base mileage pace. I got in shape quickly the first 4 weeks when my volume wasn't high but my quality was. I'm going to start alternating quality weeks with quantity weeks as a bit of an experiment. This week I will eliminate all the "junk" miles as some would call them and focus on getting 3 really hard bike workouts and 2 really quality running ones. My overall volume will be down but I know I gain a lot from the quality. I don't consider any miles "junk" until I'm at my race weight. Until then every mile helps me get closer to that weight and I still believe firmly the #1 factor for me to race my best is to get my body lean. Dr. Kaminski from Kaminski Pain and Performance Care has a new high tech body composition machine that we will use to monitor where I'm at. Before I began training I had a baseline test and my body fat % was 18 which is incredibly high. If I would guess I would say I'm around 11% now but I'll let the machine tell me every few weeks from here on out. I'd like to get to about 8% before I really feel comfortable about my chances of racing my best.
The weather is starting to turn and within a couple months I will be on the open water swimming in my Xterra wetsuit. If you haven't gotten your wetsuit yet for 2012 you are welcome to use my pro discount code of SA-JPAUL and you will save about 63% off the retail price I believe. Xterra can offer the best prices in the industry because they sell directly...in other words you will not find the suit at a "middle man"...retail store. The Xterra website is at www.xterrawetsuits.com If you aren't sure what suit is best for you don't hesitate to contact me and I can help recommend one based on the races you plan to do this year. I hope you are working hard towards your fitness goals. Keep using every week and every day as a chance to get better. Thanks for reading! DREAM BIG!