Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Week 5 IMAZ Training Summary

Week 5 started out looking like another big week of volume but on Thursday I started to come down with a sickness and I was not feeling like I had much energy so I backed off Thursday through Saturday so I could be well rested for my last really long run leading up to Ironman Arizona.  I was able to get in 20 miles running on Sunday morning and it felt really great except for tightness lingering in my left hamstring.  I had a massage from Mike Eskridge and ART from Dr. Lake at Kaminski Pain and Performance Care to help relieve the tightness in my hamstring.  I averaged 6:51/mile for the 20 miles which was a good sign.  I rarely wear the GPS for my long runs but have done so on my last 3 of them.  I went from a 7:10 average for 17 miles a month ago to a 6:55 average for 18 miles two weeks ago to 6:51 for 20 miles this past weekend.  I was most happy that my average pace was still dropping in the last 1/2 of my run where a month ago I was gaining time on the ladder half of the long run.  With this hamstring lingering and my right arch still swollen and a bit sore I am making a decision to cut my running mileage down now so I can focus on being a bit fresher for my hard bike workouts.  I know my running is pretty good right now and I'll still keep my average run/day high in the coming weeks but I will probably start running 5 days a week instead of all 7.  This past week I hit 54 miles running on just 5 days.  I biked 175 miles on 5 days of riding and I swam 13,000 yards after planning to swim 16,000 yards.  I want to make sure I get to this race healthy and that means cutting back the running mileage.  I'm far ahead of where I was in terms of my running compared to Rev 3 when I was only running 30-35 miles/week and managed to run 3 hrs. 12 minutes for the marathon.  I'd like to run 3:05 or faster in Arizona with a big goal of running sub-3.  I have learned that I need to take in more nutrition on the run.  In my past Ironman races I've taken in coke and water at the aid stations on the run but mostly skipped other calories until I started to fall apart which is too late.  I plan to make sure I'm taking in a GU at every aid station on the run.  To make sure I can do this without having a stomach that is sick of GU by the run I will stick with GU chomps on the bike ride and save the GU gel until the run.  In addition to Chomps I also have my special GU Ironman brew that has about 850 calories in the bottle.  I start the bike ride with one of those bottles and if special needs is in order I will take on another bottle of this mix at that point.  I will also have 20 ounces of coke at special needs on the bike that I will take in.  For my long run this weekend I looped past my car a few times and took in more nutrition than I have in my past long runs and I think that is why I still felt as strong when I finished the run as when I began it.  I did have to stop and stretch my tight left hamstring twice during the run.  I'm hoping to not have to do that in the race but if I must it is a quick fix.  Just 1 minute of stretching and I could feel a big change in my stride rhythm.  My hope is that by backing off my running mileage now and working in some regular ART and ice baths I can have it good enough that it won't be an issue come 4 weeks when it's time to race.  My focus the next couple weeks is to get some good quality bike interval workouts so I know my power numbers are high like they were going into Rev 3.  Over half of the race is spent on the bike and I need that to be a strength of mine.  I saw the first start list published last week and there were about 50 pro guys listed which is considerably less than were on the list a year ago.  They could still add in some guys who raced in Kona but I'm guessing the field will be smaller.  Last year there were 90 guys on the start list and 54 actually started.  If the number hangs around 50 I would guess 30-35 will actually be there.  I was super excited to see my bib # is 1 different than my good friend Adam Bohach so we will be set up right next to each other in transition.  That will give me some additional comfort come race morning knowing I'm right next to the guy I've spent more time training with than anyone else over the past year and a half.  4 weeks to go...Thanks for reading!!  DREAM BIG!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

IMAZ Week 4 Training Summary

My 4th week of training for IM AZ was my best week in months.  My total training time this week was 25.5 hrs. which was my highest since early July.  For the week I ran 60 miles, biked 200 miles, and swam 15,200 yards.  I also lifted weights, did lunges, jump rope, push-ups, pull-ups, speed drills, and strides all three times, plyometrics twice, and core work 13 times.  One of my big goals for this race was to get leaner.  At Rev3 in Ohio I was heavy carrying a lot of unwanted weight on my stomach.  Before I started week 1 I weighed in at 166 lbs.  By the weeks I have gone 164, 161, 159 and 158 where I am currently.  The weight has not come off as quickly as I thought it would but I can tell I'm gaining muscle so that will make it difficult to lose weight.  I'm definitely more lean than I was.  I'm fitting into shorts I couldn't fit into 4 weeks ago.  I'm wearing belts for shorts that I didn't need them for just a month ago.  I'm excited about the progress I'm making in this area.  I'm trying to make sure I don't lose muscle like I did in April when I got my weight down into the 140's.  Yesterday I bumped up my leg lifts to the highest weight I've ever done on them.  I'm getting more excited for Ironman Arizona every day.  I'm not ready to break 9 hours quite yet but I believe I'm on schedule to do so Nov. 18th if we get decent weather.  After running 76 miles over a 7 day stretch from last Sunday through this past Saturday I noticed I had some swelling and a little pain in the arch of my right foot so that is something I'll keep a close eye on.  If I have to cut back my running mileage a bit it won't frustrate me.  By having my legs more rested I'll be able to have better bike interval workouts.  Right now my legs are feeling the effects of the high running mileage and I'm not putting out the power I'd like to on my bike intervals.  I am feeling much faster in the pool than I was a month ago when I felt like a barge making little progress.  One of my favorite test sets is to do repeat 200's.  When I was swimming 20,000 yards a week in the summer I would do 10 of them on 3:00 and typically average 2:43 for each one.  My best ever average is 2:41 when doing them on 3:00.  Last week I did 8 of them on 3:10 and averaged 2:47.  This week I did 10 of them on 3:10 and averaged 2:43.  That was the morning after a 5.5 hour workout day so I was expecting to be a little tired.  I was very excited about the progress.  This week I'll do 10 of them again but on the 3:05 to see how that affects my average time.  I'm hoping to average the same on slightly less rest.  I'm sticking with my swim plan of adding 1,000 yards each week until the week before the race when I will cut back the yardage. 
Saturday was the Walk for Wishes 5k run and 1 mile walk to raise money for the Make a Wish foundation.  Last year the Walk for Wishes only had 40 people register.  This year was over 200!  Despite terrible weather with pouring rain they raised over $8,000 for this great cause.  My biggest area of concern right now is my lack of outdoor bike rides.  I was able to get 16 miles outdoors yesterday (my first outdoor ride in 16 days) before it got dark.  I typically do my running, swimming, and lifting after school and save my biking for after the kids are sleeping when I go on the trainer.  I don't ride that much in the aero position while riding on the trainer and that has me a little worried about how my back will feel riding almost the entire course in Arizona from the aero position.  I'm hoping the weather will finally cooperate this weekend so I can get out for a long ride.  This week should be another big one in terms of volume.  Thanks for reading.  DREAM BIG!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

IMAZ Week 3 Training Summary

3 weeks into training for Ironman Arizona with 6 remaining.  Coming off a big weekend of training I felt really sluggish on Monday.  I continue to have some deep hamstring tightness but I also had some really deep quad soreness to add to the mix.  I headed out Tuesday to run after a pretty big day on Monday and I had to decide quickly what to do.  I felt like I had been trying to push myself through this dead leg feeling for a week or so.  I had experienced little rhythm at all in my running.  Running typically feels effortless at a base mileage pace when I'm in good shape and recovering well.  It normally takes me 10 days of consistent training to get to the feeling where running is easy.  I was on day 16 of training and felt terrible.  Even an easy run pace felt difficult.  I stopped my run about 1 minute in and decided I would take 3 days off of running.  I took Tuesday completely off, just biked for 90 minutes on Wednesday and then Thursday biked for 90 minutes easy to go along with a 90 minute swim workout.  When I resumed running on Friday I felt very good.  The deep soreness had disappeared.  Now I finally feel like I'm recovering well.  Sunday I ran 18 miles which was my longest training run in over a year.  I felt pretty good but the best sign of my fitness and that my legs were back was how I felt on Monday.  I ran 12 miles on Monday after the long run Sunday and my legs felt 100%.  It's a good sign that I'm finally able to put in high volume and recover quickly from it.  I feel like things are starting to click.  For week 3 my run mileage was down a lot at only 34 miles but I still biked 210 miles and swam 14,000 yards which was my highest swim yardage in 3 months.  I am starting to feel fit in the water again.  I had some good hard sets...not where I was when I was swimming 20,000 yards/week but not too far off that.  I plan to add about 1,000 yards each week to my swimming total until the week before the race when I will cut my yards in half.  I have stayed away from the high intensity workouts since my legs were not recovering but now that they feel good even after high volume I'm ready to start adding back the intensity.  I've been working hard in the weight room staying in there about 3 days every week.  I'm also back to doing plyometrics which I think have helped me develop power in my legs to put out high watts.  The biggest benefit to plyometrics I've noticed over the last few years is how they help me to run off the bike.  When I'm doing plyometrics regularly I can get off the bike and run well without any real period of distress.  When I'm not doing plyometrics in training my legs feel like most people would expect coming off the bike to run.  I rarely ever do brick runs.  I've found  the plyometrics get my legs ready to run off the bike.  I've done more brick running in races this year than I have in workouts.  My plan right now is for the next 4 weeks to be high volume.  I have been doing almost all of my riding indoors on the Cycleops Powerbeam Pro trainer.  That trainer has been so valuable to me.  It allows me to program in the desired wattage which is just as important in my recovery riding as it is my hard workouts.  On the recovery days I set a limit to how high I will allow my watts to get regardless of how good I feel.  I know the goal is to recover so I make sure the wattage stays at a recovery effort.  On the hard days I am able to program in the high wattages to make sure I'm pushing my lactate threshold levels.  This upcoming weekend is the Make a Wish Foundation Walk for Wishes.  It is a 5k run or a 1 mile walk.  It is a big fundraiser for the Make-a-Wish foundation of Iowa.  It would be great to see you there.  The link for sign-up is here.  Thanks for reading!  DREAM BIG!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Week 2 IMAZ Training Summary

Week 2 of 9 training for Ironman Arizona was my highest week of volume in nearly 2.5 months.  For the week my total training time was 24.5 hours.  I ran 52 miles (highest in many weeks), biked 210 miles, and swam 12,100 yards (highest in many weeks).  I also lifted weights, did speed drills, strides, push-ups, pull-ups, lunges, and jump rope all three times, and core work seven times.  I plan to really increase the swim yardage (up to 18,000 yds/week) when I get 5 weeks out from the race.  I've found in the past I can get to about my best swim shape in just a few weeks of higher volume and increased swimming intensity in my main sets.  Right now in the water I'm really focusing on technique and lots of kicking.  I can tell my swim feels much smoother when my legs are kicking well.  The training was modest until the weekend.  On Saturday morning I swam 3,400 yards with a main set of 30x50's on 1 minute holding them in 37-38 seconds fairly comfortably.  After the swim Jen and I took the kids to Clinton to watch a high school cross country meet where I ran 5 miles easy before embarking on a tough 95 mile bike ride with Adam Bohach who was in town to watch his old team at the meet.  The ride featured some tough climbs and the wind was moderately blowing about 15 mph.  I didn't feel especially strong on the ride.  On Sunday morning I ran 15 miles for my weekly long run.  It was a tough run.  My hamstrings have been more tight than usual since I resumed training.  At the 1/2 way point I was averaging 7:03/mile and already felt tired.  I stretched my hamstrings and took a GU at that point.  I was planning to cut the run to 13 miles which would take me back to the house but on the way back I felt better and decided to stick with my original plan of 15.  I finished it with an average pace of 6:59 which meant I got a little faster in the latter part of the run.  I'm hoping to run nearly that exact pace at IM Arizona where I would like to break 3 hours for the run (although I'm hoping not to need a sub-3 hour run to break 9 hours).  I'd like to be off the bike with a little cushion so I can run about 3:08 and still break 9 hours.  I know I'm riding better now and I would like to think I can cut some time off my 4 hr. 46 minute bike split from a year ago.  I also realize my swimming is not where it was yet at this point.  As of now I'm guessing I'd swim 2-3 minutes slower than I did a year ago so I'm going to have to make that up on the bike or get my swimming up to par.  I was happy to hit all my weekly goals and this week should be a slight increase in run mileage and swim yards with perhaps a small drop in bike miles since the day I am planning my long ride is supposed to be terrible and I'll probably be indoors on the trainer instead.  If I'm on the trainer 3 hours at a time is about as much as I will go.  If my legs are recovering well I may be able to add some more time later in the evening but I won't ride 5 hours on the trainer in one day like I had outside this week.  Don't forget about the Walk for Wishes 5k run or 1 mile family walk coming up in Davenport on October 13th.  I signed our family up for the walk this week.  We are proud to support the make a wish foundation and help children with life threatening illnesses be granted a wish.  The website for the walk can be found by clicking here.  The walk has raised nearly $3,500.00 so far.  If you can't participate but want to donate to the Make A Wish foundation you can do that by clicking the link as well.  I'm looking forward to another good week of training as I build my body up for a sub-9 hour effort.  Thanks for reading!  DREAM BIG!