Week 16 was a great week of training. It was my last week without a race until July. Starting Saturday I will race 5 times over a 23 day stretch. For the week my total training volumes were 150 bike miles, 40 run miles, and 14,000 yards swimming. I also attended my strength class at Barre563 twice and did jump rope, plyometrics, lunges, and core work. All of my swims were open water and I feel stronger every time I get in the lake. 3 weeks ago I would have said I was not at all prepared for an Ironman distance swim. Today I am not only prepared but I think I would swim my fastest split ever minus the one with the current at Beach 2 Battleship. Thursday I swam 1 hr. 22 minutes straight which included some hard interval swimming during the middle 3,000 yards of the swim. I was a bit fatigued at the end but nowhere close to running out of gas.
I am 2 weeks into a HUGE training shift for myself. For most of my first 5 years since getting serious about triathlons I was on a training schedule that included 21 or 22 workouts a week. I knew if I kept doing this long enough that would have to cut down. My kids are now 4 and 6 years old and are beginning to get involved in numerous activities including gymnastics, tee ball, basketball, track camp, cheer leading, and wrestling. I simply don't have the time to work out 22 times a week any longer. I believe I can get faster even by doing less. I have begun a plan that has me on 15 workouts a week and so far I really like how I'm feeling. I am on 4 swims, 4 runs, 5 bike rides, and 2 times strength training each week. One reason I have not dropped to 15 workouts a week previously is that for me to lose weight and get to a good race weight I needed the extra workouts to offset my caloric intake. I have gone 22 days in a row without junk and I am still able to drop weight on 15 workouts if I continue eating healthy. I'm finding that by running and biking less days than I used to my legs are more fresh to hit quality sessions with higher quality. This week I did hill intervals on the bike Tuesday, did 4x5 minute interval sessions at higher than my lactate threshold (310 watts) on the bike Wednesday, and came back in my long ride Sunday to do 105 minutes of interval work at my goal Ironman wattage (225-230). In 4 runs I still got 40 miles which is a good rate of miles/day. I'm recovering better and feeling stronger. I also have more time. 2 workouts in a day seems much easier and less time consuming than 3 or more that I used to average. Wednesday night I ran 6 miles at tempo pace and cut down each mile beginning at 6:00 and finishing at 5:35 for my last mile. Friday I ran a track session of 400, 800, 1200, 1600, 1200, 800, 400 with goal pace of 5:20/mile through all of it. I ended up averaging 5:17 pace through it all. I followed it up the next day with a 17 mile run that felt great.
Saturday morning Healthy Habits allowed me to host a transition clinic at the shop. We had 23 people attend and it went very well. I love being able to help others in this sport. Hopefully those who attended were able to pick up something useful. 4 athletes I am working with competed this weekend with 1 running a 1/2 marathon and 3 of them doing sprint triathlons. I was really proud of all of them. They have worked very hard and will continue to improve. This upcoming weekend I'll race a sprint triathlon in Brooklyn, Iowa on Saturday called Holiday Lake. It is a really well run event. It is also still open for registration. Sunday I'll compete alongside Super Mom in the 2nd race of the Scheels Duathlon series. It is in Iowa City. I'm hoping for a good recovery after Saturday so I can come back strong Sunday. One suggestion I make for people to speed recovery is to swim after a hard workout or race. By swimming you get new blood flowing to the muscles to flush out the contaminated blood which leaves soreness after a hard workout or race. Swimming is perfect because it is non weight bearing. I also feel like the water acts as a gentle massage on the muscles which further speeds the recovery. Right after I'm done racing Saturday I will get back into the lake to swim for 10-15 minutes easy. Check back next week to see how the races went. Thanks for reading. DREAM BIG!!