Monday, July 21, 2014

The Homestretch...

Following Challenge Atlantic City in New Jersey on June 29 I had my best recovery from an Ironman distance race ever.  I ran the Thursday following the race and I had some deep quad soreness.  By the weekend I was able to ride 70 miles.  I felt pretty normal by the middle of the next week.  On Saturday, July 12 I raced an Olympic Distance event in Burlington, Iowa.  I thought I was 100% recovered but felt anything but sharp in the race.  The swim was once again non-wetsuit legal and I don't swim well without a wetsuit.  The bike was where I thought I would do well but my legs could not find the power I hoped for.  The run was very tough with hills and heat and I ended up getting beat by quite a bit and finished 2nd overall.  I was still very happy to earn $200.00 for the iHope Foundation.  I was also happy to be done with a stretch of 5 races over 36 days.  To date this year I've raised $1,100.00 racing which is slightly behind the goal I set for myself this year.  If you'd like to make a contribution to help provide iPads and scholarship money for low-income students displaying outstanding character and work traits click here.  All contributions are tax deductions. 

Moving forward I had 2-3 races I had considered doing before Ironman Chattanooga on September 28th.  I didn't have to think about it much to decide I wanted to scrap those races and begin training for Ironman.  That race may be my last as a professional and the last Ironman branded event I do for many years so I'd like to make sure I am in the best shape I've ever been in for a race.  I began a big training block last week.  That block will last about 8 weeks before I begin my taper.  I will only race once in that time.  It is a duathlon to complete the Scheel's Series which I am leading heading into the final event. 

My training plan now has me on 15 workouts a week.  I attend class at Barre563 twice each week, run 4 times with once consisting of an easy shorter run, once tempo, once intervals, and once long.  I am biking 5 days a week with 2 days of intervals and one day of a long ride with some of it at Ironman wattage.  I am also swimming 4 days a week.  I really want to emphasize my training on the bike before Chattanooga and will alternate weeks of 7 days riding with weeks of 5 days.  I started last week with 7 days riding and I put in 340 miles on the bike.  I did one day of hill work and one interval workout of 6x10 minutes where I averaged 287 watts and took 5 minutes easy after each one.  Swimming I went back to the pool to work on my technique.  I was doing some 1 arm drills and playing with the catch phase of my stroke and made a small change that has led me to some faster times.  I'm not getting my hopes terribly high yet but I do like the improvements in my swim intervals that I've seen from that one small change to my stroke.  Saturday I rode 116 miles and at mile 60 I started 2x 1 hour at Ironman wattage effort which for me is 225-230 watts.  I took 1 mile easy after the first hour because I was riding through Eldridge and needed to refill my bottles.  I am working on keeping my effort consistent so I stayed in the 5 watt window for the entire hour never letting my power spike on the hills or drop too much on the down hills.  I'm hoping by Chattanooga to be able to adjust my goal wattage to 235-240 just by being stronger.  Sunday I followed up the long ride with a 15 mile run which was my longest since Ironman.  This week that will bump to 18 and I'm hoping to keep most of them at 20 or more after this upcoming weekend.  My big goal leading to this race is to get myself lean.  This course isn't terribly hilly but there are enough hills on both the ride and run that I would be rewarded for being more lean than I am now.  I gained about 8 lbs. after Challenge Atlantic City.  This past week I dropped from 166 to 165.  I'd like to hope for more than 1 lb. a week with the amount I'm working out.  My total training time was almost 27 hours.  I swam 8,300 yards and ran 35 miles in 4 runs. 

I won't be participating in the DeWitt Crossroads Triathlon which is an event I enjoy doing on August 2 because I'm very determined to get in a lot of long training to be prepared for Chattanooga.  The Crossroads Triathlon is very well run and it is an awesome event for those of you considering your first triathlon.  The swim is only 500 yards in a shallow lake.  The bike course is pretty fast with some rolling hills and the run course is super flat through town in DeWitt.  The link to the race website is http://www.crossroadstriathlon.com/  I am planning to have my long ride take me out to the race venue so I can watch some friends do part of it.  It is very well organized by race director Kevin Benes.  This week I will back the bike mileage down to about 220 miles but will try to increase the quality in hopes of letting my body adapt to the big volumes of last week.  I'm dreaming of my best race ever at Ironman Chattanooga and plan to put in the work required to make that happen.  Thanks for reading.  DREAM BIG!!

3 comments:

Ramon Valdez said...

You mentioned that Chattanooga might be your last race as a pro. Do you mind me asking why? Will you continue racing as an age grouper?

Jeff Paul said...

It depends how I do in Chattanooga. My kids are ages 4 and 6 and time commitments are making it tougher to compete in an increasingly talented pro field. I hold a full-time teaching job, coach a high school basketball team, my kids tee-ball team and try to be a devoted husband and father. If I can have a great result in Chattanooga on a little less training than I used to put in I'll continue to race professionally. If not, I'm completely fine trying to compete at an amateur level. Being a weak swimmer there are pro races where I ride 40 miles in a 1/2 IM or 80 miles of an IM all alone before I see anyone. I'll wait until after Chattanooga to make the call.

Anonymous said...

Good luck with your training and in Chattanooga Jeff! I really enjoy reading your blog!