January training totals

I always wonder how much some people train.  It intrigues me.  How much does someone with a full time job train?  With kids?  In school?  Training hours is something that has been debated too.  Should you go for volume for Ironman training or can you get away with 8 hours week with mainly high intensity training.  I am lucky enough to have ample time and energy to train so I get some of both and here are my January totals!

Total training time: 47.8 hours (the first week of January was “test” week and was only 5 hours)

Swim training: 10.2 hours and 29,860 yards (about 17 miles)

Bike training: 21.2 hours and 351.4 miles (most miles were on trainer so that total is actually higher since)

Run training: 14.4 hours 107.8 miles

I also walked 6 miles for 2 hours in the first week as well as a part of training.

I don’t want to give away all of my training secrets but I think I will keep these totals going after each month.  Can’t wait to keep training!  Ironman Texas is 108 days away…


First “long” brick of the season

So today was my first real brick workout of the season!  The reason I say real and have long in quotes in the title is because although the workout is long for the start of the season it’s not even half as long as some of my workouts will be as the season moves along!  I had a perfect winter day for the workout which made it much better.  40 degrees and sunny the whole time; can’t beat that for late January in Chicago.  For those who do not know what a brick workout is, it is doing back to back workouts without much time in between.  The only “rest” time is changing clothes and putting on my running shoes.  This helps the body, and mind, get ready for what the body will feel like during the race.

Today’s workout called for 2.5 hours on the bike and 1 hour run.  Both of these workouts were at a “forever” pace which basically means a pace I could sustain forever, hence the name!  These are always good early in the season because right now I am working on building my aerobic base so it’s very important to get miles in without pushing too hard and risking injury.  The bike was a blast!  I went on a route that I go on a lot and it was nice and sunny.  The only tough part was some of it was on a paved trail but because of the snow last week, parts were still icing and I almost bit it going under a tunnel but luckily I was quick on my brakes and was able to steer around it.  For the ride, I average 202 watts for the ride and 214 watts of normalized power and 18.2 MPH.  Normalized power is basically a super complicated equation that tells the rider how much power they could have put out if they stayed constant for the whole ride.  The reason this is a good reading is because if you are riding and have to stop at lights it will lower your watt average during a longer ride.  Either way I was happy with the power I put out because I did not think I worked that hard but according to my last FTP test the power I put out today was 85% of my FTP.  This leads me to believe my FTP is actually higher than the 252 I tested at last time!  That is always good to see but indoor power is usually lower than outdoors and can be up to a 10-15% difference.

For this ride I tried out some of my race nutrition.  I use First Endurance products.  I used them last year during my races and I really liked them.  I tried out a new flavor of EFS and the Liquid Shot.  I also tried out the Prerace product which I kept hearing great things about.  In one bottle I mixed about 3 scoops of EFS along with 4-5 ounces of Liquid shot with about a scoop of Prerace.  That bottle equates to around 500-600 calories depending on how much of each I actually put it.  My plan for the IM is to go with 2 bottles of my calories, around 600 each, then take water as needed on the course.  The first sip of the drink was very tangy.  The EFS was Lemon-Lime and the Liquid shot was Berry but I think the tang came from the Prerace.  Either way it was good and I am happy with my mixture and it seemed to have worked!

The hour run also went very smooth and felt good.  My legs didn’t feel too heavy which was good and I kept my HR under 150, zone 3 for me, and just went by how my legs felt.  I know I could have pushed faster than the 7:33 pace I averaged but there was no way in hell I was going to speed it up knowing I have 4000 yards in the pool tomorrow then a 2 hour 10 minute run tomorrow!  All in all today was a success.  Oh and my post workout drink of choice is chocolate milk and it always hits the spot.  And my post workout meal of choice is Chipotle.  It never disappoints!


A breakthrough.  For a high school student it could be figuring out what college they want to go to.  For a college student it could be figuring out what career they want to get into.  For a teacher it could be them figuring out how to get the most out of their students.  But for a triathlete a breakthrough comes through in a workout.  These, logically, are called “breakthrough workouts”.  They usually happen during, or after, a workout that they did not think that they could do or a workout that made them realize that they could complete the event they are training for.  I think this happens to every triathlete at some point and these workouts feel GOOD.

I had one of these workouts today.  It wasn’t a long workout, or a tough workout, it was just a swim.  It was a continuous 30 minute swim.  The reason it was somewhat of a breakthrough was because I swam at around 75% most of the swim and averaged 1:33 per 100.  This is by no means fast to some standards, and I know the pool is supposed to be faster than open water but I do not do flip turns so my crappy turns kind of negate the push off, but for me it was pretty good for early in the season.  If you read my “Goals for 2012” post you would see that one of my goals was to complete one of my Ironman swims in 1 hour and 10 minutes.  If I was able to keep that 1:33 pace for the 2.4 miles I would finish in around an hour and 6 minutes.  This is great because I have so much more time to train to hopefully make me faster and more efficient in the pool.

As I am writing this it is snowing once again.  Week 2 of Ironman Texas training is almost complete.  Just have an hour and a half run tomorrow and a core workout then I get to rest up on Sunday.

First snow

So I guess winter has finally arrived in the Chicago area.  We have been told to expect 3-8 inches of snow by tomorrow.  But I’ll believe it when I see it.  I like winter, kind of, and I do not mind snow but I was LOVING the 40-50 degree weather we were having.  It made training and just about everything else more fun.  I’ll take the snow as long as it does not bring on too much bitter cold weather because that cold makes everything terrible.  Obviously the nicer weather makes my training better because I can ride, and run, outside more comfortably but I am just not prepared for a real Chicago winter so hopefully it’s going to be a mild one.

So when I woke up this morning and saw it had not snowed yet I made the decision to get a quick hour ride outside before being stuck indoors on the trainer for the foreseeable future.  It was a wet and snowy ride.  The wind was blowing right into my face and the snow/ice hitting my face at that speed did not feel good.  I do not mind riding on the trainer because it makes for a better training session but when my training calls for an easy paced ride for 2 plus hours it is better to do outside.  Tomorrow I will be in the “pain cave” watching Cedar Rapids and Sherlock Holmes for that 2 plus hours.

But no matter how bad the weather gets I REFUSE to run on a treadmill.  I just cannot do it because they are just terrible.  Last year during the huge snow storm we had I ran outside, and when it was 10 degrees with 20 MPH winds I ran outside.  I just find it not that bad to run outside in the cold.  It is probably because my body keeps the heat it creates since I am only going 7-9 MPH as apposed to riding 18-25 MPH.  Well bring on the winter because riding on the trainer for hours will only make the riding at Ironman Texas that much easier!

Battling the Mind

While I have only been an endurance athlete for two years and a triathlete for one year, I have come to realize that, in triathlons, one huge factor that can separate a good age group triathlete to a really good age group triathlete, well besides genetics, is how they deal with what goes on in their mind.  I have not had much mental battling to do the past few months since I was in the off season, but there are still little battles to be made during each workout.  During yesterday’s FTP, functional threshold power, test I just could not put out the power I wanted on the bike.  After I downloaded the data I was pretty pissed since yesterday’s test showed an 11% decrease in my FTP since mid-December.  I knew something was not right so I redid the test today and got the results I was hoping for.

That is a small and very easy mental battle to win but once the real season starts I, along with all triathletes out there, will have to tell their mind to do things daily that the mind, and body, do not want to do.  One of my friends is getting into triathlons now and he, as I was when I started, is a little overwhelmed.  I just told him that during each workout do not think of the yardage, the mileage, or the time, just stay in the moment.  It becomes hard when you are sitting on the pool deck at 5 AM telling yourself you have this 4,000 yard swim then you have to go to school, then work, then come home and do a tough interval workout on your bike.  I figured that out last year that if you think too much you can take your mind out of the workout very fast.

Thinking about the whole day can become overwhelming very quickly and will lead to nothing good.  So what I try to do is break down each workout, and luckily most workouts are broken down into sections thanks to my coach, and attack each section.  If I get on the bike and I am just not feeling it I try to make it to the next section because that could be a time to rebound.  And if you can master this in training the race becomes a lot easier.  I know I have only done 70.3, half Ironman, races so I can only hope that the mental toughness I have acquired in my lifetime of athletics, and mainly the last year of triathlons, will translate to the Ironman because I can only imagine how tough it is.  But I am ready for the challenge and cannot wait to start training to see how well I can do!

Ironman Training Begins!

So today is the start of my Ironman Texas training.  And today’s workout was my 30 minute run test.  It is pretty much run as fast as you can for the 30 minutes and hope you don’t pass out!  Unfortunately today decided to be the first day of real winter here in the Chicago area so I had to contend with 20-30 MPH winds and single digit temperatures during my run and that made it tough.  I ended up averaging 6:33 min/mile for the 30 minutes which isn’t too bad but not as fast as I would have liked.  The rest of this week will consist of my FTP bike test, 20 minute all out effort to measure my power output, and my 3×300 swim workout to find my pace zones.  In between those workouts I will have “choice” exercises that my coach gave me.  I am not sure what I will do for those yet but maybe a spin class, yoga or a core workout.

I have a LONG way to go before Ironman Texas but I am excited to start my training today.  137 days until Ironman Texas!  Hope everyone had a good New Years and is excited for what the year has in store.  Unfortunately I have to get back to classes next week which means it’s  back to the daily grind.